First Amaravati global fest opens with music, dance

Amaravati, Feb 10 (IANS) The Amaravati Global Music and Dance Festival kicked off here with artistes, including Kathak exponent Pt. Birju Maharaj and violin virtuoso L. Subramaniam, creating magic against a glorious sunset on the Krishna-Godavari confluence.

The airy Pavitra Sangam amphitheatre at the confluence resonated with sonics and rhythms as acclaimed musicians and dancers invoked the divine.

Thousands gathered as a yellow moon rose in the azure sky amid a heady aroma of incense, creating the perfect ambience for the performances at the four-day extravaganza that ends on February 13.

Chantings of Sama Veda followed by the shrill symphonies of the Mangalavadya Nadaswaram (south Indian version of the shehnai) by Gonu Guntla brothers initiated India’s first riverfront dance and music fest.

Invoking goddess Saraswati, Kuchipudi danseuse Vyjayanthi Kashi & ensemble, graced the stage shaped like an embellished ‘sacred gateway’ (toran dwar) jutting out on the water.

The lit up stage twinkled against the shimmering dark waters.

A stunning aarti (prayer) for the Krishna-Godavari rivers, replete with diyas, incense, shlokas and generous sprinkling of flowers, set the tone for the next half of the show, on a different stage on ground.

Pandit Birju Maharaj and ensemble enthralled the audience with spectacular footwork, energetic ‘bols’, fluid turns in incredible synchronicity with the beats and tempos of live music.

Globally acclaimed violin virtuoso L. Subramaniam, the director of the event, accorded a befitting conclusion to the first day of the fest, with his soulful collaboration with the Kazakh State Philharmonic orchestra.

The festival, curated by E Factor Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., in the new capital of Andhra Pradesh, is mandated to become an annual event in keeping with State Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu’s vision to make Amaravati a global hub for culture, music and art.

Spanning genres such as Indian classical, Western classical music (orchestral), Bollywood, global fusion, folk music, contemporary world music, the fest will see performances by Subramaniam, Pt. Birju Maharaj, Hema Malini, Kavita Krishnamurti, Talat Aziz, Anup Jalota, Suresh Wadkar, Trilok Gurtu and Kazakh State Philharmonic Orchestra, among others.