The first edition of The Hindu Friday Review Music Festival in Hyderabad presents an eclectic range of rhythm and melody.

Fusion, film, ghazal, spiritual – it's all there at The Hindu Friday Review November Fest, a four-day musical feast that brings some of the best practitioners of these genres to Hyderabad. Between November 10 and 14, the festival, which will be held in Ravindra Bharati, promises to satisfy every kind of musical palate.

This is the first edition of the Fest in the city. Launched in Chennai in 2005, this unique musical event has become an important event in the city's cultural calendar, showcasing some of the finest musicians from India and abroad.

The Hyderabad Fest opens with renowned Carnatic vocalist Aruna Sairam performing – for the second time ever -- a concert of abhangs, which she has been known to sing as tailpieces in her concerts. Her ‘The Wisdom of Vitthala' will feature the verses of saint poets like Tukaram, Gnandev and Janabai as well as a group of specially selected musicians from Maharashtra and Chennai. The first time she performed a full-fledged abhang concert was for the 2006 November Fest in Chennai.

If bhajans focus on the inward journey, abhangs are more exuberant expressions of the communitarian experience. “I'm drawn to abhangs because they are sung by pilgrims on their journey to the temples on foot. They dance, carry dolis, play the dholak and cymbals, and everyone joins in the chorus. This procession makes an undulating visual. I feel its pulsating rhythms and ecstasy when I sing abhangs," says Aruna Sairam. Her own visit to Pandharpur as a young girl has remained with her. That memory is at the core of her love for the genre.

When Yodhakaa performs, you will find that music from around the world — whether it is Nigerian street drumming or Algerian Rai, Cuban Son, Samba Cancao from Brazil or music from the Wolofs of Senegal —blend in perfectly with Carnatic. The band's first concert with this new sound was in January 2006 in Chennai during the music season, when they performed at Hamsadhwani. The team consists of five young musicians who, through their freeflowing experimentation, have created a distinctly textured sound and who promise to go a long way.

From the land of Mehdi Hasan, Ghulam Ali and Farida Khanum comes Tina Sani, a contemporary voice from Pakistan, to cast her ghazal spell of “Hope and Healing” on Hyderabad. “Music found me” says Tina, who has crafted her personal socio-spiritual style, shading her songs with contemporary political overtones. Romance is not forgotten, but her music is a cry for freedom, a protest against injustice, and a call for universal harmony – addressed to the lay listener as well as the wielders of power. Naturally she found her best voice in melodising Pakistan's progressive, left leaning, sufism-inspired poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

Hamesha Der Kar Deta Hoon Main

The last day of the festival will have the audience humming and swinging to Tere Mere Sapne, Oh Sajna, Madhuban Mein Radhika, Yeh Kya Hua, Musafir Hoon Yaaron, Hawa Ke Saath Saath, Deewana Tha Badal and Tere Mere Milan. The Hindi Retro will feature top-class vocalists Srinivas, Chinmayi, Haricharan and Shweta Mohan and will feature hits down the ages till the 1980s.

The inaugural edition of the Friday Review November Fest promises to entertain Hyderabad's rasikas with its bold programming and mix of musical eclecticism.

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