Milap – the UK’s leading Indian Arts and Culture company – is preparing to present ‘The Diwali Series’ a new week-long programme of music and dance performances, which can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home.
Diwali is the Indian festival of lights, usually lasting five days and celebrated during the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika. One of the most popular festivals of India, Diwali symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance”.
For last year’s Diwali festival, Milap took their celebrations online, and this year the virtual festivities will continue with an exciting line-up of rising stars and internationally renowned performers.
The ever-popular Music for the Mind & Soul series will return to the fore, with two concerts taking place across the week. This national concert series is designed to make the audience relax and forget about their worries and focus on their mental health and wellbeing.
The first of the concerts, and kicking off the week’s celebrations on 1st November, will be Smt. Shirin Sengupta Nath. An internationally acclaimed Hindustani Classical Vocalist from Kolkata, Shirin Sengupta Nath has performed in major music festivals and venues in more than 25 countries around the globe.
Designed especially for the festival, the performance was recorded at the On Air Studio in Kolkata and will feature accompanying artists Gourab Chatterjee (Harmonium), Sandip Ghosh (Tabla), Soumyajyoti Ghosh (Flute), Poulami Dasgupta (Vocal support & Swaramandal) and Dipita Bhattacharya (Vocal support and Percussion).
On 3rd November, Snehasish Mozumdar will perform as part of Milap’s Music for the Mind and Soul concert series. Mozumdar will explore the rich mellow sound of the mandolin, a rare instrument in Hindustani music. Traditionally used in Carnatic music, Snehasish has blended the mandolin seamlessly into the Hindustani style.
Following this concert, a video performance on 4th November from Kathakali artist Dr Janaki Nair will tell the story of Poothanamoksham – the tale of a demoness, her evil motives, motherly love, angst, and eventual surrender to the supreme being.
Poothana is often misunderstood as an ‘evil hag’, but this performance portrays her as a rounded character reflecting various shades of womanhood. Disguised as a beautiful woman, Poothana reaches Ambadi to execute King Kamsa’s order to slay all newborn babies, including Lord Krishna. But when she finds the charming Krishna, she is overwhelmed by motherly love. Caught in a deadly trap, she must make the tough decision between saving the child or saving herself.
During this Diwali – the celebration of inner light outshining the darkness – the story of Poothana and her salvation will bring forth the importance of winning our daily internal conflicts between dharma and adharma.
The final concert in the programme will see Carnatic vocalist, Rithvik Raja partner with award-winning Bharatanatyam dancer Shweta Prachande for a ‘conversation through dance and music’
Rooted in the South Indian Classical Music tradition, popularly known as Carnatic Music, Raja is one of the most celebrated and respected artistes of his era. His collaboration with National Balashree recipient Prachande will no doubt be a highlight of the programme.
For those wanting to get their glad rags on to celebrate in style, Milap’s artist in residence Sheetal Maru will host a ‘Dance with Divas’ special.
Available to dancers of all levels and abilities, the dance lesson will be based around special candles known as ‘Divas’ or ‘Diyas’. The session will include a fun workout and an introduction to authentic Indian Dance styles, whilst also working towards improving your wellbeing and sense of community.
Milap’s programme of events to celebrate Diwali will take place from 1st – 5th November across various streaming platforms including Milap’s YouTube page. Keep an eye on Milap’s social platforms over the coming days for further premiere announcements.
You can access all the online events taking place from 1st to 5th November 2021 by heading to www.youtube.com/milap.