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MUSICIANS FROM THE UK AND SOUTH ASIA UNITE AT SOUTHBANK CENTRE’S ALCHEMY FESTIVAL
Friday 20 – Monday 30 May 2016
Pakistan’s most provocative rock group LAAL joins British supergroup ASIAN DUB FOUNDATION for a politicallycharged evening
Tabla maestro ZAKIR HUSSAIN teams up with BBC CONCERT ORCHESTRA for
the UK premiere of his original concerto Peshkar
Bollywood film music stars take to the stage, including famed trio SHANKAREHSAANLOY, and legendary playback singer DR K J YESUDAS,
who returns to Southbank Centre after 20 years
Also performing: FILTER COFFEE, SHAPLA SILIQUE, SHAANTI, DR SHARMA RAHMAN and SARAH SARHANDI. There will also be a live broadcast from BBC
ASIAN NETWORK’S SHAIKH DEBATES, presented by MIM SHAIKH Alchemy, the biggest celebration of South Asian culture outside the subcontinent, returns to Southbank Centre for a seventh year (2030 May 2016). The festival sees artists, performers and contributors from the UK and South Asia come together to showcase the best of dance, music, theatre, design, fashion, comedy and literature. This year’s festival features exciting musical collaborations and brand new work from both emerging and legendary artists. From rock to classical, and plenty in between, the 14 concerts will include a number of free performances. Highlights of the 2016 programme:
Tabla master Zakir Hussain makes a welcome return to Alchemy for the UK premiere of his new tabla concerto Peshkar (commissioned by India’s National Centre of Performing Arts), playing alongside the BBC Concert Orchestra (20 May) and leads a mass tabla workshop on The Clore Ballroom (21 May);
Pakistan’s foremost politicallyactive music group Laal joins forces for the first time with homegrown music collective Asian Dub Foundation, bringing together their fiery mix of music and social activism for a poignant peace concert (27 May);
K J Yesudas, the multiaward winning, multilingual eminent Tamil singer, returns to Southbank Centre 20 years after his debut to present some of his most loved film music (21 May);
Famed Indian musical trio Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy make their Royal Festival Hall debut with a special oneoff performance. The three stars are accompanied by an ensemble of top musicians and vocalists from India, and the evening also includes a special segment called Next Generation which showcases new talents. (28 May);
BBC Asian Network presents the first outside broadcast of weekly panel show Shaikh Debates, hosted by awardwinning young BBC Asian Network and BBC Radio 1Xtra presenter Mim Shaikh (29 May), and gems from the BBC’s archive are displayed in Royal Festival Hall’s Archive Studio throughout Alchemy.
Other artists performing at Alchemy include Mumbaibased duo Filter Coffee (20 May); British Bangladeshi singersongwriter Shapla Silique (21 May); We Are 2nd Generation!, a latenight gig championing twenty years of the best of BritishAsian club culture from iconic club music promoters Shaanti (28 May); awardwinning sitarist, composer and singer, Dr Shama Rahman performing Truth BeTold, a theatrical Sitar Cabaret Libretto (24 May); a night of live and electronic music from India’s alternative music scene, curated by Delhibased culture magazine Wild City (29 May) and Sarah Sarhandi whose viola playing draws on her British and Pakistani heritage to create an exhilarating performance (27 May).
In a special South Asian themed edition of our Leaps and Bounds series, families can join in with a fun, interactive afternoon which introduces them to the region’s dance and music. Leaps and Bounds is Southbank Centre’s series of inclusive events specially designed for disabled children aged 12 and under, their families and friends – however, everyone is welcome (21 May).
# ENDS # Southbank Centre’s Alchemy Partners Alchemy Principal Partner is Asian Media & Marketing Group (AMG). Alchemy Programming Partners for 2016 include BBC Asian Network and The British Council. For further information and interview requests please contact the Southbank Centre Press Office: Naomi Burgoyne: [email protected] / 0207 921 0824 Heather Carswell, [email protected] / 0207 921 0753
NOTES FOR EDITORS About Alchemy Southbank Centre’s Alchemy festival celebrates the cultural connections between South Asia and the UK. The festival returns for a seventh year (2030 May 2016), exploring the region’s art, artists, politics and society as a whole. Over the last six years, Alchemy has grown to become the largest festival of South Asian culture outside the subcontinent. A full list of Alchemy events is available here and at www.southbankcentre.co.uk/alchemy.
Press Images can be found here. Follow the conversation on #AlchemySC About Southbank Centre Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, occupying a 21acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Southbank Centre is home to the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and the Hayward Gallery as well as The Saison Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection. For further information please visit www.southbankcentre.co.uk. Southbank Centre is carrying out vital restoration work on the Hayward Gallery, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room to make the buildings fit for future generations to enjoy, more information can be found here: letthelightin.southbankcentre.co.uk. FULL MUSIC PROGRAMME FRIDAY LUNCH WITH FILTER COFFEE Friday 20 May, 1.15pm2.00pm, Central Bar, Free The Mumbaibased duo FILTER COFFEE makes its debut appearance at the Southbank Centre as part of Alchemy. They present Indian classical music and folk tunes from across India, with an electronic twist. Flautist Shriram Sampath is an Indian Classical flautist with a penchant for experimenting with a variety of flutes and using electronic pedals and processors in live performance. Percussionist Swarupa Ananth has been playing the tabla for over 20 years along with a whole gamut of percussion instruments. Swarupa is responsible for creating the hypnotic grooves and is known for her own signature & inventive style of blending beats with fiery Tabla Bols. Together, they organically combine virtuosic improvisation with electronic soundscapes and hypnotic grooves; a unique sound that they call Ethnotronic Ethnic and Electronic. Presented by EarthSync, a music production house, awardwinning documentary film producer, and a global, crosscultural artistic collaborator. FRIDAY TONIC WITH SHAPLA SALIQUE Friday 20 May, 5.45pm6.45pm, Foyer Spaces, Free Shapla Salique is a British Bangladeshi singer/songwriter. She sings in Bengali, Hindi and English. Shapla is a versatile and dynamic singer whose musical styles include Lalon/folk, traditional Bengali songs, fused with Jazz and Soul. From childhood, she was guided by her father Abdus Salique before progressing to a solo career, making appearances at the Royal Albert Hall, Barbican, Hammersmith Apollo, Royal Ascot and a number of other prestigious venues. In 1996 Shapla’s first mainstream Bengali song ‘Ziola’ was released in the UK under the music label ‘Journeys by DJ’ and remixed by Judge Jules for his album ‘Dance Wars. ‘Ziola’ was followed by two diverse but equally well received solo albums: ‘Siyono na Siyona’ (1997), a pop oriented Bengali album, and the Hindi pop album ‘Lai Lai’ (2002), produced and composed by Bappi Lahiri. ZAKIR HUSSAIN: PESHKAR & BBC CONCERT ORCHESTRA In association with Serious Friday 20 May, 7.30pm, Royal Festival Hall, £35, £25, £20, £15 Leading tabla player Zakir Hussain transcends genres. Steeped in the Indian classical tradition, he explores musical fusion in a longstanding collaboration with John McLaughlin. At his Pulse of the World: Celtic Connections tour he brought together Indian classical music and Celtic musical heritage. Peshkar is an original concerto combining tabla improvisation and the melodic framework of Western classical music. At its premiere in 2015 it was described as 'simply sublime a onceinalifetime experience.' Peshkar is a Symphony Orchestra of India, NCPA Mumbai Commission.
'When we go out on stage, we speak to each other the language of music... From the musician's point of view, music is music. If I am going to sit and play only a particular kind of music, I am limiting myself as a creative artist. I must have the full gamut to play with.' (Zakir Hussain, 2015)
TABLA TAKEOVER Saturday 21 May, 13pm, The Clore Ballroom, Free Virtuoso Percussionist Zakir Hussain leads a mass Tabla Jam layered with music for all ability levels to join in with. Bring along your Tabla and enthusiasm, and join our specially invited groups as part of this rhythmic masterclass workshop and performance in Alchemy 2016. LEAPS AND BOUNDS Saturday 21 May, 24pm, Level 4 Blue Bar, Free A special edition of our Leaps and Bounds series as part of Alchemy. A family fun afternoon introducing you to South Asian dance and music and an opportunity to dance and make music with your family in a relaxed and creative atmosphere. Leaps and Bounds is Southbank Centre’s series of inclusive events specially designed for disabled children aged 12 and under, their families and friends – however, everyone is welcome. K J YESUDAS Saturday 21 May, 5pm, Royal Festival Hall K J Yesudas, the multilingual, multi awardwinning musical legend, has been performing for over five decades, recorded more than 70,000 songs, won 7 National awards for best male playback singer, 5 film awards and 43 state awards. After a long absence in London, K J Yesudas returns to Southbank Centre twenty years after he made his debut at the venue for a very special performance — a one off chance to experience his all time favorite film songs live with famous female singers and music troupe. Presented by Darbar. DR SHAMA RAHMAN’S TRUTH BETOLD A live album performance Tuesday 24 May, 67pm, The Clore Ballroom Awardwinning sitarist, composer and singer, Dr Shama Rahman weaves stories that start life as poems and take flight as songs. Truth BeTold is a theatrical Sitar Cabaret Libretto showcasing her unique multidisciplinary approach to storytelling across music, theatre, visual arts and science. Her bilingual lyrics reflect London: Bengali’s poeticism has a sensual emotionality whilst English Aristotelian storytelling emphasises the chronology of actions, melding together for a bewitching experience. FRIDAY LUNCH: SARAH SARHANDI Friday 27 May, 12pm, Level 2 Central Bar, Free Sarah Sarhandi's viola weaves its way through Karachi and London, complex and teeming cities that are her inheritance, spiralling onwards into the turbulent global millennium flow we inhabit. Her individual story, combining British and Pakistani heritage and the experiences, stories, imaginings and impressions she has collected are expressed through music, dance and visuals. At times the worlds meet seamlessly, at other times conflict a dance between polarities, artists, masculine and feminine, dream and reality, light and dark, countries and cultures a new and exhilarating energy. Sarah is joined by other musicians, dancers and artists who collaborate with her to create a multilayered performance for Alchemy. Shei is supported by the Geraldine Connor Foundation, The ZVM Rangoonwala Foundation and The British Pakistan Foundation. LAAL & ASIAN DUB FOUNDATION Friday 27 May, 7.30pm, Royal Festival Hall, £22, £17, £10 Laal and Asian Dub Foundation perform together for the first time at Royal Festival Hall. Asian Dub Foundation grew from an East London music collective, a multicultural British crew that has become
one of the world’s most musically inventive and exciting live bands. Combining their trademark fusion of electronic beats, reggae, bhangra, punk rock and hiphop, an Asian Dub Foundation performance is really something to behold. Laal is one of the most popular and political bands in Pakistan, with an incredible repertoire incorporating rock, electronica, dance and folk. Many of their songs are based on the work of the great Urdu poets Habib Jalib and Faiz Ahmed Faiz, from the 1930s South Asia's progressive writers' movement. Laal has also been at the forefront of Pakistan's human rights activism, leading campaigns on minority rights, gender equality and child labour, standing against sectarian violence and political corruption. Presented by Southbank Centre in partnership with Samosa Media. SALT ARTS LIVE Friday 27 May, 10.30pm1am, Level 2 Central Bar Karachi based Producers, Salt Arts, present a night of contemporary Pakistani culture, showcasing great emerging talent (special guest tbc) SHANTI PRESENTS WE ARE 2ND GENERATION Saturday 28 May, 710pm, Terrace at Royal Festival Hall, Free Championing 20 Years of the best of BritishAsian club culture. After the daytime Bhangra gigs’ explosion, during the 90’s, a brand new generation of promoters led the way and shifted the balance of power in music. Promoters Sharnita K Athwal and Manga from Shaanti, Mitsy Hustle from Hustlers Convention and HBomb were some of many instigators and innovators of the scene, hosting some of the biggest raves in club history at London’s Wag Club, Hanover Grand, Ministry of Sound and monthly underground warehouse parties across eleven consecutive years at The Medicine Bar in Birmingham, Cargo in London and oneoff specials in Club Fabric. As part of Alchemy festival 2016 they reunite to present We Are 2nd Generation. Whether you're into 90’s ragga, hip hop, rare groove and R&B, or fancy a bit of drumandbass and Eastern breaks with Indian instruments, Shaanti will take you back in time to celebrate a legacy that deserves to have its volume pumped up and celebrate the original pioneers that did it first. Plus live Dhol Players, a digital heritage exhibition celebrating 90s British Asian clubculture, free online mixes & special guests TBA. SHANKAREHSAANLOY Produced by Rock On Music in association with Alchemy Saturday 28 May, 7.15pm, Royal Festival Hall, £150, £125, £100, £75, £65, £55, £10 Don't miss the Alchemy debut of India's multitalented trio Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy, who perform for one night only at Royal Festival Hall. The trio's members are composers, record producers, musicians and multiinstrumentalists. Between them, they have composed music for over 50 soundtracks across four languages and won more than 20 prizes, including a National Film award, three Filmfare awards and three IIFA Awards, among others. At this performance, Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy are accompanied by brilliant musicians and vocalists from India, and the evening includes a special segment for upandcoming talent, called Next Generation. BBC ASIAN NETWORK: MIM SHAIKH DEBATES Sunday May 29, 4.30pm6pm,Weston Roof Pavilion, Free BBC Asian Network presents the first outside broadcast of the weekly panel show Shaikh Debates hosted by awardwinning 23yearold BBC Asian Network and BBC Radio 1Xtra radio presenter Mim Shaikh. His show consists of an eclectic range of music as well as debate, focusing on monthly topics including music, fashion, film and culture. Presented in collaboration with Alchemy Programming Partners BBC Asian Network, this event offers audiences the rare opportunity to be part of the audience for Mim’s show, to be aired on BBC Asian Network the following Thursday. Also throughout Alchemy, footage and gems from the BBC’s archive are displayed in Royal Festival Hall’s Archive Studio.
SUNDAY SESSIONS: PART 2 Sunday 29 May, 6pm8pm, Riverside Terrace, Free A Sunday evening of free music.This special Sunday Session is in collaboration with Alchemy Programming Partners BBC Asian Network. Grab a cup of Chai and listen to the music.
WILD CITY Sunday 29 May, 9pm, The Clore Ballroom, £10
Delhibased culture magazine Wild City presents a night of live and electronic music, from the heart of India’s alternative scene. The line up includes psychedelic New Delhi rock band Peter Cat Recording Co and BLOT! India’s foremost underground electronic music and mixed media live act. Lifafa, aka Suryakant Sawhney, an Indian indie musician who sings only in Hindi and _RHL, aka Rahul Giri, an electronic music producer from Bangalore, will also be taking to the stage.