Spreading peace through music

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The WOMEX Lifetime Achievement Award winning Senegalese artiste, Cheikh Lo, and the young Finnish all-girl band Tuuletar along with senior bands from Hungary and Poland and many others will perform at this year’s edition of Sur Jahan – World Peace Music Festival organised by Banglanatak dot com starting from February 7 to February 9 at Kala Academy, Panaji. NT BUZZ brings to you the details

Venita Gomes | NT BUZZ

In order to create a platform for cultural dialogues and to provide the Goan audience with opportunities to experience music from around the world, Banglanatak dot com is all set to hold the fourth edition of ‘Sur Jahan – World Peace Music Festival’ from February 7 to February 9 at Kala Academy, Panaji.

This year the inauguration will witness traditional folk of Goa saluting world music. “As the festival is being organised in Goa we wish to bring traditional folk culture of Goa to the limelight. We also wish to inspire youth to think global with their traditional culture and thus strengthening the basics of world music,” says founder-director of Banglanatak dot com, Amitava Bhattacharya.

There will be a collaborative performance by the Bengal Goa Musical Ensemble where two musicians from Goa will collaborate with musicians from Bengal. “In this particular ensemble, folk musicians of Bengal will be represented by both urban and rural traditional musicians covering various genres of music, including Bhawaiya, Baul and Jhumur. The participating artistes have their own bands and identity. They frequently collaborate with other folk artistes for meaningful exchanges in this pursuit and have participated in festivals around the world. The ensemble takes its audience on a journey through the traditional music pathway of Bengal with a unique Goan sound, celebrating the diversity and richness of India’s culture,” adds Amitava. This concert will be held on February 8 at 6 p.m., followed by a workshop the next day on February 9 at 12:30 p.m.

Bringing together Ethiopian and Italian fusion folk music on one stage, acclaimed writer, Gabriella Ghermandi will be performing on the third day of the event February 9 from 6 p.m. onwards Gabriella has performed for the Atse Tewodros Project, named after the most beloved emperor of Ethiopia Tewodros II, who was not of royal descent but rose to power and modernised Ethiopia while also representing it’s tradition. The album ‘Ethiopia celebrating Emperor Tewodros II’ was also in the ballot for the 59th Grammy Awards in two categories.

Prior to the Goa edition of Sur Jahan, Kolkata is celebrating its eighth edition of the three-day festival that will end today February 4. Giving details about the same Amitava says: “Sur Jahan, is a world peace music festival for celebrating cultural plurality. Earlier it was known as Sufi Sutra. Every year it is held in the first weekend of February in Kolkata and the following week in Goa. In its eighth edition in Kolkata and fourth edition in Goa in 2018, the festival has evolved thus creating a platform for cultural dialogue and exchange to broaden awareness and understanding of various cultures and develop appreciation of the diversity to foster peace.”

The festival is conceptualised, designed, curated and presented by Banglanatak dot com, a 17-year–old Kolkata-based UN recognised social enterprise, specialising in Culture and Development. “Bringing folk music of Hungary to the limelight, Muzsikas – a folk music ensemble who have been performing over four decades now, will be in Goa for Sur Jahan. Muzsikas is known to often collaborate with various traditional Hungarian folk music with classical compositions of Bartok, Kodaly, Kurtag and many others.  Muzsikas has won the prestigious WOMEX Award for World Music in 2008 as well as the Hungarian state award for artistes, The Kossuth Prize. The ensemble will be accompanied by two guests – singer Hanga Kacsó and dancer István Berecz,” details Amitava adding that the concert will take place on February 7, 8 p.m. onwards followed by workshop on February 8 at 10:30 a.m.

On February 9 at 7 p.m. Nizami Khusro Brothers will be performing the form of Sufi devotional music which can be traced back to the 8th century Persia and is popular in the Indian subcontinent. This vibrant musical tradition was fused with South Asian musical traditions to create Qawwali as we know it today by Hazrat Amir Khusro Dehlvi in the late 13th century in India. Among the families which have carried on this style of music are the Nizami Khusro Brothers who head the Qawwal Bachhe and Delhi Gharana. Led by Saqlain Nizami, this group is well-versed and can perform in several languages, such as Arabic, Persian, Hindi, Urdu, etc. They have mastered various genres of classical music, such as Dhrupad, Khayal, Tarana, Thumri and Dadra, which they blend beautifully with Qawwali. They have performed at Sufi Sutra at Kolkata in 2012.  “Also, not to miss one of the most original folk bands in the Polish music world, Muzykanci will be taking the stage on February 8 at 7 p.m.” says Amitava.

Speaking further on the same he says that from performing at village weddings to the world’s biggest festivals, Muzykanci has been consistently experimenting with music and making thrilling versions of Polish folk songs from various Polish, Lemko, Hungarian, Balkan, Gypsy and Jewish tunes. The band’s inspiration comes mostly from the dark folk tales of their homeland. “Our aim is to only bring good music to the festival that allows global exchange of ideas to take place,” concludes Amitava.

(Sur Jahan will be held from February 7 to February 9 at Kala Academy, Panaji. The event is open to all.)