Indian choir to perform for festival of colours

Malhaar is a celebration of India’s ‘unity in diversity’ (FILE)

Holi, the Indian festival of colours, will be marked in Dubai by a live musical multimedia show featuring Malhaar, the Middle East's first Indian music choir.

Suro ki Holi – meaning celebration of Holi with music – will be staged at the Indian Club Dubai on February 28.

The festival is celebrated in spring when people throw colourful abeer and gulaal powder into the sky.

Over the years Holi has become an important festival in many parts of the world where the Indian diaspora has put down roots.

Traditionally, Holi celebrations begin many days in advance with musical soirees, or baithaks, at which folk songs related to the festival are performed.

"However, Holi in Dubai this year will be a bit different," said Jogiraj Sikidar, the choir's director.

Sikidar has adapted Indian classical music to Western choral music styles for Malhaar. "Malhaar is a group of professionals with a passion for music," he added.

"Our only aim is to showcase India's rich musical heritage among the expat communities and not to make a profit. We are always on the lookout for a platform where our hard work and passion for music will be appreciated," he said.

Sunday's show on the eve of Holi will highlight Indian classical and folk music as well as contemporary musical facets of the festival of colours from different Indian states.

"Malhaar has made a sincere attempt to collect different coloured threads from India's diverse states, weave them into a unique fabric and present a special experience to the audience.

"Malhaar has traversed the entire length and breadth of India in its search for different shades of Holi. Malhaar's musical journey commenced from the garh, or birthplace, of Holi – Mathura, Vrindavan, Banaras, Barsana and Braj. Malhaar will also provide a taste of how Holi is celebrated in Bengal's Shantiniketan and has borrowed some evergreen poetic notes from Rabindranath Tagore's vasant utsav, or spring festival, for this very purpose.

"Malhaar also travelled to Punjab's Hola Mohalla and combed Gujarat's Raas Lila playgrounds in its search for colours. Malhaar also found inspiration in Andhra Pradesh's Banjara gypsies, Gujarat's Matkaa phod and Maharashtra's Rangpanchami celebrations as well as the Holi of royal Rajasthan."

Malhaar will also perform some Holi compositions from Bollywood.

"Suro ki Holi will be an all-encompassing audiovisual treat and Malhaar is all geared up to take the audience on a musical journey never experienced before."

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