Southbank Centre's riverside venues and spaces will be suffused with love for the divine as devotional singers and poets gather for Muzaffar Ali's prestigious Sufi festival Jahan e Khusrau, which provides the focus for the opening weekend of Alchemy now in its second year. Artists confirmed for Southbank Centre's 11-day celebration of South Asian culture include actors Meera Syal and Javed Jaffrey; the return of tabla maestro Talvin Singh; legendary Sufi singer Hans Raj Hans; writers and journalists Tahmima Anam, William Dalrymple and Amit Chaudhuri; TV presenter Anita Rani: pop icon Kailash Kher and rising-star Raghu Dixit. A hard-hitting series of talks and debates explore issues thrown up by the region’s rapid economic growth. Beyond the ticketed events, Alchemy extends an open invitation to all to come and enjoy the festival atmosphere at an exciting range of free events ranging from morning yoga to daytime events for children and outdoor street theatre to pre-concert dance demonstrations and performances.
JAHAN E KHUSRAU – a divine weekend of Sufi fashion, music, dance and poetry incl. singer HANS RAJ HANS, actor JAVED JAFFREY and writer WILLIAM DALRYMPLE
KAILASH KHER – rare UK concert by folk-rock star and Indian Idol judge
TALVIN SINGH and NILADRI KUMAR – classical collaboration between tabla and sitar giants
MEERA SYAL stars in first all-South Asian cast for THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES
Alchemy gigs by RAGHU DIXIT and SUSHEELA RAMAN
DOUBLE BILL – with ‘the Queen of Hindustani music’ BEGUM PARVEEN SULTANA and ALARMEL VALLI, one of the foremost exponents of Bharatnatyam dance
FASHION SHOWS – feat. some of India’s hottest designers with music by DJ NIHAL
Literature series feat. TAHMIMA ANAM, MAHA KHAN PHILLIPS and MANU JOSEPH
UK-based dance from GAURI TRIPATHI, AKADEMI and SHOBANA JEYASINGH
ALCHEMY DEBATE series with guests incl. AMIT CHAUDHURI and RAJEEV SETHI
SOUMIK DATTA’s CIRCLE OF SOUND – sarod virtuoso’s explosive audiovisual collaboration
‘MODERN MELA’ style celebration marking 40th VICTORY DAY OF BANGLADESH
FREE PERFORMANCES by ARUN GHOSH; female British Asian songwriters hosted by The One Show’s ANITA RANI; Indo-Caribbean street theatre CHUTNEY IN THE STREET!
FREE EVENTS – CALLIGRAPHY, KIDS EVENTS and BHANGRA PARTY
Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, said:
The past decade has seen one of the world’s oldest and most fecund cultures transform into an economic superpower. There is perhaps no region more emblematic of the challenges and opportunities created by rapid economic growth than the Indian subcontinent – where the tensions between old and new, rural and urban, science and religion are so visible, so tangible. Southbank Centre’s second Alchemy festival goes deeper into South Asia’s traditional and contemporary cultural landscape with 11 thrilling days of music, dance, fashion and debate.
This year Alchemy offers a wider range of Free Events for Festival-goers, from morning Shadow Yoga Sessions (The Clore Ballroom, 19-20 April) to exciting Fashion Shows with music supplied by DJ Nihal (Clore Ballroom, 15 and 18 April) and dance workshops including Classical Indian Moves (23 April); Kathak (24 April); Temple & Court with Gauri Sharma Tripathi (24 April) and Bhangra Social Dance (24 April). The Alchemy Market (15-17 April and 22-24 April) in Southbank Centre Square will offer a variety of hot food, chai and Indian crafts on both weekends of the Festival.
A specially commissioned photo exhibition - Leaders (Royal Festival Hall Foyers, 15-25 April) - will celebrate the 21st, 20th and 30th anniversaries of UK pioneering cultural organisations sampad, Akademi and Shobana Jeyasingh dance company. Taking place all over the site on 23 April will be Chutney in the Street!, Kuljit Bhamra’s spicy street mix of up-tempo dance and song backed by tabla, guitars and percussion – inspired by the fascinating Indo-Caribean street theatre tradition.
Southbank Centre Ticket Office Number – 0844 847 9910 website: www.southbankcentre.co.uk/alchemy