Lewis hosts Asian festival

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Purvai 2018 gets under way this August with a whole host of internationally acclaimed artists, including Deepa Nair Rasiya,Gupreet Singh Notta, Kaviraj Singh Dhadyalla and Dalbir Singh Rattan and Kathak dancer, Kanchan Maradan.

The festival brings South Asian dance, music, writing, textiles and food to the Outer Hebrides in an eclectic arts festival, celebrating Scotland’s diversity of connections with India.

The headline event will be a ‘Summer Evening of Indian Raag’, taking place tomorrow (Friday August 17) and featuring one of the most highly acclaimed female Indian vocalists in the UK today, Deepa Nair Rasiya.

This year a new initiative for the festival, the Purvai Summer School – Yatra Òigridh – will be an opportunity for children aged eight to 13 years to experience a vast range of art forms, including kathak dance, singing, drumming, puppet making and more.

All leading to a multimedia performance on Saturday, August 18, where children will take inspiration from the Yatra performance of last year’s festival, and tell the story through dance, music and puppetry, of the world-famous collector extraordinaire, Colin Mackenzie, who was born in Stornoway in 1754 and lived and travelled in India for most of his life, amassing the world’s largest collection of Indian art and artefacts.

The exhibitions programme will include Cry Calcutta, by notable photographer Thomas Patrick Kiernan, and Document by Fòcas, which brings together three Scottish artists with three Indian artists in a stunning new collaborative photography show.

Purvai 2018 will also bring a new literary event, New Passages, to An Lanntair on August 21, which will celebrate and present new writing from collaborations between Scottish writers Nalini Paul and Abir Mukherjee, and Indian writers Sandip Roy and Sampurna Chattarji.

Alongside all this, the festival will offer a vast array of new opportunities for local people and visitors to take part in, with workshops in Indian drumming, yoga, Indian folk and Kathak dance, and Indian kite and puppet making.

Deepa Nair Rasiya, Indian classical vocalist and headline act for Purvai 2018, said: ‘This will be my first visit to Stornoway and I am thrilled at the prospect of performing vocal Indian music at this year’s Purvai Festival.

‘I can already sense the magic and enchantment of the whole event and look forward to it with much anticipation. Hoping to see all the islanders there and lots of visitors too. Please do come! Thank you all!’

Casi Dylan, projects manager at Edinburgh International Book Festival, said: ‘It’s exciting to welcome our four New Passages authors back to Edinburgh and the Isle of Lewis this August to present new writing inspired by this year-long exchange project, marking 70 years of Indian Independence.

‘This special partnership between the Edinburgh International Book Festival, An Lanntair and Apeejay Kolkata Literature Festival has created an opportunity for these Indian and Scottish writers to work together.’

Catherine Maclean, Purvai curator at An Lanntair, said: ‘These new works and commissions are really what it is all about – opportunities for artists to create and develop new works, collaborating across disciplines, cultures and genre to create ground-breaking new works that are relevant and representative of now.

‘Our audiences are sharing in that journey and have the opportunity to experience and participate in a range of activities from drumming and yoga workshops to textiles, visual arts exhibitions, literature events and spellbinding evenings of the finest of Indian classical music.’