‘Delhi Jazz Festival’ starts on Friday

Updated: Apr 06, 2011, 16:27 PM IST

New Delhi: Summer will take off on a note of romance in the capital with a three-day international ‘Delhi Jazz Festival’ starting Friday at the sprawling Nehru Park in the heart of the metropolis.

The festival, featuring nine bands from across the globe, is the maiden inroad of the Indian Centre for Cultural Relations (ICCR) into jazz as a tool of cultural contact spanning Asia, North America and Europe and linking them to jazz lovers here, ICCR director general Suresh Goel told reporters.

The ICCR is collaborating with a capital-based cultural non-profit group, Seher, to host the open-air festival.

The extravaganza, being billed as the first-of-its-kind by the ICCR, will include performances by Ceasre Picco (Italy), D-Company (India), Be Why (France), Christine Jensen Quintet (Canada), Fractal (India), Jump4Joy (Sweden), Ekkehard Wolk Trio (Germany), Amit Heri Group (India) and Trio AAB + Clandemonium (Scotland).

"It will become an annual feature on the ICCR`s calendar. Each band will be allotted an hour and every evening will host three bands," Goel said.

The festival will be open 6.30-9.30 p.m.

"Having lived abroad for a long time, I have realised that our musical reactions are not limited to classical traditions. We (Indians) look at things with interest. We take a great deal of interest in their genres of music like rock, pop, jazz and blues," Goel said.

"Even A.R. Rahman`s music has been influenced by jazz. Not only older people, even younger people in India are listening to jazz. I thought a jazz music festival would generate interest in India," he added.

Goel, who is personally fond of jazz, said he had lived in south Africa and had been exposed to jazz. "It is a kind of free-wheeling music that represents freedom," he said.

He said "every major city like Montreal, London, Stockholm, Edinburg, Leipzig and Berlin has a world-class jazz festival".

"We intend to include Delhi on the list of jazz capitals to make it a truly world-class city with the festival," Goel said.

The line-up is an interesting blend of traditional and innovative jazz. The Indian bands are predominantly fusion jazz bands using elements from traditional classical music.

The ICCR director general said he "toured the countries to talk to the respective governments and local administrations to identify the bands".

"The participating countries` governments were initially taken aback that we thought of doing a jazz festival. They have a belief that India is still grounded in tradition because the NRI communities still cling to the traditional way of life," Goel said.

"But India is not limited to the east anymore - it has moved much beyond. It has changed. But there was a time not so far ago - 20 years back - when Indians were not easily accepted as part of the western society," he added.

He said "culture does not remain anchored in the same old pattern, the soul remains the same but the outer manifests change".

And the ICCR`s mandate was about "cultural communications and conversations and not just promotion of Indian culture", Goel observed.

Sanjeev Bhargava, creative director of the co-partner of the festival, Seher, said "the success of South Asian Bands Festival year after year has brought ICCR and Seher together again to give the people of Delhi a treat of the best of international jazz music".