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Sur Jahan reiterates its belief in global peace through music. banglanatak dot com magnum opus continues to help strengthen the brotherhood of man.

Sur Jahan is an annual  World Peace Music Festival which began its journey as Sufi Sutra in 2011 at Kolkata. It is the city's way of connecting its soul with World Music – an annual event in the first weekend of February that has etched its place in its socio-cultural calendar.

Sufi Sutra Grand Finale - All teams come together to create a unique tune 
The festival is conceptualized, designed and implemented by, a 16 year old Kolkata based social enterprise specializing in Culture & Development. Says Amitava Bhattacharya, the moving spirit behind banglanatak dot com: “it is an international festival held in the first weekend of February, first in Kolkata and then followed up in the week next in Goa. It is a non ticketed 3 day public festival. The goal is to foster global peace through celebration of cultural plurality”. “Music for All & Music for Peace” being the Mantra of Sufi Sutra. 

The festival had started with the objective of creating a platform for cultural exchange and dialogue, to create awareness and understanding of the culture and its diversity. Lofty as it may sound, it has achieved the task it had set for itself which can be gauged by the fact that since its inception in 2011, Sufi Sutra has had participation from 21 countries and 12 Indian states. More than 10,000 people attend the festival on an average, daily. Little wonder that Sufi Sutra has been termed as people's festival by media worldwide which has been extremely generous in its accolades since the very inception of the festival. 

Says Amitava “every year, 6 international and 3 national teams are invited to participate in the festival. Rural and traditional artists involved with folk performing arts and handicrafts are also invited to participate and showcase their art during the 3 days”. 

To add further value, Exchange workshops take place during the daytime in a multi layered manner. While exchange happens between the participating international groups, the same is also extended between international and national groups, international and Indian traditional groups and even amongst the rural traditional artists. This also helps in creating future opportunities of collaboration among the groups and artists, leading to an integration of cultures, enriching the connect and leading to a wider, more vibrant assimilation of their arts”.  

The evenings however are reserved for the crowd puller Concerts by the participating groups. On every festival evening, 2 international and 1 national groups perform, enthralling the audience in their own melodious ways. 

The showcasing of traditional performing arts and handicraft takes place on all 3 days of the festival to facilitate exposure, exchange and linkage. The performing artists not only bask at the glory of spreading their art before a receptive audience, but also get a priceless opportunity to establish connections that often help them reach out to potential markets.   

The festival ends with a Grand Finale with members of all the participating teams coming together to jam and create a unique sound and take it to the collaborative crescendo of their culture and creativity each year. 

Sufi Sutra 2016 was no different either. In its 6th Avataar, the Kolkata leg of the festival facilitated exchange between 6 musical groups of Kolkata city and the 6 international groups to promote participation and collaboration. Groups from countries as culturally diverse (and geographically distant) as Scotland, Burkina Faso, Brazil, Portugal, Hungary and USA participated in the melting pot that gave rise to a sound whose lilting melodies still haunt those who were fortunate enough to have witnessed the live creation of the soul curry.

Mihaly Istvan Kovacs of Romengo, Hungary summed it all up beautifully, “Music can always serve as a starting point of dialogue between countries and cultures and I think this is our responsibility to bring different civilizations and countries together in order to contribute as much as possible as musicians for world peace. The festival is a very good opportunity to get to know other cultures and other kinds of music and I think the concept of bringing the world together through music works very well …”

The Kolkata leg of the festival was followed up with an equally mesmerizing replay in Goa.

In keeping with the changing demands of global integration and in tune with the metamorphosis through which the festival has progressed, from the next year onwards, it has been christened Sur Jahan to accord more stress on its global musical core, its lilting soul, Sur Jahan literally meaning ‘Music of the World’. Sur Jahan dates for 2017 -

Kolkata: Feb 3-5 & Goa: Feb 8-10, 2017

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