Scotland, India pact to promote roots, tribal music exchanges

Last Updated: Sun, Oct 28, 2012 15:00 hrs

New Delhi, Oct 28 (IANS) The Celtic Connection, one of the Scotland's biggest roots music and arts festival supported by the government Scottish Arts Council has inked an agreement with the Rajasthan International Folk Festival (RIFF) Sunday to promote exchanges between roots musicians of Rajasthan and the Celtic regions of Britain.

The agreement signed by the RIFF director Divya Bhatia and the artistic director of Celtic Connections, Donald Shaw, for two years lays the groundwork for grassroots folk artists from the two countries to foster people-to-people understandings of cultures with performances and workshops. The exchange will be capped by a cultural gala during the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, a RIFF statement said.

The agreement is a boost for the home state of the new Union culture minister Chandresh Kumari Katoch, the eldest daughter of the former Jodhpur royalty and the sitting MP from the constituency.

The agreement was signed at the Umaid Bhavan Palace in Jodhpur in the presence of the former ruler of Jodhpur Gaj Singh and the Scottish cabinet secretary for culture Fiona Hyslop, who is in India for the Delhi International Arts Festival and RIFF.

'I am delighted to announce this unique partnership between the two annual festivals, both of which celebrate the distinctive and contemporary music of their countries while at the same time embracing the music of other cultures. We want to learn from your cultures,'' Hyslop said.

The Rajasthan International Folk Festival, held every year in late October at the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, is a three-day showcase of roots music from India and the world - with an emphasis to keep alive the dying traditions of Rajasthan's indigenous folk music and create new world fusion. The festival began in Jodhpur Oct 26. The festival set up in 2007 draws musicians from the primitive ethnic groups of India and marginalized communities around the world. Voted as one of the best 25 festivals by Songlines, it has been endorsed by UNESCO as a 'People's Platform for Creativity and Sustainable Development'.

The Celtic Connection in Glagow celebrates Celtic roots cultures and music for 18 days beginning January 17, with more than 200 concerts and 2,000 performers. The Celtic Connections brings folk performers from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany and Isle of Man regions to name a few, festival director of RIFF Divya Bhatia (he) said. The Celtic festival is 20 years old.

''In 2014, the Celtic Connections will begin in January and continue throughout the year to celebrate the Commonwealth Games. The year has been designated as the year of homecoming .We will try to bring the friends of Scotland home. India and Rajasthan are key to the cultural project,'' Donald Shaw, artistic director of the Celtic Connections said.

The culture secretary of Scotland said Scotland has been discussing with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations ''wider opportunities for cultural dialogue with India.''

The Scottish Dance Theatre - a leading community dance repertory - is in India to perform at the Delhi International Arts Festival in the capital.

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