Wednesday, January 21, 2009

About The Festival

The Kabir Festival is week long event, a festive yet critical immersion in the ideas of the 15th century mystic weaver poet Kabir, through a series of film screenings, live music concerts by folk, classical and Sufi singers from India and Pakistan, discussions, seminars, an exhibition and outreach events in colleges, institutions of higher education, socio-cultural and religious communities in and around, Bangalore.

The Festival is being supported by a wide range of individuals, agencies and institutions, including Sophia High School, South Asia Foundation, Ford Foundation, Visthar, Srishti School of Art, Design & Technology, Adima, IIM-B, MS Ramaiah Foundation, NCBS-TIFR, Samvada, Abhishek Poddar, Green Earth Constructions, HIVOS, 1 Shanti Road Gallery, Goethe Institut-Max Mueller Bhavan, KC Das, N Chander, Navakarnataka Publications, Prism Bookshop, Suchitra Film Society, Urdu Academy and others. The Hindu is the media partner.

The festival would be an opportunity for audiences to experience the joy of Kabir in song, while engaging with the radically transformative power of his poetry. It would offer a powerful encounter with the philosophy of Kabir, hopefully generating moments of critical self-awareness and reflection on ideas of cultural identity and social divisions, death and impermanence, oral traditions and the nature of knowledge. It would offer an opportunity for singers from diverse musical and cultural traditions in India and Pakistan to come together in one performative space and share and exchange notes on the oral traditions of Kabir that they represent.

Envisioned by filmmaker Shabnam Virmani (see, the event is an outcome of her experiences consisting of a series of musical journeys in quest of the socio-political and spiritual legacy of Kabir in our contemporary worlds, as part of her Kabir project as artist-in-residence at Srishti. The Kabir Project has been supported by the Ford Foundation and resulted not only in the production of a series of films, music CDs and books, but also many relationships, workshops, events and social networks spun off by this 5-year journey.

A range of events are planned as part of this festival in satellite locations and a central venue. They revolve around the 4 recently completed feature-length musical documentaries and the presence of some of the finest singers of Kabir in our midst.

It is an open invitation!

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