Delhi International Jazz Festival gets bigger

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Traditional music drawn from Bedouin heritage blends with strains of Western jazz in the notes of Salhi Trio from Tunisia.

Full-time physicians, who come together for charity concerts for Doctors Without Borders, belt out their original compositions inspired from funk, Latin jazz and African style elements in Jazzmed from Austria.

A jazz orchestra group from Kazakhstan, which regularly performs for civil receptions of the President and mayors, is called X-Band, Shymkent City Circus Entity Jazz.

Professional instrumentalists from Syria, who combine Arabic, Oriental and Sufi rearrangements with jazz, harness the power of music for change and building bridges in a time of war and political turmoil.

Tunisia, Austria, Kazakhstan and Syria are some of the newest countries to be included in the latest edition of Delhi International Jazz Festival, organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. In its eighth edition, to be held from March 1 to 3, the festival has become bigger and more culturally diverse with 12 jazz ensembles encompassing 76 artists—the highest number since it started in 2011. These jazz groups, representing 12 different countries, will later travel to 22 cities, including Bhopal, Vadodara, Patna and Mysuru. Last year, the festival had representations from six countries and travelled to 13 cities in India.

The Indian group participating in the festival is a newly-formed collaboration called The Lucknow Experiment, led by drummer and composer Kartikeya Srivastava from Lucknow, featuring Pranai Gurung on guitar and Sonic Shori on bass. They dabble in improvisations on guitar-based groove and funk. Other artists include groups from Germany, Mauritius, Israel, Korea, Morocco, Spain and Thailand.

Akhilesh Mishra, former ambassador of India to the Maldives, took charge as the director general of ICCR on February 25. He stressed on the importance of art and culture to imbibe fresh new ideas and thoughts from around the world. On the presence of politically volatile countries like Tunisia and Syria in the line-up this time, Mishra says,"Even in places like Afghanistan, in the most dire of situations with bombings and insurgencies, people don't lose their zest for life. This is what drives them to reach out to the world."

The proposed budget for the festival this year is over Rs 1 crore. International jazz groups are sponsored by their own respective countries.

The eighth edition of Delhi International Jazz Festival will be held at Nehru Park in Chanakyapuri in New Delhi from 1 to 3 March.