Cultural links strengthened

Yatra (meaning Journey) will be performed at the India Museum on February 10th.
Yatra (meaning Journey) will be performed at the India Museum on February 10th.

An Lanntair arts centre in Stornoway is celebrating the continued success of its Festival of South Asian Art and Culture, Purvai in 2018 as the festival travels to India for some very special events and live performances.

The festival was a signature event for Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017.

The Purvai Festival engaged audiences with the rich history that exists between India and Scotland, celebrating and exploring the South Asian cultural heritage that is an integral part of Scotland today. Purvai was originally inspired by the life and collection of Stornoway born Colonel Colin Mackenzie, who became the first Surveyor General of India.

Now the signature event concert from the festival, Yatra (meaning Journey), which told the journey of Mackenzie from the Hebrides to India through a confluence of Gaelic vocal traditions and Indian Rag, will be performed to audiences in India. Firstly at the Queen Elizabeth Cup Reception on the 9th of Feb and a large scale performance will take place at The India Museum on the 10th of February.

The musicians will include: Dalbir Singh Rattan – Lead composer and Tabla; Kathleen MacIness – vocals; Aziz Ibrahim – Guitar; Kaviraj Singh – Vocals and Santoor; Jane Hepburn – Violin; Neil Johnstone - Cello and Rhona Johnstone – Violin.

Alongside the live performances Purvai, in partnership with The Edinburgh International Book Festival, will continue its New Passages Project. In 2017 An Lanntair and Edinburgh International Book Festival developed New Passages, a special, year-long project commemorating both the 70th anniversary of Indian independence and the partition of India. New Passages as part of the Purvai project, also uses the Mackenzie Collection as its axis.

Scottish writers, having travelled to the Hebrides to view the collection and birth place of Mackenzie, Nalini Paul and Abir Mukhrjee, are now writing on their discoveries and personal responses to that journey.

In collaboration with the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival in Kolkata, the writers have carried out a week-long residency continuing their journey and research into the Mackenzie Collection. They met and collaborated with Indian counterpart writers, Sandip Roy and Sampurna Chattarji.