Musical extravaganza at Agra fest

Agra, Feb 27 (IANS) Leading singers and bands from several parts of the country,including the popular singer Aditi Singh, Kutle Khan Project, Bandish Band and DJ Aqeel, enthralled the audience here in Taj City during the first edition of Agra Music Festival.

Held on Saturday night at Hotel Ramada Plaza here, the festival turned out to be an enriching experience, particularly for those waiting to hear the rhythms of Rajasthan.

Delhi based Indie-rock band, Bandish kicked off the night’s extravagant line up of artistes. Their performance was a rare mix of rock, bollywood and sufi music and the audience were enchanted by their performance, especially by popular bollywood numbers like “Bhaag bhaag DK Bose” and “Rock on”.

Even before the audience could get over the magnificient atmosphere that they created, the Kutle Khan Project took over the stage with more entertainment and sheer passion.

Starting with renowned Rajasthani song “Kesaria Balam”, Kutle Khan and his team members compelled the visitors to swing to the fancy of their rhythms. Next came “Dama Dam Mast Kalandar” and the evening reached its high-point.

“I have come here to listen to Kutle Khan. Aditi Sharma is a household name and I am glad to have an opportunity to hear her again,” Abhinav, a visitor, told IANS on the sidelines of the festival.

After the mesmerising performance of Kutle Khan and his team, the official logo of the music fest was launched.

Next in line were Aditi Sharma and DJ Aqeel, who left no stone unturned to win over the audience and even as they did so, the crowds responded passionately with their loud cheers, claps and occasional foot tapping to the beats.

“Saturday Night” and “Dhoom Macha Le” were among the headline songs that Sharma performed. The last performance of the day was marked by DJ Aqeel.

While the audience were left enthralled by these headline names, the absence of “Agra gharana,” a tradition of Hindustani classical vocal music descended from the Nauhar Bani, whose songs are a blend of khayal gayaki and Dhrupad, left many in the audience disappointed.

The distinguished exponents and teachers of “Agra gharana” have imparted the muse to countless disciples over the centuries and it was a surprise of sorts to not find them perform at a festival that aimed to reclaim the ancient musical heritage of Agra.

Festival curator DK Singh informed IANS that since this was its first edition, the organisers did not have enough space to accommodate more performances. He also assured that the next edition of the festival will be a two-day event and will also include a performance by an artist from the Agra Gharana as well.

“We have just started. Next year we are going to put up four different stages and along with musicians from Agra Gharana we are also going to invite leading Hollywood bands,” Singh said.

The project hopes to attract as many as 800-1,000 artistes from across the world in the next edition of the festival. The festival was organised by Architect Association of Agra and Round Table India Foundation.

(Monika Chauhan was in Agra at the invitation of the Agra Music Festival’s organisers. She can be contacted at monika.c@ians.in)

–IANS

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