The Hindu Friday Review Music Festival is back in Bangalore with an eclectic mix of classical, modern and film music. Here’s the line-up

Three octaves, seven swaras, nine rasas, thousands of ragas and talas…Indian music is not just about emotion, healing and communication, it is also about numbers. So is the Friday Review November Fest. Spread across five cities and 17 concerts, it raises the bar for musical experiments, pushes the borders for free-flowing exchange and is a meeting point of cultures and sound traditions.

At the third edition of the fest in Bangalore classical meets film songs and modern compositions, truly symbolising the diversity and dynamism the fest stands for. The three-day festival opens with a jugalbandi between childhood friends Carnatic vocalist Bombay Jayashri and flautist Pandit Ronu Majumdar. What began several years ago as a fun swara-raga jam session developed into a full-fledged and stimulating concert. Hers is a voice that has enormous range and style, perfectly controlled and wonderfully malleable. Bombay Jayashri’s early training in both Carnatic and Hindustani music laid the foundation for an exploratory musical journey. And not just classical, with her open-minded approach, she picked up the nuances of many semi-classicalforms including film music. With her eagerness to understand and assimilate, the well-known vocalist’s collaborative outings across the world have been a treat to the listeners.Soft spoken and sprightly, Pandit Ronu Majumdar has the innate qualities to play the humble but soul-elevating flute, an instrument symbolic of Lord Krishna. The varanasi-born artiste after being initially trained by his father was groomed by Pandit Laxman Prasad Jaipurwale and Pandit Vijay Raghav Rao into a successful performer.

The strong bonding with bansuri and its honey-soaked notes led Pandit Ronu Majumdar to come up with the ‘shank bansuri’, a three-foot long flute that perks up the swaras in the lower scale. Like Jayashri, he loves to enrich his classical repertoire with fresh compositions and new approach to tradition.

The second day of the fest is about romancing the retro or rather remembering the king of romance. Singer-of-several-chartbusters Srinivas along with a vibrant young team that includes National award winner (for ‘Roobaroo’ from Rang De Basanti) Naresh Iyer, the talented Madhushree (best known for ‘Kabhi Neem Neem’ from Yuva) and the promising Saptaparna Chakraborty (STAR Voice of India 2 finalist) will relive the Rajesh Khanna era through his immortal songs.

The high recall value of Rajesh’s movies and characters are because of those brilliant Kishore Kumar songs he lip-synched on the screen. Tender, intense, crazy, peppy…Rajesh’s cinematic oeuvre was made up of all kinds of songs.

The concert will showcase gems such as ‘Kora kagaz tha yeh man mera’, ‘Roop tera mastaana’, ‘O mere dil ke chaine’, ‘Chingaari’, ‘Kuch toh log kahenge’ and ‘Zindagi ka safar’. ‘Remembering Rajesh’ will give the lovers of Hindi film music another opportunity to hear some of the best songs of Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle, whose voices transcend time and space and continue to rule our hearts and minds. The third day’s concert will once again prove music can meld hearts and connect people. Zebunnisa Bangash and Haniya Aslam, popularly known as Zeb and Haniya, the band of cousins from Pakistan, will woo Bangaloreans with their unchained melodies that are about freedom of the mind and liberation of the soul. The cousins were drawn towards music even as children, but a life divided between stage shows and recordings was never on their mind till some songs written and sung by them when they studying in the U.S. were uploaded on the Internet and were big hits.

They then decided to release the album “Chup” that turned them into star singers. They have since been performing across the globe, drawing huge audiences to their peppy mix of Blues, folk and pop compositions in Dari, Turkish and Urdu. And language has never been barrier for them. “When composing, we only think about a piece’s emotive appeal. Nothing else matters. Anyway, what can come in the way of joyful appreciation of good music,” says the duo.

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