70th edition of Shankarlal music fest kicks off on Thursday

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New Delhi, March 29 (IANS) Legendary musical maestros are slated to perform at a festival that is as old as independent India. Starting on Thursday, the extravaganza will celebrate the spirit of festivity in the country.

The 70th edition of Shriram Shankarlal Music Festival has been curated by Shobha Deepak Singh, the festival director and vice chairperson of Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra (SBKK) and will be held in the SBKK lawns from March 30 to April 2.

The four-day festival will kickstart with a vocal performance on Thursday by the doyenne of Hindustani music Girjia Devi followed by vocals by Ajoy Chakraborty.

Other participating artists are Manjiri Asanare (vocal), Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma (instrumental/santoor), Biswajit Roy Chowdhury (instrumental/sarod), Rashid Khan (vocal), Purbayan Chatterjee (instrumental/sitar) and the grand finale on April 2 will witness the performance of Pandit Jasraj.

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“This is the 70th edition of the festival and, after many years, we are hosting it in open on the lawns of SBKK. In its nascent years, it was only the senior artists who were part of the festival, but now, we make a special effort to include younger talent as well. Contrary to popular belief that classical music is losing its audience base, the success of the festival year after year proves that there is not only a discerning audience for classical music but also that classical music retains its unique position on Indian arts,” Shobha Deepak Singh told IANS.

Keeping in mind the season and the spirit of festivity, the artistes are slated to perform songs around Holi, Chaiti (semi-classical songs sung in the month of Chait rendered during Ramnavmi and typically about Lord Rama), Kajri (derived from the Hindi word Kajra, or kohl, often used to describe the longing of a maiden for her lover as the black monsoon cloud come hanging in the summer skies), dadra and Ram bhajans.

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The festival, which began as a small concert with an informal gathering of musicians at the bungalow of Sumitra Charat Ram, the SBKK founder-patron, at Delhi’s Curzon Road (now Kasturba Gandhi Marg) has now become a forum for the talented youth alongside the most authentic traditional musicians.



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