I attended the recently concluded Sirpur National Dance and Music Festival 2015 in Chhattisgarh. Now that I am back, if I could have it my way, I would like to attend the next year’s festival too. You can read about it all in this post or you may go and check out my short videos on Vine and listen to the music. If you would take my advice, that would be the better course, but then free feel to ignore it, that way you will read my post!
Sipur is about 80 KM away from the capital town of Raipur, where we were staying. The festival is held against the ancient Laxman Temple of Sipur. It was a three day event held from 16 to 18 January 2015. Each day presented scintillating music, I was surprised because I never expected that I would enjoy it so much. I found myself tapping my feet, clapping to the tune, or more likely out of tune, things I hardly ever do because I am tone deaf! And yet at Sipur even this tone deaf person was enchanted!
Day 1 Sirpur Festival 2015
The best event of Day 1 was the performance ‘Taal Chhattisgarh.’ Actually it is useless to try to capture that divine music that Pete Lockette produced with 60 tribal musicians in words. It has to be experienced. Chhattisgarh has an extremely rich tribal culture which the MD Chhattisgarh Tourism, Mr. Sanotsh K Misra, was quick to highlight in his media briefing.
The sequence was followed by Kathak by Yasmin Singh and Group. The last performance of the day was by Shounak Abhisheki & Asha Khandilkar’s devotional songs. The program used to end around 10 at night and by that time it would get cold. On day one Anuradha Shankarn and I were in a deep conversation about music and everything else. It was difficult to believe even for us that we met for the first time in real life! We two had the cab to overself on our drive back to Raipur!
Day 2 Sirpur Festival 2015
On day 2 of the festival I was completely swayed by Rahul Sharma and his group and the music they created. Also amazing was Leonardo Eto on drums from Japan. Day two also saw the crowd puller Anuradha Paudwal performing with her group.
By day two I realized that if I wanted better pictures I need elevation and I started climbing on the platform where the TV cameras were hosted. No one asked me to get lost and that became my preferred position to watch the program.
Day 3- Sirpur Festival 2015
By the last day I didn’t want the festival to end! And I am saying this about a cultural festival, when I hardly consider myself cultured! I enjoyed two superlative performances on this day, one by Ustad Shujaat Khan and his group. I enjoyed Vidwan Vikku Vinayakram on Ghatam. I never thought a Ghatam could sound this amazing.
Then of course the finale was superlative with Pt. Birju Maharaj and his group. I could only marvel at Pandit ji’s energy and devotion to his craft. It was such a cold night and yet he performed with such a zeal.
If you are a music lover, you would truly enjoy the festival. I can vouch for it. If a stiff person like me can go foot tapping, clapping and swaying, anyone would, I can take a bet on it.
If you wish to know more about the festival you can go to the official page of Sirpur Festival.
PS. I was invited by Chhattisgarh Tourism Board to attend the event.