The Festivals come like three buses
As they say either there is no bus or three come in at the same time. This year the Alchemy Festival of South Asian culture (music, dance, theatre, fashion, literature and debate) at the Southbank Centre, London and Darbar Festival of classical music Hindustani and Carnatic, at the Kings Place, London will overlap over the Easter weekend, forcing audiences to make choices.
I for one regret the fact that I will miss the immersion into music over the four days, that Darbar offers, where for a Season ticket of £99 one can enjoy twelve hours of music a day! The pure concentration of the experience leads to an enhanced understanding of a form in which one has not been trained.
It was the same experience of two decades ago of seeing French Impressionist paintings eight hours a day for five days that gave me the confidence of what I liked in art. Faced by any piece of art no matter how obscure, I can venture an opinion. Thus for music too listening to classical Indian music sharpens the ear to receive all forms of music from rock hard-rock, to abstract jazz and even new music.
The range and genres are diverse. Jude Kelly Artistic Director of Southbank Centre is truly committed to bringing new audiences through the door. So whether it is classical or ‘light’, khayal or ghazal, jazz or rock, check out Arun Ghosh, Soumik Datta, Raghu Dixit: kathak, bharatanatyam or contemporary, enjoy Shobana Jeyasingh, Attakalari, Gauri Sharma Tripathi. Artists with huge reputations such as Alarmel Valli and Begum Parween Sultana are represented as well as new talent such as the dancer-choreographers at Choreogata.
So as a punter said ‘I am drooling over’ the choice of programmes. Lets hope that anyone who has gone to a dance or music class or workshop will attend just one performance so that we have house fulls day after day, to keep great shows coming to and being made in the UK.