Page last updated
Wednesday, 08-Jan-2014

Arts of India 2012 and 2013

This is the home page for the Asian arts section

This is the home page for our coverage of the arts and culture of India as reflected in Leicester, Leicestershire and The East Midlands.

Next page: Read reviews on our Asian arts reviews page

On this page: | Diwali | Kathak dancer's award | Ugandan exhibition | Harjinder Ohbi | Manika Kaur | Raghu Dixit | Big Dance Launch | Bhooli Bisri Yaadein | Karman | Ekatva tour | Guide to Asian arts | Indian and Asian artists and performers | Darbar Music Festival | Sandeep Raval | Promoters of Asian and Indian shows |


20th October

Diwali Lights up Leicester

By Vanisha Waghela

Diwali was celebrated by thousands of people over the past weekend as the Festival of Lights lit up the streets and skies of Leicester.

Translated as a ‘row of lighted lamps’ in Sanskrit, Diwali is a celebration of the victory of good over evil and light over dark which marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year.

On the 20th October, a light switch-on event took place on Belgrave Road in Leicester. Over 35,000 people gathered to watch more than 6,500 lights illuminate the Road with vibrant colours. Additionally, there was music, dancing and hot food to entertain people on the night.

This year, Diwali took place on Sunday 3rd November. An evening of celebrations ensued at Cossington Recreation Ground in Leicester which over 10,000 people attended. Dhol players, guest speakers and live entertainment on a stage were a part of the evening programme that entertained all the family.

To end the celebrations, a 20 minute firework display was set off, dazzling on-lookers. Mr. Patel, 27, who attended the event at Cossington Recreation Ground said: “One of the best parts of Diwali is the fireworks. There’s something about them which makes Diwali so special.”

During Diwali, many families celebrate by praying and exchanging Indian sweets called ‘mithai’ with one another. Furthermore, families often light earthenware lanterns called ‘divas’ which are filled with a little oil and placed by windows to show their respect towards the Hindu Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity, Lakshmi. It is believed that Lakshmi is guided by the lights from the lanterns and blesses the families with a prosperous New Year.

23rd July

Kathak dancer celebrates MBE award

Celebrities and distinguished guests from the arts and the city of Leicester gathered at the City Rooms tonight to celebrate the award of an MBE to Nilima Devi, the Director of the centre for Indian Classical Dance (CICD.) Read more about this

22nd July

Exhibition gets new permanent home

AN exhibition telling the story of Leicester's Ugandan Asian community has been given a new permanent home.

Entitled From Kampala to Leicester, the exhibition tells how Ugandan dictator Idi Amin gave his country's Asian community just 90 days to leave in 1972. Families were forced to leave their belongs as they fled to countries including the UK and Canada.

Many of those who came to the UK eventually settled in Leicester. The hugely-popular exhibition was on temporary display at New Walk Museum and Art Gallery from July to September 2012. Now it has been given a permanent home at the city's Newarke Houses Museum.

It will be officially opened in its new home on July 23. The exhibition uses original film, personal testimony and rare artefacts borrowed from Leicester's Ugandan Asian community, to tell the powerful and moving story of survival, sacrifice and adventure and ultimately success.

From Kampala to Leicester, and a range of activities and projects linked to the display, were developed in partnership with BBC Radio Leicester and cultural group Navrang, with the support National Lottery cash, through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Leicester assistant city mayor for culture, heritage, leisure and sport, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, said: "The original exhibition was enormously popular and really shed light on the individual stories of people displaced from Uganda who made Leicester their home. "It is great to see that it now is on permanent display in the city, as the story it tells is a key part of Leicester's modern-day identity."

Full details of the exhibition are available at:

8th July 2013

Harjinder Ohbi

It is with great sadness that we report the death of our Asian Arts Editor and photographer, Harjinder Ohbi.

Harjinder had worked with Artsin for a long time; previously he worked for the Leicester Mercury and the Ratna Agency. He died on 2nd July and his funeral takes place tomorrow in Leicester.

His passing will sadden many people in Leicester. He was widely known and respected for his work, particularly for his photography, having photographed many of the the great music stars that had come to play in our city over the years.

India - video captures plight of HIV kids

A video and song by Rob Newton - from Loughborough - about kids with HIV in India

Watch this video on YouTube

Manika Kaur - a voice that uplifts you

By Harjinder Ohbi

Manika Kaur is a gem of a find. A devout Sikh, her voice makes you tremble. It permeates through your body and soul for you to seek enlightenment from the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev ji, founder of the Sikh faith.

Her voice quite literally speaks volumes and will have you glued to your speakers. Listen to her CD Bandhanaa and you will be drawn into her spiritual world, where charity, love, peace and devotion come into play as one.

I came across her whilst channel hoping earlier this year, It was the three year old Sikh channel that was taking the teachings of our first guru globally. My interview with Manika has blossomed into a friendship that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

This pious young lady says of her upbringing "I was brought up within a very spiritual home environment that was to lay the foundations of true Sikhism within me. I can't explain what it was like where thousands of Guru Granth Sahib jis (Sikh holy scriptures) would be brought to our house and most of our weekends were spent flying around Australia where we would distribute them to the Sikh communities and sometimes sing in their homes.

"The whole experience was divine. Every night our parents would tell us stories about our Guru's then later my brothers, sister and I would have 'jam sessions'. The boys would play the tablas whilst my sister and I would play the harmonium and sing bhajans."

That initial grounding in spirituality led her to spending many hours singing but she had a goal in mind. The self taught composer/singer and songwriter (shabad/kirtans) said "I wanted to combine spirituality, singing and charitable work and my first CD Bandhanaa actually started as a dream.

"It was produced by Sukhbir Singh , the 'King of Bhangra' who added vocals and majority of the instruementation along with his friends. They are existing melodies and my own interpretations except for the last track on the album Satnam Waheguru", in both Punjabi and English, which i composed based on a lullaby I wrote for my twin nephews.

"I still don't know how God made all this happen." Now a resident in Dubai, UAE, Manika said "though the Bandhanaa video features my friends, when I perform live its just me singing to a backing track and have to do all the sound checks to ensure the system allows me to play a CD that is connected to the speakers."

She draws inspiration from many different Ragis (devout Sikhs who perform Kirtan... chanting devotional hymns with accompanying musical instruments) in Sikh temples.

"I have been truly inspired by the likes of Bhai Niranjan Singh, Sarabjit Singh Ranghila, Satnam Singh Sethi and several others but most of all my parents who would take the time to explain the meanings of the Shabads and translating the Kathas of Giani Arjun Singh from Bangkok.

"That is what really impacted on my life and helped me understand the path of Sikhism with love without force."

Music, says Manika "has no barriers, which is why it brings people together. At times you don't need to understand it but you feel it. Kirtan has something more extraordinary, when you connect to it, you are connecting to the purest love.This is why people often cry when they listen or sing Kirtan. It is hard to describe the feeling even for someone like me who is unable to fully grasp the true meanings of our Guru's teachings; it feels like floating in a warm pool of light at the end of the day!"

Charity runs through her veins. She recorded Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah for an Australian children's TV programme. "It was a birthday present for my husband. It is one of his favourite tracks. I made a video and uploaded it onto the Youtube to highlight poverty.

"It is so hard to imagine billions are spent on buying weapons whilst just a percentage of that money could put every child in the world into schools. My second Kirtan album is going to help raise funds for them.

"I guess the charitable aspect in me comes from watching my parents donating musical instruments to the many Sikh temples in Melbourne, when I was a child and that has left an everlasting impression on me. They have recently renovated the Singh Sabha Gurdwara in Southall, London, and are set to donate a hand written ( in gold letters), Guru Granth Sahib weighing 50 kg .

"We are not sure where it is destined to go but suffice to say due to the complex literature it will be housed in a Sikh temple somewhere in the world, where it can be interpreted word for word by the Priests. That is very important. Sadly many of the Guru Granth Sahibs have worn out over time ."

Bandhanaa is a spiritually uplifting CD. Every artist attempts to sing in their own individual style but Manika somehow supercedes them. Whilst Sikhism is practised on a global scale, there are not many females who have recorded bhajans or kirtans.

Manika has perhaps broken this mould and her vocal range has that unique quality, whilst not classically trained. The CD kick starts with the ominous Wahe Guru, chanting leading to Ram Ram Bholey Ram. It is spiritually infectious and listen to it a number of times and you are hooked. Not only is there an element of classical music but she communicates her message of "oneness" amd enlightens through the teachings of Guru Nanak devji.

She hopes Bandhanaa will raise much needed funds for a new Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara in Dubai, "The album has raised 1 million dhirams which is beyond my wildest dreams but so many people understood what it would mean to have a Gurdwara in this part of the world... The Gurdwara is a $20 million project. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum donated the land to us and whilst it is now complete we are raising funds to pay the bills. I am so grateful I could contribute in a small way.

Her recent visit to India saw theCD Bandhanaa flying off of the shelves. I listen to her music almost everyday, it brings out the spirituality in me.

Harjinder Ohbi is a writer and photographer

Indian dance honour

Read our news story on Nilima Devi being honoured by the Queen.


13th December

Tribute to Sitar player Ravi Shankar

by Harjinder Ohbi

ravi shankar

It is not often you get the opportunity to interview a legendary figure from the classical music world who, created world music for many a generation. I had the good fortune to interview Pandit Ravi Shankar at a concert in London. I have since interviewed his daughter Anoushka, a contemporasry and classical sitar player who last performed at the De Montfort Hall, a few years ago for my then local paper.

Ravi Shankar began his career as a classical kathak dancer alongside his brother Uday, touring Europe before branching out to learn the the sitar, under the tutelage of the infamous court musician Allaudin Khan in the late 1930s.

It was to create a monumental storm in the world of music that led to friendships that gave way to an understanding of indian classical music. The late legendary Violinist Yehudi Menuhin worked alongside him. He was not alone, the late former Beatle George Harrison became a student and there were many more.

He raised millions during the concert for Bangladesh in support of devastating supported by some of the biggest figures in music. He was a creative artist composing music for films, and much more.This legend who performed on stage at various festivals like Monterey pop festival in his early played at all the major global music halls. My memory of him before my Interview was when he said "order the caviar for supper" to one one of his assistants. A true legend who leaves behind Anoushka and Nina.May he rest in peace.

13th November

Diwali Day brings Golden Mile alive

THOUSANDS of visitors are expected to flock to Belgrave tomorrow for the biggest Diwali Day celebrations outside of the Indian subcontinent. Leicester's Golden Mile will take centre stage for the huge celebrations which take place on Cossington Street Recreation Ground on Tuesday, November 13.

This year's events include a spectacular programme of colourful stage entertainment featuring Indian and Bollywood dancers from 6.45 pm, with a breathtaking firework display from 8.30 pm to 8.50 pm. The celebrations are the second major part of the city's Diwali programme, which began with the Diwali Lights switch-on on Sunday, November 4th. More than 35,000 people turned out for that event, which also included a spectacular stage show of live cultural entertainment and the illumination of thousands of lights along the Golden Mile.

Leicester's Diwali celebrations are run by Leicester City Council and the Leicester Hindu Festival Council, and are sponsored by O2.

The sights and sounds of Leicester's spectacular Diwali Day celebrations involved Illuminations along the Golden Mile comprise 1,000 metres of garland and over 6,000 lamps.

[Source Leicester City Council]

28th October

Celebrate Diwali with Curve

This November, Curve is thrilled to be staging the Diwali Hangama, a colourful one-night variety extravaganza for all the family on 17 November. The event - the culmination of four days of activity celebrating Diwali - features special guests Signature alongside talented performers from the Leicester region and members of the local community.

artists on Britains got talent

It will be presented in collaboration with Sabras Radio. Signature comprises top Michael Jackson dance artist Suleman Mirza and dynamic Bhangra performer Madhu Singh. Former finalists of Britain's Got Talent, their unique fusion of Indian dance and the music of Michael Jackson combine to create an exhilarating performance that promises to take Leicester by storm.

They will be joined by the Bollywood Groove Orchestra, Leicester-based community dance organisation Nupur Arts and stand up Ishi Khan-Jackson. Sabras Radio is regarded by many in the industry as the pioneer of Asian radio in the UK. Sabras presents a carefully balanced programming schedule incorporating appropriate music, languages and speech content to reflect and blend all the demands of today's British Asian audience.

The station covers a wide range of activities including many significant outside broadcasts for important religious and cultural events such as Diwali, Ramadan and Vaisakhi. Sabras Radio can be picked up on 1260 AM, DAB and online. During Diwali, Curve will be buzzing with free events and performances, to bring the celebrations to life. Activities will include exhibitions, dance workshops, Q&A sessions, a special menu in the Curve cafe and Anokhi Sarees How To Wear A Sari workshop, back by popular demand on 16 November. Further events will be confirmed shortly and details can be found at

18th October

A GIANT effigy of a Hindu deity will be set alight in Leicester as part of celebrations for the religious festival of Dashera.

The huge effigy of King Ravana will be torched as the highlight of Dashera celebrations taking place at Cossington Street Recreation ground, Belgrave, on Wednesday 24 October, from 6.30pm until 8pm. The festival of Dashera celebrates the Hindu story of the battle between Lord Rama and King Ravana, and the victory of good over evil. The celebrations will also include children's funfair rides, a cultural programme on stage and will end with a dramatic firework display.

Darbar Festival 2012. Indian Vibes 2012

The Darbar Festival is alive and kicking. Its roots are steadfast in the city bringing a catalogue of musicians we rarely hear from the North or South India ."There is a lot of talent in India which we haven't we tapped into as yet" said Sandeep Virdee, Creative Director of the Darbar Festival which has established itself over the years in respect of the late Gurmeet Singh Virdee, a poignant figure within the classical music industry in the city and worldwide.

Manjiri Asnare-Kelkar is a new phenomena when it comes to Indian classical vocal singing. 26 years old, she has already made a mark on a very steep ladder towards fame. Yet Curve barely had seventy people in the audience but it was the quality of music and singing styles, that of a combination of Jaipur and Gwailor made famous by her guru, Gangdahvara that made this concert.

Manjiri kicked off her one hour forty minute concert with Raag Shavan later interspersed with Raags Taal and Taran. "I enjoy this aspect of music, it is a challenge ", she said during a brief interview. If there was a thank you then it had to be Raag Sohana when she ended the second half by her Guru Pandit Gaudariva, beautifully executed and enjoyed by the audience. Whilst the quality of her voice was complimented by the accompanying artists two really stood out for me. Tabla player Viashwa Nath Siriodkhar and Mulad Ali on Sarangi, well what a night to end on with a new generation of musicians, many home grown and others from India.

The Darbar Music ... Indian Vibes has another exciting event called Milun, on the 26 october.

NAAC in association with The Asian Arts Agency Bristol and The Curve are co-promoting Red Baraat in Concert

on 6 September 2012, at The Curve, Leicester

Please quote NAAC for a special £8.00 discounted rate.

The nine piece band led by Dhol drummer Sunny Jain consists of dhol, drums, percussion, a sousaphone and a five piece horn section. The band fuse the infectious North Indian rhythms of bhangra with funk, jazz, Latin and go-go and their sound is big, brassy and full of energy. Their electric live performances have caused a stir across the US, rocking audiences in basements and warehouses as well as prestigious venues such as New York's Lincoln Centre, Washington's The Kennedy Centre, Chicago World Music Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival and even the White House.

There is an exciting show coming to the Curve and it takes place on the 6th September. Red Baraat hail from Brooklyn, New York. If you like infectious rythmic sounds, they promise to blow you away with their rich mix of multi ethnic sounds. Here is what the American VILLAGE VOICE had to say about them 'Their debut CD chaal baby is an unstoppable blend of Bollywood hijacks and fiery blend of raucous Indian bhangra and funky New Orleans brass.'

The nine piece was formed in 2008 by Sunny Jain, an award winning Dhol player. He made his professional debut as a Dhol drummer in the first Indian Broadway show Bollywood Dreams and later played with the fames Sufi - rock band Junoon at the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo recording open your eyes alongside Peter Gabriel.

Red Baraat fuse the North Indian rythms of bhangra, funk,jazz, latin and go-go and have performed at major world festivals including the Montreal Jazz Festival and at the White House. Red Baraa's tour is part of the 12 week London 2012 festival which runs till the final day of the Paralympics bringing together a host of musical acts, dance, theatre, visual arts and fashion from across the world in celebration of both the olympics and paralympics.

The band lead by Sunny Jain on the Dholl also features Robin Khemani (Percussion), Tomas Fujimara (Drums), Alex Hamlin (Alto Sax), Mike Bomwell (Baritone Sax) ,Sonny Singh (Trumpet/vocals), Mi Wi La Lupa (Bass trumpet/vocals), Ernest Stuart (Trombone) and John Alitieri (Sousaphone/rap). Jaswinder Singh, Project Director with the Asian Arts Agency said "We are really excited to be welcoming Red Baraat for their first UK tour. "

For ticket information contact The Curve Box Office 0116 242 3595.

25th July

Raghu Dixit in Leicester

singer raghu dixit
Photo © Harjinder Ohbi

The internationally renowned Indian singer Raghu Dixit returned to Leicester tonight, with his band The Raghu Dixit Project, for a concert at The Donkey. Read our review.

Dance events

SATURDAY 6 OCTOBER 7.30pm BALLARE: TO DANCE Peepul Centre. A colourful sound world of classical music scores with strong world music flavours, which connect with international dance traditions with new works devised by Philip Herbert, one of UK's finest Black classical composers to celebrate the forthcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games. Tickets £12, £10

Find out about dance events from our Dance news page.

Raghu Dixit

singer raghu dixit

The internationally renowned singer performed in Leicester with his band. Harjinder Ohbi reports.

Salim-Sulaiman concert

They are the infamous Merchant brothers from India who have taken the music world by storm and continue to be in great demand by the Bollywood industry.

Whilst Salim went on to achieve his Masters degree (on the piano) at the Trinity College of Music, London, Sulaiman took tabla training under the tutelege of Taufiq Qureshi and Ustad Zakir Hussain.

Salim-Sulaiman have composed music for movies like Chak De! India, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and Fashion. The duo have also worked on a Bollywood remix of Lady Gaga's Born This Way and Judas.

Their first break, thanks to Director Karan Johar, led them to compose music for his movie Kaal. The brothers have composed for several indi-pop performers, including Viva, Aasmaan, Shewta Shetty amongst others, including TV commercials, whilst also collaborating with the likes of Ustad Zakir Hussain and Ustad Sultan Khan. They have worked alongside well known movie producers and directors like Yash Chopra, Subash Ghai and Ram Gopal Varma.

The brothers collaborated with South African singer Loyiso Bala and Kenyan singer, songwriter Eric Wainaina to the anthem for the 2010 FIFA world cup called Africa - You're A Star.

The two brothers will perform at the De Montfort Hall on Saturday 14 th July.

For ticket bookings call the De Montfort Hall booking office on 0116 233 3111 or the following outlets - Radia's Superstore on 0116 2669 409 and Duka Ya Tambu on 0116 266 1062 or Bhavesh Jani (NAAC) on 07792 247 331.

More information

Raghu Dixit is back in Leicester - riding on the Donkey - 25th July

By Harjinder Ohbi

raghu dixit in stage

The Raghu Dixit Project first made an impact on the city audiences during their debut performance at The Donkey pub two years ago.

Such was the demand to see them again that they were invited to perform at The Musician stage during the Summer Sundae Festival last year.

They return to The Donkey Pub this month after a hectic tour of major festivals around the country.

So who are they? The Raghu Dixit Project hail from Bangalore and are considered to be one of the finest folk rock bands to come out of India. Their debut album, Raghu Dixit recieved rave reviews and was an instant hit with the British audiences after performing at the Jools Holland Show on BBC 2.

"We make Folk rock" Raghu said. This highly energetic band have won several awards including Best Newcomer at the Songlines Music Awards 2011. Raghu remains on the frontline wearing several hats as singer and songwriter, composer and producer.

His imaginative approach to music exploring several Indian languages can be sensed within the different songs from the Raghu Dixit Project CD, from Mysore , Gudugudiya to I'm in Mumbai.

They are emotive, romantic and explore different aspects of the many regions of India and its languages and lifestyles whilst adding flavour with a mix of jazz, blues, rock and a hint of traditional folk and classical music.

Raghu is a self taught musician but a trained Bharatnatyam dancer and also a Microbioligist. He is in great demand, writing numerous scores for the Kannada film industry in Bangalore, with a great sense of humour to go with it.

raghu dixit band at summer sundae

When I interviewed him for the Leicester Mercury two years ago, Raghu said "We didn't have access to the radio in our house so we couldn't listen to Western music ('tiIl I was at college) and it played a major part in my musical development.

"Music, to me, is like an orgasm. I enjoy challenges. My first one was to pick a guitar at college because a friend would carry one pretending to be a big star and ended up being a priest.

" I realised I could play and write through memory but the biggest challenge was a concert that was to take place on the the day my father passed away. My mother insisted I go. It was the hardest moment but has changed my life for the better" Raghu told me , during our late night conversation and had me in stitches of laughter saying how his mischievious behaviour landed him into bharatnatyam training.

"I was taking the micky out of a female family member. My father caught me and I was sent for South Indian classical Bharatnatyam training the next day.

"As I travel along I take on board people whom i enjoy listening to and play with. It is a fluid platform for me and that is the beauty of music."

That beauty reflects in the band's live concerts. During my review for the Leicester Mercury that year, I wrote 'Barefoot and clad in colourful sarongs, the band opened with Hey Bhaghwan (Hey God). They jumped up and down as did many in the audience and despite a hoarse voice had the whole audience joining in the chorus for HAR SANS ME. As regards the audience, it doesn't matter what colour, creed, or religion they are from but when you see them dancing, now that's a wow factor for me and everything falls into place.

"Then I believe I have achieved something." Raghu concluded. A show that will have you off your feet all night long!. The Raghu Dixit Project release their second CD (double) HEY BHAGWAN on the 25th July and will be appearing at The Donkey pub, Welford Road. Support comes from BY THE RIVERS, one of Leicester's top reggae bands.

For details of the show see The Donkey's web site.

See our review of Raghu Dixit in Leicester last year

The Mela

The Leicester Belgrave Mela takes place on Sunday (15th July) between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. in the city centre. ArtsIn will be present and our report will appear on our feature article Mela 2012.

Guru comes to Leicester

See our reviews page for our piece about Ustad Dharambir Singh

30th June

Leicester Dance Group to Represent East Midlands at National Big Dance Launch Festival

Big Dance 2012 has specifically chosen Nupur Arts Dance Academy out of many groups to represent the East Midlands on the 5th July 2012 at St. Pancras International to launch their Big Dance Week.

Big Dance 2012 is a part of the London 2012 Festival the finale of the Cultural Olympiad. It is set to be the world's ultimate dance experience. Nupur Arts had been nominated by Dance4 following a performance at Mass Movement this year.

The dance piece which is choreographed by Dimple Chauhan is a fusion of Bharata Natyam and Bollywood. The judging panel expressed it to be "quite outstanding and really does demonstrate the diversity of our work and the whole Big Dance programme."

The announcement comes on the back of current participation in the inspiring on-street welcome processions called Follow The Light The Olympic Torch Relays at Skegness, Lincoln, Nottingham Derby, Leicester and Loughborough.

Nupur Arts is primarily an Asian Arts Organisation which specialises in the promotion, development and sustainability of creative South Asian Dance. Our main aim is to regenerate, renew, train and sustain young dance artists from British based Asian Communities, as well as to involve a broad range of people from all backgrounds.

Watch this video of the Follow The Light Parade

Bhooli Bisri Yaadein ...

booli bisri yaadein

Friday 6th July is a date for your diary for this must see show. Taking place at The Jungle Club, Checketts Road, Leicester, tickets are on sale now at £7.50 per head.

The show is presented by Raga Events.


English Kathac dance performers
Photo © CICD

Karman is a touring heritage exhibition and book celebrating forty years of Indian dance in Leicester. Over the past 18 months, the Centre for Indian Classical Dance (CICD) has been working with twenty-five volunteers, who recorded over fifty oral history interviews and helped create the exhibition and accompanying book.

The project was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and celebrates the past, present and future of Indian dance in Leicester. It also highlights cultural and artistic changes in the UK and examines the impact of Indian dance on British culture.

Specially commissioned interviews and images from the CICD's private photographic collection are woven throughout the exhibition and book, spanning 30 years.

"It's a fantastic exhibition for everyone to enjoy, regardless of background or age and it isn't your ordinary exhibition - we've been very creative and presented it in a very engaging way."

Karman was curated to introduce and educate a wide audience to the history of Indian dance, through the eyes of local people living and working in Leicester.

"It exhibits the roots of Indian dance and music through the eyes of early pioneers, professional dancers, musicians, members of the community and art lovers", Nilima Devi, Artistic Director of the CICD told us.

The exhibition is free and will tour public venues from June to November 2012. Officially launched on Thursday 14th June 2012 at the LCB Depot it will also form part of the Indian Summer Festival.

The Centre for Indian Classical Dance web site

Two Indian festivals you will not want to miss

The Indian Summer returns this year on 16th to 17th June

15th July is the date set for the 2012 Leicester Belgrave Mela

Karman reveals story behind dance centre

The Centre for Classical Indian Dance has played a key role in the development of dance and dancers, as Harjinder Ohbi finds out in his review of the work of the CICD.

Black and White 27th May

Black and White is set to take many a generation from the old to the new, through a journey. A journey that encapsulates the golden era of Hindi cinema. It attempts to energise the youth of today, to both enjoy and respect an historic landmark in the film industry.

The film was kick started in Calcutta, which finally moved to Mumbai, and became the ever lasting Bollywood, as we know it today. It is a concept that originated and was directed by Milind Oak almost four years ago, with a successful run globally to date.

There were no televisions or videos in those days, just the cinema theatres and in India, the movies would be shown in little villages by mobile film companies, showcasing the movies on large screens.

I was drawn into the magic of the drive-in cinema, in my early teens, and what a buzz one would from watching your heroes and heroines on the silver screen, whilst sharing popcorn with your kin.

Milind says "Black and White is a story of an era of two colours. It travels through the life of cinema from 1945 to 1968.

"It features iconic figures of the time - the likes of K.L.Saigal, the singer and actor - acknowledged as the first superstar in the Hindi Film Industry and the first non-Bengali to be given permission to sing the great poet Rabindranath Tagore's songs. "

The late Dev Anand, left a legacy as an actor, director, producer and writer .Some of his films include Vidya and Bombay Talkies (to name a few.)

Actor Dilip Kumar was known as the 'Tragedy King' during his era, described by director Satyajit Ray as the "ultimate method actor". Then there was the late Shammi Kapoor. The heroines of the day were a powerful force on the silver screen with the likes of Meena Kumari and Madhubala and many more. Each as beautiful as the other yet retaining their own identities whilst bringing a freshness to any emotive part

Black and White is a collage of performances on the screen and stage, aided by mega audio-visuals where the performers blend with the celluloid, making the music come alive on stage.

The presentation format is reminiscent of a stage musical where the singers 'act' the characters, touching the finer aspects of the era through the medium of music, pictures and movie clips.

"It is an attempt to to give a three dimensional aspect to the celluloid screen, restore links with our past, get nostalgic and go back to our roots ... to those moments we all want to relive". Milind said.

This monumental presentation will be anchored by Rahul Solapurkar, whilst some of the finest young breed of bollywood playback singers, the likes of Hrishikesh, Ranade, Priyanka Barve, Jitendra Abhyankar and Swapna Lele will perform and enlighten the audiences, bringing forth memories buried away for years!.

The event takes place at the Peepul Centre, Orchardson Road in Belgrave on Sunday 27th May 2012.

The Matinee show starts at 3 pm prompt.  Tickets: £15.00 reserved seats and £10.00 (all round) on a first come first seat basis. The evening show starts at 7 pm prompt at the same venue. Tickets £10.00, £12.50 and £15.00.

Numbered seats. For ticket sales and group bookings contact the following Vasant Bhakta, Mr B., 07860 280 655 (event organiser) or the following outlets - Radias Superstore, 01162 2669409, Duka Ya Tambu 01162 661 062, Alpa Suchak 07814 616 807 or Bhavesh Jani (N.A.A.C) 07792 247 331.  

Ekatva 21st June

children dancing in the ekatva story

The Ektava Tour - Oneness - tells the story of a journey of 16 children from the slums of Ahmedabad, which the Times of India called "A special story of transformation". Inspired by the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, the show is an experiment to unlock the potential of 16 underpriviliged children, through dance, drama and music. It has already touched the lives of thousands of people around the world and now it can touch yours.

The Ekatva Journey can be seen at The Peepul Centre on Thursday 21st June, at 7.30 p.m. Adult £7, under 12 £2. Box Office 0116 261 6000

Find out more on the Ekatva web site | The Peepul Centre web site

Johny Lever

Harjinder Ohbi talks to Jonny Lever and looks at his forthcoming appearance at he DeMontfort Hall.

See Harjinder Ohbi's review of Jonny Lever at the De Montfort Hall.

soumik datta musician
Soumik Datta

Darbar comes to Curve, see details of events coming to Curve soon

Our guide to Asian arts and music on our magazine

See our feature article and interview with Asian photographer Pablo Bartholomew

The making of Jadoo the movie

Karan Pangali presents The Dance of Bollywood

Ragu Dixit in Leicester

Niladri Kumar and Talvin Singh

South Asian Film Festival

Indian Summer at the Phoenix 2011

Diwali 2011

The Mela 2011

Akram Khan at Curve 2011

Asian and Indian artists


A Mumbai based performer, singer, music composer and concert pianist. He is appearing at the DeMontFort Hall on 22nd April 2012 - see more details on this.

Adnan Sami on Facebook | Find out more about Adnan Sami on Wikipedia

Harshdeep Kaur

Harshdeep is an Indian singer known for her Sufi songs. She started to learn music at the age of six at joined the Delhi School of Music to learn piano when she was twelve.

Harshdeep Kaur on Facebook | Find out more about Harshdeep Kaur on Wikipedia

More to follow

Kailash Kher at the DeMontfort Hall.

kailash kher
Photo © Harjinder Ohbi

Read our review of the Sufi music show

4th Apirl

indian dancers
Photo © Harjinder Ohbi

The Darbar Music festival

Harjinder Ohbi reports:

The late Gurmeet Singh Virdee was an iconic figure much respected by city people. I was very fortunate to have known him as a child in Nairobi, Kenya. He was my next door neighbour, but when you met this tall, young, bearded man with a turban, you went home smiling, as he always had a joke to share with you despite your age.

It wasn't till I came to Leicester in the late 60s that I bumped into him at Jacobs, the photographic shop in Granby Street - a turning point for me and a relationship that lasted over 20 years.

Gurmeet Singh was a distinguished tabla player performing at the Sikh Gurdwaras (temples) and making a name for himself within the wider International music world. He was also a music teacher of some repute, one of several who taught at the Leicestershire Arts in Education (formerly known as the Leicestershire school of music) at the Knighton Fields school.

That respect paid off when he passed away, almost a decade ago, when many great artists from across the Indian classical music field came to bid him goodbye. His older son - Sandeep - was to mastermind a music festival in his father's honour.

The Darbar Music festival was born. Both Gurmeet and I shared a passion for Nikon cameras, him for his music and his incredible wildlife photos taken in Kenya and religious places, whilst mine were just emerging as a new freelance photo/journalist. He had a great impact on me and taught me much on indian classical music and photography, as did the people from Shruti Arts, Belgrave Road.

There have been many great Indian artistes who have performed at sell out concerts during the South Indian Darbar music festival which takes place in April annually at various venues within the city. This year it will be the Curve and expect the unexpected over a four month period.

For more information see the Darbar Festival web site

28th March

Sandeep Raval in Rhythm is the Soul of Music

Curve, 1st April

Harjinder Ohbi reports

sabdeep raval

Sandeep Raval has etched a career as a formidable percussionist and composer, on an international scale, far away from India. His performance last year at Curve was a sell out.

He has the ability to mix all genres of music from Indian classical to blues, drum and bass and jazz, whilst creating foot tapping music using electronic drum machines strapped across his chest.

"I love global sounds. World music is not just simply combining instruments, in my view , but it is the emotional response to culture and musical genres and arts reflect that", Sandeep said.

His humble beginnings in South India were to lead him to look at life from a different perspective when learning to play the tablas (indian drums.)

"My guru was a very spiritual person. The teaching and sharing of knowledge is a very spiritual thing and a true guru rewards his disciple's progress. In my case, he would pay me ten rupees instead of charging me a fee because I had accomplished what was asked of me. For my guru, I was like a son to him, " he said.

The likes of Zakir Hussain, John McLaughlin and Trilok Gurtu have opened the doors to fusion music.

"For me they are legends. They are musicians' musicians and have inspired us. I had the privilege of sharing the stage with the world renowned percussionist Trilok Gurtu at the Royal Albert Hall, London", said Sandeep.

He has toured the world and encompasses the different styles within his music. "Any country or culture has different emotions attached to them which reflects in their music. I feel that and find what element within that I have in common - like, for instance, I was in East Africa recently and composed music combing East African music and Indian folk. Music is always hard to define. For me, I would say, my first album Mosaic in motion was a combination of diverse elements forming more or less a coherent whole. It featured Jazz, Indian and Arabesque music. This is where integration into different societies and cultures form a natural evolution . Let's say in Indian classical music, as described in the Sarangaveda Sangita Ratnakara (holy scribes), and all four Matas (mothers) Hanument, Bharat Mant, Krishna Mat and Shiv Mat.

"A clear example of this is just playing a Raga doesn't mean you are actually playing a Raga. Raga is a mood and until you establish the mood. It's not a raga and with this understanding, what I learn from my guru we don't make any rag and we call it Awara - a musician looking for a destiny wherever his music will take him", Sandeep told me.

He loves percussion - "Whenever I can get my hands on any good sounding percussive instruments, that will get me in the mood, I'll experiment with them. I love playing the swiss made vHang drum and Zen and expect a few surprises on the 1st April", Sandeep said.

Sandeep will be accompanied by Richard Outwaite (Saxophone), Heath Randal (bass), Jacob Stoney (keyboard/guitar), Ricardo Bonito(drums), Robin Christian (Flute) and Kristel Morrison (vocals).

Sandeep has brought out two CDs to date, the Meditation through Sound and Mosaic in Motion. He is currently working alongside James Asher, a world music producer on a dance album Rhythm is the soul of music to be released later this year.

See our review of this event

Information about show organisers and promoters

Raga Events

The Peepul Centre

Asian Music Circuit


Other pages you might like:

Our commitment to diversity

Our section on African and Caribbean Arts

Find dates for Asian and Indian arts on our events page


promote your event on arts in leicestershire web site

Support Arts in Leicester: advertise on this web site at incredibly low rates

Find out about
advertising here