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UK’s Largest Classical Indian Music Festival returns to celebrate its 9th year at Southbank Centre with Yoga Bliss Sessions-Sep 18-21, 2014



Southbank Centre will welcome one of the largest classical Indian music festivals to London this September. The Darbar Festival in association with SkyArts will see a 4 day extravaganza of performances held by some of the most talented Indian musicians in the world. The festival itself also remains unique in providing a platform where both Hindustani (North Indian) musical traditions and Carnatic (South Indian) musicians will perform offering audiences a delightful musical experience.

The word ‘Darbar’ refers to the audience chamber in a maharaja’s court and festival-goers and newcomers to the festival will be able to learn about the rich history of Indian classical music, immerse themselves in over 30 hours of high quality music and explore the many traditions, schools and styles of the classic artform. Now a regular fixture at Southbank Centre, Darbar Festival has significantly been programmed as part of the classical music programme.

From free family foyer events, yoga classes, special concerts with India’s best musicians, children’s sessions and the return of the Roti Chai Chaat Snack Bar the Southbank Centre will come alive with the sounds, tastes and delights of the Indian cultural experience. Whether you are an India classical music expert or simply a novice wanting to learn more-Darbar is a festival that welcomes everyone, whatever their background, to come and enjoy one of the world’s great classical artforms.

Highlights include:

  • London Beckons Indian Ragas (18 Sep, Queen Elizabeth Hall) The Darbar Festival opens with two outstanding debut UK performers. Goswami, a master of the sarangi featuring traditional temple music is joined by the exuberant rhythms of tabla maestro Edouard.
  • Indian Classical Music Appreciation Course (17 Sep-22 Oct) Explore the range of traditions, schools and classical styles of Indian music in 5 sessions run by the award winning broadcaster, journalist, novelist Jameela Siddiqi
  • Dhrupad and Shock of the New (20 Sep, Purcell Room) A special double bill concert takes the pace from the melodious to the fast and furious through India’s Hindustani and Carnatic traditions. Jyoti Hegde makes her UK debut performance on the spellbinding rudra veena, rightfully respected as the king of Indian classical instruments, in the Hindustani style.
  • Bansuri and the fast side of Dhrupad (19 Sep, Purcell Room) Haldipur, one of India’s most senior flautists, has a mastery of stylistic and emotional control. He trained under Annapurna Devi, the daughter and disciple of Allauddin Khan and former wife of the late sitar maestro, Ravi Shankar.
  • Best Then, Better Now: Legendary Prabha Atre (21 Sep, Queen Elizabeth Hall) India’s legendary classical vocalist Dr. Prabha Atre, has sustained a career over 6 generations to be heralded as one of India’s top female musicians. She appears in London for the first time in 20 years.
  • Anticipate the Unexpected (21 Sep, Queen Elizabeth Hall) A special double bill concert with the child prodigy turned classical star Niladri Kumar who plays the ‘zitar’ an electronic version of the sitar that he uses in his contemporary music.
  • Roti Chai Chaat Shack and Bar (Festival Village) will feature street food from India from chaats to masala chai and cocktails like the Dalchini Devil and Kovalam Beach Kick.
  • Children’s Sessions (21 Sep, St. Paul’s Pavilion)Hands on Instruments sessions with Jasdeep Degun and Indian singing workshop with Tofail Ahmed
  • Heaven and Earth Installation Art– a multi-screen video installation by Visual Artist Hetain Patel
  • Yoga Bliss sessions-bring your yoga mats to immerse yourself in a true spiritual experience relaxing your mind, body and soul
  • In-conversation: Three in-conversation events will take place with Sitarist Niladri Kumar, Khayal Talk with Prabha Atre& Carnatic Music Demystified.


Founded in 2006, Darbar Festival was a tribute to Bhai Gurmit Singh Ji Virdee, a revolutionary tabla teacher, for his long and selfless contribution to the UK music scene. His son, founder and Artistic Director of Darbar Sandeep Virdee says:


“It is indeed exciting to literally bring maestros and UK debut musicians from the different corners of India together on the same stages with UK musicians right here in London for audiences to immerse themselves in”


To book tickets online: www.southbankcentre.co.uk/darbar or call Box Office 0844 847 9910. Buy a the festival pass for £160 saving up to 30% on ticket prices (limited festival passes on sale). For complete listings please see www.darbar.org


“The Darbar organisers do all the legwork and do the research, hand pick the musicians and put them on our doorstep – it really doesn’t get better than that” BBC Radio 3

“Four days of glorious music” BBC Radio 3


UK’s Largest Classical Indian Music Festival returns to celebrate its 9th year at Southbank Centre with Yoga Bliss Sessions-Sep 18-21, 2014