Sometimes even traffic jams can mean music to the ears. And that is what is likely to happen starting this Monday evening when Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit flags off the five-day Delhi Classical Music Festival at Kamani Auditorium here.
Festivals of classical music and dance are no novelty in the city, but this one has acquired a warmth associated with “our Delhi,” presented as it is by Delhi Government’s Department of Art, Culture and Languages.
It was during the Commonwealth Games in 2010 that the government launched the concept of “Delhi Celebrates,” with cultural programmes dotting the city . These included theatre, dance and music performances, and the classical music festival was a part of this celebration.
A large number of artists took part, and for the aesthetes of the city, it was a cultural buzz very different from the hubbub surrounding more commercial events such as book fairs, auto expos and trade fairs, for which the Capital is also well known.
Rawail Singh, Secretary of the Punjabi Academy that is organising the festival, told The Hindu that after the success of the “Delhi Celebrates” concept during the CWG, Ms. Dikshit decided it should continue, and annual events like the Raag Rang, Qutub and Thumri festivals have been brought under its umbrella.
Of these, the Classical Music and Qutub Festival are organised by the Punjabi Academy.
The dates may vary, he noted, but, “we keep in mind Dussehra and Diwali. We have kept this one before Dussehra, and the Qutub Festival after Diwali.”
Dr. Rawail added: “We have tried that every genre should be represented, and also the maximum number of gharanas.”
The festival will begin with a Dhrupad recital by Ustad Wasifuddin Dagar, followed by a santoor concert by maestro Shiv Kumar Sharma.
The second day (October 2) will feature Pandit Venkatesh Kumar (vocal), followed by the venerable Ustad Imrat Khan, of the Etawah or Imdadkhani gharana, on the sitar.
The evening of October 3 will have a jugalbandi between vocalist Savita Devi, daughter and disciple of late Siddheshwari Devi, and shehnai exponent Daya Shankar.
Their duet will be followed by the redoubtable duo of Rajan and Sajan Mishra, Hindustani vocalists from the Benaras gharana.
October 4 will Kirana school vocalist Pandit Vinayak Torvi take the stage in the first part. His concert will be followed by a jugalbandi on the sitar and the sarod by the popular maestros Shujaat Khan and Tejendra Narayan Majumdar respectively.
October 5 will bring us Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan, the ever popular gem of the Gwalior gharana who turned 104 this August.
Later that evening, Pandit Jasraj of the Mewati gharana will bring the event to a close with his vocal recital.
Now Delhiites, when do you last remember a working week so imbued with the spirit of harmony?
(The festival will be held at Kamani Auditorium, Copernicus Marg, Mandi House, from October 1 to 5, starting 7 p.m. daily.)
Keywords: Delhi Classical Music Festival