Artists usher in Indian Voices Day at Proms 2009

Artists usher in Indian Voices Day at Proms 2009

Artists usher in Indian Voices Day at Proms 2009

Pandit Ram Narayan (C) performs on the Indian Voices day at the BBC Proms 2009 at the Royal Albert Hall, London. AFPThe complex brilliance of the music and extraordinary technical prowess of the musicians underlined that India's centuries-old traditions are alive and well. 82-year-old Pandit Narayan drew soulful, shimmering notes from his ancient lute and showed exactly why the likes of western maestro Sir Yehudi Menuhin have rated him so highly.

Narayan performed for most part in the north Indian khyal style.

Silver-haired brothers Rajan and Sajan Mishra from Varanasi, too, were impressive.

Accompanied by harmonium, tanpura drones and dancing table drums, their evocative and sublimely sung raga might have been a soundtrack to the dawning of the earth.

An all-male ensemble from Kerala, Asima performed compositions that mixed Indian rhythms and melodies with Western melodies, then performed them again outside.

A mini-mela in Kensington Gardens featured music and dance from Rajasthan -- the singing, clapping, pirouetting ghoomar dance.

Bollywood dance lessons warmed up participants for the first Bollywood Prom, a nod to India's all-singing, all-dancing film industry.

Pop, funk, hip hop and reggie were performed with multilingual aplomb, though the evening really came into its own when girlish singer June Banerjee joined Shaan after the interval and everyone leapt to their feet.

"Bollywood is India's opera," remarked a BBC Radio 3 commentator.

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