The cultural diversity of the artists performing at the 10th anniversary City of Bhangra Festival is really impressive! Vancouver-based music group Saanjh is taking the stage at Media Arts Mehfil on May 30, and it’s sure to be an exciting event. Historically, a mehfil was an intimate, courtly gathering at which Indian and Pakistani classical poetry, music, or dance would be performed, often at the homes of royal patrons or noblemen. At Media Arts Mehfil, though, the definition of the “traditional” mehfil will be expanded and evolved to include the various and eclectic cultural influences of Saanjh. The term “Saanjh” in Punjabi means “connecting, sharing, and partnering,” and perfectly describes the group’s cross-cultural musical fusion ofNorth Indian classical tradition, jazz, funk, progressive rock, and Caribbean groove.
Saanhj will be creating their mesmerizing sound with both familiar and perhaps less familiar musical instruments. We’ll see the flute, bass, percussion, guitar and keyboard, and we’ll also have the chance to hear the unique and exotic sounds of the tabla, vidya veena, and dilruba. The tabla is a pair of drums traditional to Hindustani music that create a bell-like timbre. The vidya veena is an ancient plucked string instrument, considered to be the oldest and most authentic instrument of India. The dilruba is a stringed instrument with 18 to 22 strings on its neck, which is played by sliding the fingers of the left hand up and down the strings while the right hand slides a bow across the strings.
Media Arts Mehfil is certain to be an event that captures the collaborative and inclusive spirit of this year’s Festival theme, #BhangraLove. Join us on May 30 at 7 pm at the New Surrey City Hall! (Tickets $10; to purchase, visit http://vibc.org/events/)
Blog by Vanessa Power
Photos courtesy VIBC