Published on 7 November 2014 in Mint
Fourteen bands will perform at the three-day festival starting today
In 2007, India assumed the chair of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) for the first time. It was also the year the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), in collaboration with the ministry of external affairs and performing and visual arts group Seher, organized the first South Asian Bands Festival in the Capital.
“We realized that the general Indian public, especially the youth, did not know enough about Saarc,” says Seher’s Sanjeev Bhargava, who designed the festival that has since become an annual event. “And what could have been better than the theme of music, which appeals to everyone? We ensured every artiste/band that has performed spoke a little about Saarc, so as to convey the message,” says Bhargava.
Music bands from the eight member nations of Saarc—India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka—came together for three days to present concerts. That year, well-known Indian bands like Indian Ocean, Advaita, Raghu Dixit Project, East India Company and Midival Punditz performed on the same stage as Strings from Pakistan, Anusheh Anadil and her band Bangla from Bangladesh, Stigmata from Sri Lanka and Zero Degree Atoll of the Maldives, among others.
The festival, initially organized at the Central Park in Connaught Place and now held at the historic Purana Qila, has become an event that fans of rock, metal and even Bollywood music (Shankar, Ehsaan & Loy and Salim-Sulaiman have been to the festival in previous years) pencil into their calendars. “Over the years, we’ve had audiences of all age groups, from 17-70, including people in wheelchairs,” says Bhargava.
This year, the festival will feature 14 bands, including Indian progressive fusion singer Kabul and his band Rock Veda, which will start the festival on Friday with its scintillating rendition of Indian classical and creative contemporary numbers. It will be followed by eclectic compositions by Chirkutt, the Bangladeshi epic-fusion band which will be performing in India for the first time. They will be followed by musical soundscapes by the New Delhi-based band Mrigya and textured melodies by Pakistan’s Zebunissa Bangash, best known for her Coke Studio performance and recent stint with Bollywood tracks in films like Madras Café and Highway.
Other outfits that will perform over the weekend include The Forsaken, a Bhutanese heavy metal band that mostly plays covers of songs by well-known rock bands like Metallica, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and AC/DC. Success, a rock and electronic music band from the guest country France, will conclude the festival on Sunday.
The South Asian Bands Festival will be held from 7-9 November, 6pm onwards, at Purana Qila, Mathura Road. Click here for the schedule. . For details, call 9873798874.