‘World peace music festival’ in Kolkata to feature musicians from Europe, Africa

Musicians of such ilk will take over Mohar Kunja in Kolkata at the eighth edition of Sur Jahan, a three-day, open-to-all ‘world peace music festival’ that is held in Kolkata.
In Kolkata, Bengal’s traditional rural crafts and performing art forms are also showcased simultaneously during the three days of the festival.
In Kolkata, Bengal’s traditional rural crafts and performing art forms are also showcased simultaneously during the three days of the festival.
Published on Feb 01, 2018 05:43 PM IST
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Novelist-turned-musician Gabriella Ghermandi, born in Ethiopia and brought up in Italy, launched her band Atse Tewodros Project (named after Ethiopia’s most beloved ruler, Emperor Tewodros II) in 2010 to focus on fusion of music from Italy and Ethiopia – blending Ethiopian folk songs with European classical and folk instruments.

Burkina Faso-born Senegalese musician Cheikh Lo, a Lifetime Award winner at the prestigious World Music Expo (WOMEX), presents a blend of reggae, mbalax and soukou. A member of the Baye Fall, a sub-group of the Mouride Sufi order of Islam, his music career spans more than four decades.

Muzsikas, a Hungarian folk music band formed in 1973, and another WOMEX award winner (in 2008), had its music featured in filmmaker Costa Gavras’s Berlinelle-winning ‘Music Box’. Between them, the members of the band play instruments of such varied range as violin, citera koboz, kontra, viola, mandolin, flute, long flute contrabass, gardon, drum and cymbal.

Standing in sharp contrast with the above three is a Finnish all-women band, Tuuletar, which means Goddess of the Wind in Finnish language. Their music brings together influences from American Hip Hop, South Asian folk and traditional Finnish music. But what has got them world attention is their unique form - A Cappella - in which no instruments are used. Vocals make for the absence of the instruments.

Musicians of such ilk will take over Mohar Kunja in Kolkata at the eighth edition of Sur Jahan, a three-day, open-to-all ‘world peace music festival’ that is held in Kolkata in an open air space and then in Goa at the Kala Academy in Panjim.

Starting in Kolkata on February 2, the festival will travel to Goa where it starts on February 7.

Sur Jahan, previously known as Sufi Sutra, has hosted singers and musicians from 26 countries and 12 Indian states till now. Apart from the evening concerts, the event hosts day-time workshops featuring the international teams and local folk music bands.

“Sur Jahan practices cultural pluralism. It has been a melting pot for music genres from around the world. This year, it’s a rendezvous for different generations - from the maestro Cheikh Lo and the Hungarian band Muzsikas to Tuuletar, which is full of young and extraordinary talent,” said Amitava Bhattacharya, the founder-director of banglanatak dot com, which organises the festival.

Several prominent Bengali folk singers are also participating in Sur Jahan, including the workshops. Bangla Qawwali is a prime attraction.

“We use this platform to promote Bengal’s folk music, as well as to give Bengali folk musicians a chance to perform with musicians of global standards,” Bhattacharya said.

In Kolkata, Bengal’s traditional rural crafts and performing art forms are also showcased simultaneously during the three days of the festival.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Snigdhendu Bhattacharya, principal correspondent, Hindustan Times, Kolkata, has been covering politics, socio-economic and cultural affairs for over 10 years. He takes special interest in monitoring developments related to Maoist insurgency and religious extremism.

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