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15/10/13 14:44

Indian musicians to perform at Celtic Connections

New programme supports cultural collaboration

Several of India’s most talented music acts have been selected to perform at a major arts festival, Scotland’s External Affairs Minister Humza Yousaf said today.

Saurav Moni, Ruhaniyat, Suhail Yusuf Khan, The Raghu Dixit Project, Parveen Sabrina Khan, Asin Langa and Bhungar Manganiyar will take their place in the spotlight during the next Celtic Connections – the world renowned folk music festival held each January in Glasgow which attracts more than 100,000 people each year.

Mr Yousaf announced the significant Indian presence in next year’s Celtic Connections line-up during a visit to India, during which he has been highlighting and strengthening business, education, diplomatic, and cultural links between the two countries.

The Minister was speaking ahead of a collaborative folk concert to be held in Mumbai tonight, at which Bangalore folk rocker Raghu Dixit and contemporary dance artist Mayuri Upadhya will perform together. Scottish folk group, Kaela Rowan and the Menagerie will also perform.

The concert has been organised to highlight and celebrate existing and emerging cultural ties between Scotland and India and is one of the highlights of Folk Nations, the British Council’s three-year programme focusing on folk music in India and the UK.

Within the Celtic Connections festival programme, which launched today in Glasgow, a series of concerts will be held in January under the banner of Showcase Scotland, which aims to promote some of the country’s finest musical talent alongside noted musicians from around the world.

In January 2014, Showcase Scotland will specifically highlight musical talent from Scotland, India and Australia.

The Indian acts appearing at Celtic Connections through Showcase Scotland can expect to perform to music lovers, media and more than 200 music industry delegates from around the world.

The surge of Indian talent performing at the Glasgow festival follows the signing of a historic three-year reciprocal performing agreement between Celtic Connections and Rajasthan International Folk Festival (RIFF) last year. Celtic Connections also marks the beginning of the cultural calendar for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Humza Yousaf, Scottish External Affairs Minister, said:

“Both Scotland and India are world-renowned for their rich, vibrant and diverse culture. The partnership agreement between Celtic Connections and the Rajasthan International Folk Festival, and the focus Celtic Connections will place on India in 2014 through Showcase Scotland, are just two examples of this. Tonight’s folk concert in Mumbai is another.

“I have been overwhelmed by the friendly welcome I have received in India, and I am delighted to invite some of the country’s outstanding musicians to come to Scotland next year and my home city of Glasgow for Celtic Connections, where they can certainly expect to receive a very warm Scottish welcome.”

Donald Shaw, Artistic Director for Celtic Connections, said:

"The Celtic Connections festival has always been well known for celebrating the connections between Celtic traditions and cultures across the globe and we’re really looking forward to exploring further musical links with these Indian acts at next year’s festival. I was blown away by the talent of these performers when I had the opportunity to see them in India earlier this year and I can’t wait for the Glasgow audiences to experience this too.”

Sam Harvey, Director West India, British Council said:

“As the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations, the British Council has had the privilege of working extensively with India to shape powerful collaborations. Folk Nations, Edinburgh Fringe and Impulse are some of our current projects that showcase this legacy in the music, theatre and dance sectors.

“Building on our experience and networks, we have established a strong and exciting partnership with Scotland. We are keen to further extend the artistic dialogue between India and Scotland in a way that will continue to benefit artists and art organisations, develop the creative economies of both countries, and bring innovative new work to audiences across the globe.”

Councillor Archie Graham, Chair of Glasgow Life, which promotes the Celtic Connections festival, said:

“Celtic Connections is a cornerstone of Scotland’s cultural calendar and every year it brings people from all over the world to Glasgow to celebrate and enjoy an array of fantastic performances. We are really looking forward to welcoming these Indian performers to our city to showcase their talent to an international audience via this world-renowned musical platform.”

Notes to editors

Glasgow’s annual folk, roots and world music festival, Celtic Connections celebrates Celtic music and its connections to cultures across the globe. Between 16th January – 2nd February 2014, 2,100 musicians from around the world will descend on Glasgow and bring the city to life for 18 days of concerts, ceilidhs, talks, art exhibitions, workshops, and free events.

Showcase Scotland at Celtic Connections – the largest gathering of the international music community in Scotland – provides a selection of Scottish and overseas acts with the valuable opportunity of performing in front of promoters, record labels and agents from over 20 different countries.

Now in its 15th year, Showcase Scotland is organised by Active Events on behalf of Celtic Connections. It was initiated by Creative Scotland and British Council Scotland to provide a platform for promoting Scottish music and artists to new audiences around the world. The international exposure that artists gain at Showcase Scotland can lead to record deals and overseas touring contracts.

The Indian Artists that will perform at Celtic Connections 2014 as part of Showcase Scotland are:

Saurav Moni (Kolkata) - The Mitchell Theatre, Glasgow, 23 January 2014

Saurav Moni sings traditional folk songs from Bengal. He travels among the boatmen, peasants and wandering minstrels of the two Bengals – West Bengal and Bangladesh picking up songs, and manages to retain the purity of timbre, tune and diction even as he performs for audiences widely varying in taste and location. Saurav’s expertise lies in telling the tales of the meandering river as it goes from upstream to downstream. Saurav’s straddles the genres of Sari, Jari, Murshidi, Marafti, Bhawaiya and Baul among others.

Ruhaniyat (Kolkata) - The Mitchell Theatre, Glasgow, 22 January 2014

Ruhaniyat is formed by Tajdar Junaid and Satyaki Banerjee, brilliant traditional musicians from the villages of Bengal. These folk musicians are called Bauls and Fakirs and have been around for a long time without getting their due recognition. Ruhaniyat is an effort to bring forward more of these unheard minstrels from the villages of Bengal.

Suhail Yusuf Khan (Delhi) - The Mitchell Theatre, Glasgow, 24 January 2014

Suhail, a devoted Sarangi player has been hailed as a child prodigy in the world of music. Inspired by the sound of the Sarangi, Suhail started learning this majestic instrument from his uncle and grandfather under the traditional Guru - Shishya parampara. He gave his first live performance at the age of 11 with his grandfather and uncle. Since then he has been performing regularly in India and abroad. This multifaceted musician is also the singer\song writer\Sarangi player for one of India's leading and well known fusion acts called ADVAITA.

The Raghu Dixit Project (Bangalore) - Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow, 26 January 2014

The Raghu Dixit Project’s rise has been nothing short of spectacular. The former Bharatnatyam dancer’s rousing folk rock is not only the symbol of metropolitan India’s blossoming alternative music scene, but is also making waves internationally. Ethnic and rooted at the core, but at the same time, global in its outlook. It’s not a surprise that Raghu has been referred to as India’s biggest cultural export of recent times.

The following artists will perform at Celtic Connections as a result of the festival’s partnership with RIFF:

Parveen Sabrina Khan (vocals) - Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow, 22 January 2014

Parveen is best known for her “Maands”, a dying form of Rajasthani folk singing which she has learnt from local folk artists in her home town of Jaipur. Parveen is from a traditional musical family. She has performed at the Commonwealth Games and The Jodhpur RIFF. Accompanied by Hameed Kawa (her father) (percussion - tabla) and Chanan Manganiyar (strings - kamaycha).

Maru Tarang – National Piping Centre, Glasgow, 25 January 2014

A collaboration between Asin Langa on Sindhi Sarangi, accompanied by Bobby Singh on tabla and Bhungar Manganiyar on khartal with Australian guitarist/singer-songwriter Jeff Lang, folk/jazz singer.

Humza Yousaf, Minister for External Affairs and International Development is in India from October 10-16 to highlight and strengthen Scottish education, business, tourism, cultural and diplomatic links with the country.

The Minister has undertaken several business, cultural and diplomatic engagements in New Delhi and Mumbai and has met representatives of government and existing and potential investors across a range of sectors.

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