London's South Bank Centre is celebrating tenth anniversary of the Durbar festival from 14-20 September 2015, featuring over thirty of world's top Indian classical musicians, a dance performance and a rare online exhibition.
This festival is the only one in the world to regularly unite artists from both Hindustani (north India), Carnatic (south India), Dhrupad (India’s oldest art form) and Percussion traditions and provides a platform for five musicians that make their UK debut performances. It was started in 2006 by Sandeep Virdee – the founder of Darbar Arts Culture Heritage Trust – in memory of his father Gurmit Singh.
Headline performances include legendary santoor maestro Pandit Shivkumar Sharma alongside sitar and surbahar star Ustad Irshad Khan. Flautist Pandit Ronu Majumdar, who this year was awarded one of India’s highest music awards –the Sangeet Natak Academy Award – will return to the festival after 10 years.
Additionally there will be performances from exceptional female artists including the winner of the 2005 BBC World Music award- vocalist Kaushiki Chakraborty who has worked with acclaimed Oscar winning composer and musician A.R.Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire), the charismatic Ranjani and Gayatri sisters with their Carnatic ragas, and UK debuts from Mita Nag (sitar) and Pelva Naik (dhrupad vocal).
A digital exhibition launched especially for the tenth anniversary entitled ‘Musical Wonders of India’ will take place in London at the V&A Museum’s ‘Festival of India’ on 13th September and will feature the stories behind ten rare Indian classical instruments. A highlight of this year’s festival is a new dance programme featuring the spectacular Bharatanatyam British Asian dancer Seetal Patel who will be accompanied by an orchestra of Carnatic musicians.