Every two years the crossroads of world culture morphs into a cultural melting pot for five days. From August 25 to August 30, the ancient city of Samarkand, Uzbekistan, located at a central position on the Silk Route between China and the West — also known as the pearl of the orient — hosts an International Music Festival, Sharq tarolanari ‘Melodies of Orient’.
More than 50 countries, including India, have participated in the music festival since its inception in 1997. However, this year’s festival is significant for India as the country will also be represented at the jury of the festival for the first time. “The music festival is amazing. The best folk music groups of different countries present their art on one platform amid a historic setting,” says BR Saini, founder secretary Saraswati Music College, Safdarjung, Delhi, who will be one of the jury members at the festival. Saini adds that the special position being accorded to India will strengthen cultural relations adhering to the MoU of cultural exchange signed between the two nations earlier this year.
The VIII International Music Festival, this year, is being held under the support of UNESCO to celebrate 20 years of the Uzbekistan’s independence after its fall out from the erstwhile USSR in 1991.
The festival is an initiative by the Uzbek President Islam Karimov to foster international cooperation by building close contact between artists, musicians and scientists from different countries. The aim of the festival is to popularise the best of national music.