Shillong Chamber Choir to headline ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival

Zee Jaipur Literature Festival
WHAT? Zee Jaipur Literature Festival
WHEN? 09:00 – 09:45, 19-23 January 2017
WHERE? Front Lawns at Diggi Palace, Jaipur

As a whirlwind of literary figures prepare to descend on the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, an eclectic mix of music artists are set to perform morning and night at the five day literary extravaganza. The music performances will take place at two locations, the Front Lawns at Diggi Palace in the morning and the Music Stage at Hotel Clarks Amer in the evening, as part of the world’s largest free literature festival this month, January 19-23, 2017.

Opening the festival on January 19 is the Shillong Chamber Choir, marking the beginning of five days of festivities at Diggi Palace. The choir shot to prominence when they won reality TV show India’s Got Talent in 2010, the same year picking up three gold medals at the 6th World Choir Games. Their wide range of repertoire from western classical favorites, to rock hits and Khasi folk music and opera has seen them perform across India including for U.S. President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama during their state visit to India.

Following the Choir’s appearance, Master drummer of Rajasthan, Nathoo Lal Solanki will perform at the inauguration ceremony to open the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival 2017. The second day January 20, will kick off with a performance by Swanand Kirikire and Ankur Tiwari.

Swanand Kirkire is a lyricist, actor, playback singer, scriptwriter and assistant director for Hindi television, films and theatre. He has written songs for more than 50 films and is a two-time winner of the National Film Award for Best Lyrics. He received his first National Film Award in 2007 for the song ‘Bande Me Tha Dum...Vande Mataram’ from the film Lage Raho Munna Bhai, and the second in 2009 for ‘Behti Hawaa Sa Tha Woh…’ from 3 Idiots. ‘Piyu Bole’ featured in the 2005 movie Parineeta was nominated for a Filmfare Award for Best Lyrics while Barfi’s ‘Aashiyam’ and ‘Manjaa’ from Kay Po Chhe were awarded IFFA and Life OK Screen awards.

Ankur Tewari is a storyteller. He has spent the better part of his life discovering different mediums to share his tales. His songs are simple and evocative; they come from an honest, and at times vulnerable space, making them easy to form an instant connection with. Tewari plays with his band The Ghalat Family. He is also a well known Bollywood lyricist and composer and is at the helm of the band's sound.

On the morning on January 21, festival goers can enjoy a performance of Padmini Rao, an accomplished exponent of the Kirana Gharana form of North Indian classical music. One of the most senior of Padma Bhushan Dr. Prabha’s disciples, she trained in sitar from Pramila Dagar. Discovering her first love was for vocal music, she also studied under the guidance of the late Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Khan Dagar, the renowned scholar, dhrupad and rudra veena maestro.

On the morning of January 22, the fourth day of ZEE JLF, acclaimed vocalist Devashish Dey will awaken the crowds and set the tone for the day ahead. A classical singer who specialises in thumri, dadra, tappa, chaiti and kazri styles and sings bhajans too, Dey has performed widely across India and the UK and released many albums.

On the last day of the Festival, January 23, East Meets Middle East kicks off a lively day of literature celebration. East Meets Middle East is a musical collective spanning continents and celebrating the rich traditions of the Middle East and South Asia. Subrata Bhattacharya (tabla) and Abhisek Lahiri (sarod) collaborate with Ronnie Malley (oud) and George Lawler (percussion) to create a cross-cultural palette of improvisations and original compositions. The group transcends boundaries as they move through raga and maqam, tala and iga, music and rhythms found in South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

Kick-starting the evening music programme with a fantastic night of boundary breaking music, Rajasthan Josh and Neeraj Arya’s Kabir Café take to the stage of Clarks Amer on the first evening of ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival 2017.

Rajasthan Josh is a world music band which combines the various folk traditions of the north-western region of India, ranging from traditional bhajans to popular folk songs and mystic Sufi Rajasthani music, interspersed with captivating folk dances.

Neeraj Arya, the voice of Kabir in the contemporary scene, has been relentlessly researching and performing Kabir poetry across the country for the last six years. His rendezvous with Kabir began with the film Had Anhad by Shabnam Virmani. Influenced by folk Kabir artistes like Prahlad Tipanya and Mir Mukhtiyar Ali, Neeraj applied his own musical sensibilities and pioneered a genre called Kabir Rock.

As night falls on Friday evening (Jan 20th) the terrific line up of Bombay Bassment and Inna Modja are set to wow the crowds.

Award winning Bombay Bassment combines the sounds of hip-hop, reggae, funk, and drum & bass. The band released their self-titled debut album in 2014 and has won multiple awards. They’ve played some of the best music festivals in the world including Glastonbury Festival and Bacardi NH7 Weekender, and have shared the stage with Snoop Dogg, The Wailers and Will & The People among others.

Inna Modja will transport you to the heart of Mali. Singer of hits including ‘Mister H’, ‘French Cancan’ and ‘La Fille du Lido’, Modja learned her singer-songwriter craft from her elders creating a sound based in Motown soul, Sahel desert Blues, Mandinka guitars and Kora meets hip-hop.

Saturday night (Jan 21st) sees Soulmate and Beth Orton & Sam Amidon take the stage at Clarks Amer.

Inspired by the roots and groove sounds of the Blues, Blues-rock, soul, rock ‘n’ roll, funk and R&B, Soulmate was formed when Rudy Wallang and Tipriti Kharbangar decided to form a band dedicated to spreading awareness about the Blues genre.

Beth Orton is a singer and songwriter who has released six trailblazing albums, including the BRIT Award-winning Central Reservation, and 2012's ‘Sugaring Season’, which Vogue described as ‘a beautiful and timely album, filled with melancholy’. Sam Amidon is a singer/banjoist/fiddler/guitarist originally from Brattleboro, Vermont. He has released five acclaimed albums of radically reimagined folksongs on the Bedroom Community and Nonesuch labels, most recently 2014's Lily-O.

Closing the Clarks Amer Music Stage on Sunday evening (Jan 22nd) will be the world-class line up of Lisa Hannigan, Aga Khan Music Initiative Ensembl and The Raghu Dixit Project.

Lisa Hannigan’s haunting voice has featured on soundtracks for TV series Fargo and Oscar-winning Gravity and she has collaborated with artists as diverse as Ray LaMontagne, Richard Hawley and Herbie Hancock. Her new album At Swim is her most bewitching yet.

Aga Khan Music Initiative, a programme of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, is an inter-regional music and arts education programme to preserve, transmit and develop musical heritage in contemporary forms. The Aga Khan Music Initiative Ensemble brings together the Initiative’s leading artists and AKTC’s collaborators of the past fifteen years. These master musicians are not only brilliant performers, but also pioneering composers, arrangers, improvisers, teachers, and mentors. They bring all of these talents and abilities to bear on their work with the Aga Khan Music Initiative, drawing inspiration from the past to create new music, and playing an active role in the Music Initiative's education programme. Homayoun Sakhi on the Afghan rubab, Wu Man on the pipa, Saxophonist and composer Basel Rajoub, Salar Nader on tabla, Andrea Piccioni on single-headed frame drums, and qanun player Feras Charestan. The Ensemble will perform a newly created repertoire of compositions, improvisations and contemporary arrangements inspired by tradition.

Bringing Clarks to a close are one of India’s biggest cultural and musical exports, The Raghu Dixit Project. Their infectious, happy music transcends age, genre and language. From playing to over 100,000 people in Karnataka, to Glastonbury and even playing for the Queen of England, Dixit has done it all! Have a great time to their earthy, rooted, vibrant yet simple fun.

Music also features in the Heritage Evenings presented in partnership with Rajasthan Tourism. Bringing together arts and culture with built heritage, two mesmerising Heritage Evenings at the magnificent Amber Fort and the spectacular Hawa Mahal run parallel to the Festival on the evenings of January 20th and 21st.

Rhythm and Rhyme will be an evening of poetry readings held at Amber Fort, Jaipur on Friday, 20th January at 7.30 PM. Bringing together voices from two sides of the globe, the session will witness readings by celebrated American poet Anne Waldman and the renowned Bollywood lyricist Swanand Kirkire. This will be followed by Sarod Recital by Padma Vibhushan Ustad Amjad Ali Khan at the Amber Fort.

Mujre Se Multiplex Tak, will take the audience on a journey through the magical realm of entertainment at Hawa Mahal on Saturday, 21st January at 7:30 PM. Coursing through the ever changing world of cultural entertainment, the session will explore how the audiences at entertainment venues have evolved over the years. Writer and musician Vidya Shah will reflect on these changes through song while actor Luke Kenny punctuates them with poignant poetry and quirky banter.

Tickets available on the Jaipur Literature Festival website & also available for pick up at Diggi Palace at the Registration Desk from January 15th onwards and at Clarks Amer from 10 AM onwards on the Festival days (19th - 22nd January)

Gates open - 6:30, 7.00 – 10:00 – Hotel Clarks Amer
Rajasthan Josh and Kabir Café (Ticketed at Rs.400/- per day OR Rs.1200 for all 4 days. FREE with Delegate Registration)

Friday 20 January, 2017
09:00 – 09:45 – Front Lawns, Diggi Palace
Swanand Kirkire and Ankur Tewari

Gates open 6:30, 7.00 –10: 00 – Hotel Clarks Amer
Bombay Bassment and Inna Modja (Ticketed at Rs.400/- per day OR Rs.1200 for all 4 days. FREE with Delegate Registration)

Saturday 21 January, 2017
09:00 – 09:45 – Front Lawns, Diggi Palace
Padmini Rao (FREE with General Registration)

Gates open 6:30, 7.00 – 10: 00 – Hotel Clarks Amer
Soulmate and Beth Orton & Sam Amidon (Ticketed at Rs.400/- per day OR Rs.1200 for all 4 days. FREE with Delegate Registration)

Sunday 22 January, 2017
09:00 – 09:45 – Front Lawns, Diggi Palace
Devashish Dey (FREE with General Registration)

Gates open 6:30, 7.00 –10: 00 – Hotel Clarks Amer
Lisa Hannigan, Aga Khan All Stars, Raghu Dixit (Ticketed at Rs.400/- per day OR Rs.1200 for all 4 days. FREE with Delegate Registration)

Monday 23 January, 2017
09:00 – 09:45 – Front Lawns, Diggi Palace
East Meets Middle East (FREE with General Registration)

Jaipur Literature Festival is described as the ‘greatest literary show on Earth’, the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival is the world’s largest free event of its kind.

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Edited by - Debjani Hazarika