Soumik Datta to curate festival at London’s Horniman Museum

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London, July 3 (IANS) British Indian sarod maestro Soumik Datta will curate a day-long festival, Indian Summer Baaja, as part of the Horniman Museum and Gardens’ Indian Summer season, on July 23.

The event will feature music, stories and dance from across South Asia as curator Soumik brings together an array of Britain-based musicians, storytellers and dancers whose contemporary practice is deep-rooted in the musical traditions of South Asia.

Horniman Museum and Garden’s Indian Summer will be a series of events and exhibitions from July 9 to September 3, and celebrate 70 years of India’s and Britain’s cultural ties.

Indian Summer Baaja will feature world music artiste Shammi Pithia, percussionist Bernhard Schimpelsberger, tabla player Gurdain Singh Rayatt, violinist Preetha Narayanan and progressive six piece British-Bengali band Khiyo, among others.

The day will close with a two-hour gala of voices, drummers and strings led by Soumik, who has worked on collaborative projects with the likes of Beyonce Knowles, Anoushka Shankar, Joss Stone and Shankar Mahadevan, on the sarod.

“I wanted to recreate the atmosphere of vibrant Indian festivals complete with nomad bands and folk musicians playing on street corners and city gardens,” Soumik said in a statement.

“The word ‘baaja’ in Hindi roughly translates as ‘instrument’ or group of instruments. For me, an instrument carries with it the DNA of where it has come from. In its sound, it carries the identity of its region.

“In its resonance lives its many stories. Responding to the incredible collection of instruments at the Horniman, I wanted to celebrate ancient South Asian instruments such as the sarod, veena, bansuri and kanjira that are now being played by young and dynamic second generation maestros in the UK with an urgency that keeps this music relevant and alive,” he added.

–IANS

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