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Baul and Vaishnav festival exposes how Indian music influences us

PUBLISHED: 14:00 17 May 2019 | UPDATED: 15:11 17 May 2019

Three-day Baul and Vaishnav festival opens in Spitalfields on May 24. Picture: Subhra Dam

Three-day Baul and Vaishnav festival opens in Spitalfields on May 24. Picture: Subhra Dam

Subhra Dam

A three-day festival showing how two sacred genres of Indian music have influenced the West is returning to east London for its sixth year.

Baul and Vaishnav music has attracted audiences to east London since 2014. Picture: Subhra DamBaul and Vaishnav music has attracted audiences to east London since 2014. Picture: Subhra Dam

Baul and Vaishnav music is being performed with screenings of films and discussions on these philosophical movements that evolved from Hindu and Muslim traditions.

The festival opens in Spitalfields on Friday, May 24, with a poetic 'discourse' between pro and anti Baul and Vaishnav philosophies performed by Laboni Barua and Ahmed Kaysher at the Kobi Nazrul centre in Brick Lane at 7.30pm. This is followed by spiritual poetry readings by seven performers.

Singers Sanjoy Dey, Bapita Bapi and fusion band London DC perform the next day at St Margaret's House in Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green, at 7pm.

Sanjoy performing on stage. Picture: Subhra DamSanjoy performing on stage. Picture: Subhra Dam

The festival ends May 26 with performances by Hindustani classical musician Srimati Chandra Chakraborty at the Rich Mix centre in Bethnal Green Road at 7pm. The session also includes a performance of Tagore's mystic world by Imtiaz Ahmed and Vaishnav music performed by Amith Dey.

The annual festival, first staged in Spitalfields in 2013 supported by Tower Hamlets Council, aims to show how these two ancient forms of devotional music have influenced Western philosophers and poets like Ginsberg and Schopenhauer.

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