The first edition of Mahindra Roots is set to make its debut in Mumbai on Friday. Mahindra Roots festival brings together Indian artists from different regions and cultures and creates a space for cross-cultural exchange and dialogue, fostering greater understanding and appreciation of the rich tapestry of India's cultural landscape. It is also providing a platform for young and upcoming artists to showcase their talents alongside established performers and the event is scheduled from February 24-26.
The opening night, on 24th February, will see audiences witness an enthralling blend of music, stagecraft and storytelling in ‘Weaving Voices,’ directed by Roysten Abel. Meanwhile, on 25th February, Shabnam Virmani, well-known for co-creating an online collection of Kabir poetry and music with folk singer communities in India, will mesmerise the audience with her soulful performance.
From theatre performances, immersive storytelling, folk music, classical music, and poetry in multiple languages of Hindi, Punjabi, English, and Kannada, amongst others, to tribal music forms, contemporary Sufi, Abhangas, Bengal’s Baul music tradition, and more, the festival will witness audiences come closer to cultures across the length and breadth of the country.
Raghu Dixit, the frontman of contemporary folk outfit in the run-up to the first edition of the Mahindra Roots festival, spoke to The Free Press Journal and said, “A lot of rural folk musicians write to me to see if we can work together and so that the younger generations can vibe to it. I am also featuring two incredible talents who I met across my journey. Shilpa Mudbi is from Karnataka. She leads and performs as the Urban Folk Project. She works with many women from north Karnataka, especially from the transgender community there. She has been documenting the songs they sing and will be performing some of them in her phenomenal voice. And another one is, Raju Das Baul, will be performing a couple of Baul songs with us.”
Among the youth are folk-fusion band 'Abhanga Repost' from Mumbai, who will perform traditional Marathi abhangas reimagined through a fresh new lens. The band comprises vocalist and guitarist Pratish Mhaske, guitarist Ajay Vavhal, bassist Swapnil Tarphe, Tushar Totre on harmonium, percussionist Viraj Acharya and drummer Dushyant Deorukhkar.
Swapnil said, “Each Abhanga has message for a society by Tularam, Dnyaneshwar or Eknath and we decided to retain the tabla and harmonium. “We dress in traditional Indian clothes while performing to retain that folk feel and the sanctity," said drummer Dushyant.
It will take place from February 24 to 26 this year with an opening performance at Bal Gandharva Mandir on February 24. The other performances will take place at Bandra Fort Amphitheatre and antiSocial, Lower Parel. Tickets can be booked online.
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