A performance to remember Nazrul in London

Meeting Nazrul will be held in London
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A music, vocal and movement performance exploring the work of the great Bengali poet laureate Kazi Nazrul Islam   

In an attempt to explore the rebellious spirit of the National poet of Bangladesh, Kazi Nazrul Islam, renowned British vocalist, Lucy Rahman collaborates with the acclaimed Kathak artist, Amina Khayyam to present a performance on 24th and 25th March in London.

Meeting Nazrul will be held in London
Meeting Nazrul will be held in London

The performance would be held at the Lutonia festival (www.lutonia.com) on 24th and at Freedom Week (richmix.org.uk) on 25th. The collaboration presents an imaginary meeting with Kazi Nazrul Islam, who had used themes of Islamic renaissance and marked the beginning of spiritual rebellion against fascism and oppression in his poetry in the pre-independence era of the Indian sub-continent.

Nazrul (1899-1976),  as he was popularly known, was a poet, writer, musician and revolutionary and is known to have written and composed music for around 4000 songs, (now called Nazrul Sangeet) and pioneered a new form of ghazals, exploring, love, freedom, equality, social justice, opposing fascism and religious bigotry.

He enrolled in the army during World War 1, later started a newspaper (Dhumketu) and campaigned for Indian independence, earning the epithet, “The Rebel Poet”. Later in life, this rebel poet with such rage and ferocity was silenced by an illness that was diagnosed as Picks Disease. Nevertheless his writings have lived on and were an inspiration for the Bangladeshi liberation.

Lucy Rahman and Amina Khayyam have worked together on several projects including Yerma (Edinburgh 2015) and A Thousand Faces, and together they have become known for their radical approach and innovation in interpreting some of the classical canon of Bengali poems and songs, particularly, ‘Thumris’ (a romantic song).

Meeting Nazrul , produced by Zeroculture for Lucy Rahman and The Artta, once again brings the performers together to create a show that will bring to the fore the work of Nazrul and explore his relevance in today’s global society.

A vocalist of international repute, Lucy Rahman has followed her renowned father’s (the late classical singer Sheikh Luthfor Rahman) footsteps to train in Indian Classical music and Nazrul music. “As a singer, I have been influenced by his compositions of music using classical ragas in his diverse songs,” she says about the influence of Nazrul on her music.

Remembering Nazrul through Kathak and vocals
Remembering Nazrul through Kathak and vocals

Amina Khayyam is an acclaimed Kathak performer and choreographer, and Artistic Director of AKDC for whom she makes radical new work that addresses women’s issues.  Her performance ranges from classical Kathak, where she has developed a style of ‘abhinaya’ (technique of facial communication), to high-end multi-media performances.

Meeting Nazrul will have able accompaniments from Debasish Mukherjee on tabla and Asha McCarthy on Cello.