‘The Classic Bagh Festival’, an intimate festival set within the grounds of Sundar Nursery, Delhi, will be held on March 21.
Boasting of a line up comprising Smita Bellur, Jasleen Kaur Monga, Ustad Saeed Zafar Khan, and the Warsi Brothers, it is being presented by Jodhpur RIFF and the British Council, in association with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. The festival aims to support Indian artists and festival sector professionals impacted by Covid-19.
Designed as an immersive and environmentally conscious experience, the free one-day festival has been developed as a site-conscientious response to the green setting of Sunder Nursery and its broader location within Nizamuddin, celebrating Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya’s vision of pluralism, and the legacy and contribution to Hindustani music of his favourite disciple, father of Qawaali and Urdu literature, Hazrat Ameer Khusrau.
Hoping to highlight the importance of community and celebrate inclusiveness, it will be split into three periods. The festival will open with a lakeside dawn chorus (6:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.) of vocal recitals from the Hindustani, Sufi, Bhajan, Shabad and Qawwali traditions by singers Smita Bellur and Jasleen Kaur Monga.
Later in the morning (8:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.), in the heritage monument-straddled garden north of the amphitheatre, a short set by the Langa Ensemble will flag off the session, followed by Delhi’s own renowned Qawwali singer Dhruv Sangari ‘Bilal Chishti’ followed by a series of classical-sufi-folk covers by emerging Delhi artist Bawari Basanti.
It will draw to a close later in the evening (6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.) with an eclectic set – a special Jangda recital from the Manganiyar tradition led by Barkat Khan, ghazals by emerging artist Sraboni Chaudhary and soul-stirring performances by renowned masters Ustad Saeed Zafar Khan, now the Khalifa of the Dilli Gharana, and Qawaal Bachchey Warsi Brothers, performing in Sunder Nursery’s amphitheatre.
Jonathan Kennedy, Director Arts British Council India, said, “Classic Bagh is a special UK-India celebration which brings together artistes and audiences in a safe environment and supports the festivals sector in India as it grapples with the impact of Covid-19.”
The Artistic Director and Creative Producer, Divya Bhatia adds, “Nizamuddin is a very special place from a musical and spiritual perspective. JodhpurRIFF has designed the festival to acknowledge that legacy and also go wider and include lineage or forms or artists resonant with the spirit of Khusaru’s work while bringing into the spotlight women artists who enrich and nourish our artistic and spiritual traditions.”