Kabira Festival makes its return after one-year hiatus

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Cancelled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Mahindra Kabira festival returns to Varanasi from November 26-28, organiser Teamwork Arts announced on Wednesday.

The festival, however, this year will allow a limited entry of “small and select audience of double-vaccinated people” only, they clarified.

Celebrating the wisdom of the 15th century mystic poet Kabir, it will host a plethora of activities from classical and folk music, talks, live-art demonstrations to a delectable local food journey and the quintessential Ganga aarti experience.

Eminent artists including the likes of folk singer Malini Awasthi, Indian classical vocalists Kalapini Komkali, Nirali Kartik, Indian sitar maestro Purbayan Chatterjee, Malayalam playback singer Gayatri Asokan, Carnatic vocal and violin duo Ranjani Gayatri and folk poet Jumma Khan make up the roster of the artists performing at the festival.

It will also feature a modern version of theatre actor and cultural activist M K Raina’s popular play “Kabira Khada Bazaar Mein” and a performance by artists from ‘The Aahvaan Project’ presenting collaborative fusions following Kabir’s ideas.

“Kabir’s teachings are all about inclusiveness and common-sense! Each year, Mahindra Kabira Festival celebrates the inclusive philosophy and syncretic traditions of Kabir bringing to music-lovers and those in search of truth an unforgettable experience with a line-up that includes Kashmiri folk to Carnatic music with some of the most interesting artists of our county,” said Sanjoy Roy, managing director, Teamwork Arts.

The list of artists also includes musician-storyteller Raman Iyer and educator-spiritual mentor Umesh Kabir.

According to the organisers, music sessions by leading artistes on the historic ghats of Varanasi, walks down mysterious city alleys, talks and discourses, ethereal boat rides on a timeless river, and food that is linked with Varanasi’s ancient culinary traditions, are all on the anvil in the festival.

“Mahindra Kabira Festival 2021 returns with the promise of hope and optimism. It signifies new beginnings in a changed world, a world we can never again take for granted. A world that values compassion & empathy – qualities that Kabir held dear,” said Jay Shah, vice president, head cultural outreach, Mahindra Group.

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