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Celebrating with hope

Celebrating with hope

Manjari Sinha |

The year 2015 saw a number of music and dance festivals showcasing classical and traditional to contemporary and creative works. Some important and meaningful seminars also took place, heralding new hope. If the music and dance scene looked vibrant through continuous events and interactions, we also lost some of the treasure troves of our musical legacy from the older generation like Ustad Sabri Khan. The silver lining though, shines at the end of the bygone year, because our classical performing arts are "Gurumukhi Vidya",  a continuous process of new generation of disciples being ignited by the Gurus.

 Tansen Samaroh, held at the Samadhi of Tansen, the legendary Jewel of Emperor Akbar’s court, in Gwalior (23-27 December), marked its centenary this year, which was celebrated  as the World Music Festival, including performances by musicians from abroad along with Indian musicians. The other annual festivals, like the Vishnu Digambar Jayanti Samaroh, organised jointly by the Saraswati Samaj and the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, the Shankarlal Music Festival by the Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra (SBKK), the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Sangeet Sammelan, the Festival of Punjabi Bandishes by the Punjabi Academy, the SNA Awardee Festival of music, dance and drama, showcasing the Fellows and Awardees of SNA Award, the Raja Rani Festival of Odissi, Hindustani and Carnatic Music, Bhubaneshwar, and the Saptak Sangeet Sammelan, Ahmedabad, presented doyens to upcoming musicians throughout the year. Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Dr Balmurali Krishna and Pt Ajay Chakroborty regaled thousands of music lovers on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti at Mahua, a remote village in Gujarat.

 The Khajuraho Dance Festival added new dimensions this year with a visual arts exhibition, seminar and interactive sessions along with the dance festival against the backdrop of the famous Khajuraho Temples. Apart from the Khajuraho and Konark Dance Festivals the annual dance festivals of the Capital like the Kathak Mahotsav of Kathak Kendra, Parkaya Festival by Sarvam Foundation, National Festival of Creative Arts and Choreography by the Impresario India, Nritya Bharati by Shri Geet Govinda Pratishthan, Puducherry, the SBKK Krishna, Ram Leela and the Ballet Festivals, the Delhi International Arts Festival (DIAF) and Ananya Festival of group choreographies at Purana Qila pulled large crowds. The week-long Yoga Parv mounted by the SNA, was an added attraction of the year 2015. The SNA also organised Purvottar Sanskriti Sangam at Delhi, Nritya Parv of Sattriya Dance at Guwahati and Natya Samagama at Agartala. Kumudini Lakhia’s Kathak Institute Kadamb celebrated its Golden Jubilee with Suvarn Parv, at Ahmedabad.    The beginning of the year saw two very important seminars in Delhi and Mumbai. An international seminar, Indian Diaspora and the Cultural Heritage, organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) in association with the Sangeet Natak Akademi (SNA) and the India International Centre (IIC), was inaugurated by foreign affairs minister Sushma Swaraj at the IIC. Countries from across the world – Fiji, Trinidad, Tobago, Mauritius, Malaysia, Kenya, Guyana, the US and Canada – shared their ideas and experiences on topics relating to the historical scenario of indenture and forced migration, their identity crisis and adaptation to new environments, conservation and retention of cultural heritage. Meera Kaushik from the UK and Lata Pada, the famous Bharatanatyam exponent and founder president of Sampradaya, Toronto, discussed  the problem they face in pursuing Indian Classical music and dance.

In Mumbai, the Indian Musicological Society (IMS), presented a seminar on the Sitar-makers and their traditional craft while another seminar on Gharanas of Sitar, jointly organised by the ITC-Sangeet Research Academy (SRA), the National Centre of Performing Arts (NCPA) and the Music Forum, saw participation of representatives from various Gharanas of Sitar and the artisans from the traditional families of Sitar makers. Later this year, the SNA organised the North-East Festival in Delhi, the Natya Samagam at Agartala and Nritya Parv based on Sattriya Dance, at Guvahati. A seminar on Dance Criticism, organised by the Fine Arts Faculty of Pune University, explored the Macro and Micro perspectives of the performing arts. Another Kathak seminar in Mumbai discussed the present scenario and the future of Kathak while the Delhi Univerity seminar focused on international trends in classical music.