Mahindra Kabira Festival Wraps Up Its Sixth Edition With A Riveting Musical Evening

Sarod Maestro, Pandit Vikash Maharaj, along with his sons, sitar player/vocalist Abhishek Maharaj and tabla player Prabhash Maharaj performed an act named Untouched Music of Banaras


Honouring the legacy of the 15th-century mystic poet Kabir, the magnificence of the ghats and the unique cultural flavour of Varanasi, the sixth edition of the Mahindra Kabira Festival commenced its two days of celebration with a musical medley on November 20, 2022. Amidst the chaos of the oldest city, the Festival began with a melodious musical morning programme featuring Hindustani classical vocalist of the Indore Gharana, Rama Sundar Ranganathan with the tabla player, Ustad Akhtar Hasan and Pt. Bharat Bhushan Goswami on sarangi. 

Sanjoy K. Roy, Managing Director, Teamwork Arts, said, “The past two days saw captivating performances, that include visual, theatrical, yet a musical and philosophical aspect of saint Kabir, set against the sacred Ganga in the city of Varanasi. We are truly grateful to all the artists, partners and audiences who have come from all over the world to be part of our efforts to keep the spirit of Mahindra Kabira alive.”

Jay Shah, Vice President, Head - Cultural Outreach, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., said, “As the sun sets on this year’s Mahindra Kabira Festival, our hearts are full from the warmth from the people of Varanasi, the artists and the audiences. We leave Varanasi with the promise of returning next with another soul-stirring festival!”   

Sarod Maestro, Pandit Vikash Maharaj, along with his sons, sitar player/vocalist Abhishek Maharaj and tabla player Prabhash Maharaj performed an act named Untouched Music of Banaras displaying the exquisite skill and artistry of the Banaras Gharana. This charismatic father-and-sons trio brought great joy and vitality to music through their mesmerising act. 

Afternoon sessions embraced the city of ghats with Kabir’s teachings and his philosophies. The Festival featured a storytelling session on Kabir Das through the art of dastan-e-goi, showcasing the first-ever female dastango, Fouzia, performing Dastaan-e-Kabir, an eloquent, rhythmic rendition of Kabir's multidimensional expressions through his dohas.

Following the dastango, an insightful act titled Kabir Panguda Allah Ram ka featured Purushottam Agarwal & Vipin Heero who created a memorable and hum-worthy experience for all the Mahindra Kabira attendees. During the session Agarwal said, “Kabir was not the first or the last one but he was unique. He had his own voice for his thoughts. There is a need to minimize him as a love poet and know that his beliefs and teachings were more philosophical and rational. I've been influenced by Kabir and like every other north Indian I knew a glimpse of Kabir from my childhood. With the Mahindra Kabira Festival I'm able to reach out to a sensible audience with one's ideas and reflections to them.” 

The enchanting Evening Music programme began at Shivala Ghat, featuring renowned artistes from the contemporary folk band The Tapi Project- Yogendra Saniyawala, Swati Minaxi, Biju Nambiar and Gaurav Kapadia; singer-songwriter Jasleen Aulakh, and contemporary Indian folk band The Raghu Dixit Project. 

On being asked about his experience at the Mahindra Kabira Festival, Dixit said, “For the sixth edition of the Festival, I collaborated with Jasleen Aulakh and it was a fruitful experience. This year, I presented both the ideas of Saint Sheshnath and Kabir together in a single song. I did not plan on performing traditional Kabir's songs… but for the first time ever I have composed new melodies for the Festival." Additionally, Aulakh expressed her thoughts about being lucky and honoured to present her compositions of lyricist Polly Sagehra along with Kabir’s, in his birthplace. She added insights about her life-journey that involved listening to Kabir's dohas while growing up and learning time management and attaining mental peace through his writings.

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