The joint Edinburgh Festivals celebrate virtuosity and originality. Dance, music, and theatre talents from all over the world are invited to join an annual cultural festival for three weeks in August. Established in 1947, the festivals are held in Scotland’s most beautiful city. Britain has a long tradition of appreciating Indian dance and music; this year is no exception.
Anoushka Shankar, queen of the sitar and daughter of the legendary Ravi Shakar, will perform music taking the ancient Indian instrument into the contemporary world of pop, electronica, classical music and flamenco. Although Shankar makes her sitar speak in many tongues, her music remains rooted in the classical Hindustani traditions. She will be playing instrumentals from her new album Land of Gold.
Alba Flamenca is a small, self-sufficient dance company/ flamenco dance school founded by Saliha Haouachi, flamenco dancer and teacher, in 2006. Haouchi explains that historically the roots of flamenco are not precisely known, but it is generally acknowledged that flamenco grew out of the unique interplay of native Andalusian, Islamic, Sephardic, and gipsy cultures. Nomadic gypsies travelling from India have been fundamental in maintaining this art form by transmitting it orally. Haouchi says “Indian Dance, Belly Dance and Flamenco are so similar in their upper body and arm movements with the focusing on rhythmic and intricate footwork is what makes them work beautifully together.” The idea of the India Flamenco project was born when Haouachi collaborated with Danielo Lopez and Aroa Paredes.
The Offering (Guru Dakshina) is the story of a curious boy, full of wonder, dreaming of the great warriors of the past and wishing to be one of them. He meets up with an old man running away from a difficult past. Fate has brought them together, so emerges the complex and unique relationship between a guru and his shishya. The Offering is co-written and directed by Puneeta Roy with Aditya Roy, performer, musician and martial artist. Roy has spent two decades exploring different forms of martial arts in search of the ultimate form of self-defense. He brings this and his work in theatre and music into a spellbinding energetic performance. Roy said “My only dream as a child was to become a great warrior. A dream that grew into madness as I began to train relentlessly. I was fortunate to study under several masters who taught me different forms and helped shape the individual I am today. The Offering is an expression of gratitude and love to my Gurus. It embodies the spirit of my journey that I hope will inspire others too.”
Director and performer Yuki Ellias combines a web of intrigue with an epic adventure in Elephant in the Room. Inspired by the Elephant God- Ganesha, this coming of age story is about a boy in search of his head, who wanders through a forest where creatures fret over a prophecy of doom, where a motley spider-hunter duo are on a lookout for a big ticket ransom! This wonderful play for children and families was among the most acclaimed in India last year, winning the META awards in India for best actor, costumes and light design. Yuki Ellias said “It is a story about a boy who has an elephant head and is in search of his missing one. His journey brings in its wake the story of identity, patriarchy and the idea of the balance between God, man and nature.”
Majuli is a picturesque island in Assam’s mighty Brahmaputra river and the world’s biggest river island. Majuli’s people’s tale is told through Shilpika Bordoloi’s intensely theatrical dance solo expressing pleasure, pain, love and spiritualism. Inspired by the mystique of the Brahmaputra, it weaves together a story of the intricate bond between people and their land, set to music by indigenous instruments.
Last but not least at The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Teamwork Arts with the Tattoo Production team, and the Indian Government, will showcase The Naval Band, the best military band in India today, whose performances have enthralled audiences in Rabat, Tokyo, Sydney, Odessa, Istanbul and London.
The Edinburgh International and Fringe Festivals run from 4th –28th August 2017.