‘World peace music festival’ in Kolkata to feature musicians from Europe, Africa
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.
Enter your email to get our daily newsletter in your inbox
- TMC releases first list of 291 candidates for West Bengal assembly polls, CM Mamata Banerjee to contest from Nandigram
- The opposition leader is also scheduled to meet senior TMC minister Firhad Hakim and hold talks about the upcoming Bengal polls.
- TMC and BJP have dismissed the Left rally as insignificant. While the TMC claims CM Mamata Banerjee will return to power for the third time, BJP says the elections are bi-polar and there is no space for the Left.
- The BJP lodged a complaint in the Phoolbagan police station. Senior BJP leaders of the state rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation.
- The TMC asked the EC why the polls could not be held in fewer phases.
- She alleged that the poll panel scheduled the election dates keeping in mind the BJP’s demands.
- The CBI earlier questioned Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Abhishek Banerjee’s wife Rujira Banerjee in the case.
- Besides rallies, the chief minister’s itinerary could include religious stopovers at important places of worship.
- "Modi government only makes false promises, has done nothing to bring down fuel prices," PTI quoted the Bengal chief minister as saying.