The Spectacular Asian Music Festival - 'Summer Solstice' Is Back This Month

'A Night to surrender - and just be'
June 9, 2023

Set against the enchanting backdrop of the legendary Leeds Corn Exchange and created as a pay-what-you-can event, there is an utterly amazing chance to be immersed in the tapestry of diverse musical experiences of South Asia from 11 am on 21st June to the dawn of 22nd June

Among the exciting line-up of artists is the award-winning rabab player, Qais Essar, renowned for his song 'The Crown Sleeps' - which featured in the Golden Globe-nominated motion picture animation, 'The Breadwinner.' Qais will undoubtedly captivate the LS1 audience with his compositions that celebrate his Afghani-American heritage, as he pushes the boundaries of the 2,500-year-old instrument from Afghanistan to new heights. 

Joining Qais on stage isthe acclaimed santoor player, Kaviraj Singh, known for his role as Caronte in Opera North and SAA-uk's celebrated co-production 'Orpheus.' As a proud Leeds native, Kaviraj brings a fresh perspective to the classical Indian music tradition, showcasing the beauty of his South Asian heritage. 

The festival is also going to feature Anamika Chowdhury, who is expert at blending the soulful melodies of Assamese songs with the rhythmic beats of Jazz. Additionally, Sardar Satwinderpal Singh, who is a sarangi virtuoso from Scotland, is set to enchant the audience with his soul-stirring sounds, elevating the musical experience to new heights. 

Beyond the stellar musical program, SAA-uk's Asian Music Festival incorporates the Leeds 2023 theme of 'Playing' by transforming the Corn Exchange into an immersive green space. Attendees will have the opportunity to explore, connect, and create, with some fantastic activities ranging from board games to creative clubs, offering a liberating and exciting experience for everyone. 

Reflecting on the festival's creation, Keranjeet Kaur Virdee MBE, CEO and Artistic Director of South Asian Arts-uk and founder of the Asian Music Festival, shared her inspiration, telling us: "The inspiration behind this concept are the artists and musicians themselves. Our Summer Solstice Festival was born out of a need to provide opportunities for late-night and early morning Ragas, and the idea came to me as I remembered the Stonehenge Summer Solstice, which takes place on the shortest night of the year. This immersive experience is beyond words, a night to surrender and just be." 

This amazing event is presented by South AsianArts-uk in partnership with LEEDS 2023 - and the ‘Asian Music Festival - Summer Solstice’ opens on 21st June at 11am with Smell the Coffee - Kamalbir Singh (Violin) and John Ball (Tabla), 12pm Desert Sands - Qais Essar (Rabab), 3pm Teatime Symphony LakshayMohan (Sitar) and Bhavanjot Singh Rehal (Tabla), 5pm Jazz It Out - Anamika Chowdhury & David Evans Jazz band, 7pm Evening Flower - Debasmita Bhattacharya (Sarod) & Shahbaz Hussain (Tabla), 9pm Qawwali Sounds - Shah-e-Mardan, 10:50pm Sunset Raga - Kaviraj Singh (Santoor) & Shahbaz Hussain (Tabla), 12:10am Midnight Drums - Tabla collective led by Shahbaz Hussain and accompanied by Kirpal Singh Panesar, 1:00am Beckoning Sunrise - Sardar Satwinder Pal Singh (Sarangi) and Pt.Sanju Sahai (Tabla) and 3am Good Morning Leeds - Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay (Vocals), Pt. Sanju Sahai (Tabla) and Kirpal Singh Panesar.  

For more information and ticket bookings, please CLICK HERE.  

You can also stay updated on the Asian Music Festival by following South Asian Arts-uk on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.