Sunder Nursery to host the Classic Bagh Festival, an India-UK collaboration
New Delhi/IBNS: Designed as an immersive and environmentally conscious experience, the one-day ‘Classic Bagh Festival’ is scheduled to take place at the famous Sunder Nursery (formerly known as Azim Bagh, or Bagh-e-Azeem) this March.
Presented by JodhpurRIFF and the British Council, in association with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, the festival supports Indian artists and festival sector professionals impacted by COVID-19.
The free one-day festival, according to the organisers, has been developed as a site-conscientious response to the green setting of Sunder Nursery and its broader location within Nizamuddin.
It is a celebration of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya’s vision of pluralism and kindness, and the legacy and contribution to Hindustani music of his favourite disciple, father of Qawaali and Urdu literature, Hazrat Ameer Khusrau.
Open to visitors of Sunder Nursery, the Classic Bagh Festival will open with a lakeside dawn chorus (6am-9am) of vocal recitals from the Hindustani, Sufi, Bhajan, Shabad and Qawwali traditions by Smita Bellur and Jasleen Kaur Monga.
Later in the morning (9.30 am-1.30 pm), in the heritage monument-straddled garden north of the Amphitheatre, a short set by the Langa Ensemble will flag off the session, followed by Delhi’s own renowned Qawwali singer Dhruv Sangari ‘Bilal Chishti’ followed by a series of classical-sufi-folk covers by emerging Delhi artist Bawari Basanti.
The festival will draw to a close later in the evening (6pm-10pm) with an eclectic set - a special Jangda recital from the Manganiyar tradition led by Barkat Khan, ghazals by emerging artist Sraboni Chaudhary and performances by renowned masters Ustad Saeed Zafar Khan, now the Khalifa of the Dilli Gharana, and Qawaal Bachchey Warsi Brothers, performing in Sunder Nursery’s amphitheatre.
Jonathan Kennedy, Director Arts British Council India, said, “Classic Bagh is a special UK-India celebration which brings together artistes and audiences in a safe environment and supports the festivals sector in India as it grapples with the impact of Covid-19.”
Artistic Director and Creative Producer, Divya Bhatia said, “Nizamuddin is a very special place from a musical and spiritual perspective. JodhpurRIFF has designed the festival to acknowledge that legacy but also to go wider and include lineage or forms or artists resonant with the spirit of Khusaru’s work while bringing into the spotlight women artists who enrich and nourish our artistic and spiritual traditions.”
Part of the British Council’s Festivals for the Future programme that features a series of UK-India musical collaborations between Jodhpur RIFF, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the Classic Bagh festival reflects support for India's emerging festivals sector, developing crucial skill sets and strengthening India’s creative economy and art and culture festivals, in partnership with the UK.
In keeping with the COVID-19 safety protocols, masks will be mandatory along with distancing norms and limited seating arrangements for the evening performance.
The festival will take place on March 21, 2021.