Navtej Johar burns a hole
The Alchemy Festival of South Asian arts at the Southbank in London has already thrown up some gems with more to come this weekend. Darbar Featival at Kings Place kicked-off last night. There has been the usual mix of chaos and behind-the-scene fixes; new artists brought into public consciousness, highs and lows all part of the Festival fare. Pulse reviewers have been busy getting used to a quick turnaround of copy which is pretty scary, but Jahnavi Harrison has done a sterling job at Alchemy and now has Darbar looming ahead. If you have’nt read one of the reviews from Alchemy, you may wish to do so now at
I can’t help but gush about some of the amazing discoveries of this Festival. The duet of doomed love performed by Navtej Johar, Sikh bharatanatyam dancer of mature years opposite a young dancer Anil Panchal, was searing in it’s intensity: it’s beauty and emotion could burn a hole. The fact that the story of Heer-Ranja is so much a part of Punjab’s psyche from where both Navtej and Inder Singh the singer-composer hail, that the dancer and singer play off each other. The added visual depth of the partner’s contact work to their existing vocabularies of bharatanatyam and chau gives the performance a universal language. We need to bring the production of Fanna Ranja Re-Visited back to the UK for an extensive tour. Promoters help!
On my agenda this weekend are any of the performances I can grab at Darbar, (Morning Ragas by Arati Aantalikar), Arun Ghosh clarinet wizard at Purcell Saturday 8pm and devastated that Choreogata (Akademi’s platform for young dancer choreographers) clashes with the concluding Darbar concert of Roopa Panesar UK’s own sitar queen and the glorious vocalist Ulhas Kashalkar.
Catch a programme, glory in the Easter weekend sunshine and give thanks to the Lord.