Non-Bengalis pack opening of Bengal music festival in Bethnal Green

Chandra Chakraborty performing musical about turbulent life of a Thumri Queen Begum Akhtar. Picture

Chandra Chakraborty performing musical about turbulent life of a Thumri Queen Begum Akhtar. Picture source: Saudha festival - Credit: Saudha festival

A diverse audience packed the start of the Bangla music festival that has returned to east London for its eighth year.

Audience pack opening of Bengali music Festival at Whiterchapel's Brady Centre. Picture source: Saud

Audience pack opening of Bengali music Festival at Whiterchapel's Brady Centre. Picture source: Saudha festival - Credit: Saudha festival

Saturday’s opening at Bethnal Green’s Rich Mix arts centre featured the turbulent life of a Thumri Queen Begum Akhtar, a play and music scripted and performed by Srimati Chandra Chakraborty.

“The main objective of the festival is to promote this artistry on a global platform,” festival director Ahmed Kaysher said. “The audience was mainly non-Bengali, which inspires us to take the festival to the next phase.”

Also featured was Tagore’s music performed by Dr Imtiaz Ahmed accompanied by Amith Dey and Juber Suhel, while guest artist from India Aniruddha Mukherjee accompanied on Tabla, with medieval and early lyrics recited by Afsana Salam and Jahangir Rana.

Next part of the festival, ‘Tagore and his Contemporaries’, is at the Kobi Nazrul centre in Brick Lane on October 21 at 7pm, the House of Commons with Bengali classical music on October 25 at 5pm, then returning to the Nazrul centre two days later with experimental music, 7pm.

Chandra Chakraborty performs at Bangla music festival. Picture source: Saudha festival

Chandra Chakraborty performs at Bangla music festival. Picture source: Saudha festival - Credit: Saudha festival