British Indian and Sarod Genius Soumik Datta Has An Incredible Day Planned For You! 

Indian Summer Baaja is a one-day festival part of the Horniman Museum’s Indian Summer season on July 23rd. It will see the Maestro put together a line-up of UK-based musicians, storytellers and dancers whose contemporary practice is deep-rooted in the musical traditions of South Asia.

The show will feature world music bestselling artist Shammi Pithia, celebrated percussionist Bernhard Schimpelsberger, tabla maestro Gurdain Singh Rayatt, violinist Preetha Narayanan and progressive six piece British-Bengali band Khiyo among other artists for a day-long festival of music, stories and dance that celebrates 70 years of India and UK cultural ties. The day will close with a dynamic two-hour tour de force gala of voices, drummers and strings led by Soumik on his signature instrument, the sarod.

Credits : The Wild City

The Horniman Museum and Garden’s Indian Summer is a series of incredible events and exhibitions from July 9th to September 3rd, 2017. The two month long program looks to celebrate the diversity of South Asian music from the traditional and classical influences to the electronic and urban. There will also be outdoor festivals, performances screenings, displays and crafts inspired by the region, and the Indian Summer will conclude with a spectacular Horniman Mela.

Indian Summer Baaja has been developed by Soumik Datta Arts which is a charity set up in 2013 by Soumik Datta to support new, collaborative musical projects and to assist young talent. Based in London, its trustees are Sir David Green (Chairman), Nihal Arthanayake, Simon Broughton, Rachael Dennis, Ferdy Lovett, Freddie Matthews, Tristan Neagle, Shrina Shah, Sam Toolan and Tana Wollen.  Check out their Facebook page here!

“I wanted to recreate the atmosphere of vibrant Indian festivals complete with nomad bands and folk musicians playing on street corners and city gardens,” says Soumik of his inspiration for the festival. “The word ‘baaja’ in Hindi roughly translates as ‘instrument’ or group of instruments. For me an instrument carries with it the DNA of where it has come from. In its sound, it carries the identity of its region. In its resonance lives its many stories. Responding to the incredible collection of instruments at the Horniman, I wanted to celebrate ancient South Asian instruments such as the sarodveenabansuri and kanjira that are now being played by young, dynamic second generation maestros in the UK with an urgency that keeps this music relevant and alive,” he added.

Soumik’s music has always managed to build bridges between the worlds of classical and contemporary music. He has previously collaborated and performed with big names in the industry like Beyonce, Jay-Z, Bill Bailey, Manu Delago, Akram Khan, Nitin Sawhney, Anoushka Shankar, Bernhard Schimpelsberger, Talvin Singh, Joss Stone, Shankar Mahadevan, just to name a few. 

A few weeks ago, Soumik played for two nights at the Shakespeare’s Globe as part of the theatre’s Festival of Independence, commemorating India’s 70 years since independence. He performed his 2014 commission, King of Ghosts – the rescore of Satyajit Ray’s 1960’s epic Goopy Gayne Bagha Gyne –  There, he was joined by Mercury Prize winner and special guest table maestro Talvin Singh OBE.​

Tim Corum, director of curatorial and public engagement says, “Soumik has created a stunning programme for the Horniman. The festival is inspired by our world musical instrument collections and brings together the rich traditions of South Asian music with some of the most exciting UK-based artists. Our summer festivals are always a great day out, the Summer Baaja will be a great spectacle for all to enjoy, a wonderful introduction to Indian music and a chance to see some of the UK’s most exciting performers in the unique and beautiful setting of the Horniman.”

The program starts at noon and will go on till 9 pm, performances begin at 1 pm. You can’t afford to miss this! 

You can find more information on Indian Summer season and Indian Summer Baaja here.

Horniman Museum’s Facebook Page  can be found here.

Check out their event page here!