An amalgamation of all issues musical, from the calming notes of Indian classical music and the rhythm of Indonesian troubadour to the beats of digital music, will greet attendees on the upcoming Ziro Festival of Music in Arunachal Pradesh’s famed city. All set to start later this month, the tenth version of the four-day competition will host performances throughout three levels: Danyi (solar) stage, Pwlo (moon) stage, and the all-new Takvr (star) stage devoted to digital music. “Takvr stage is an exciting addition that will showcase leading DJs and music producers. Curated by electronic artist Sapta aka Marti Bharath, it features artists like Kiss Nuka aka Anushka Manchanda, Angata (Israel), Barnet (Germany), and Lithuanian producer Leon Somov,” says Bobby Hano, co-founder and competition director, Ziro Festival of Music, including, “Takvris being introduced keeping in mind that a lot of artistes and festival attendees have been asking for it. We got Marti Bharath on board, who’s performed at Ziro Festival a few times, to curate the line-up with a view that this had to be live electronica.”
The line up this yr consists of Grammy, Padma Shri, and Padma Bhushan awardee Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Indian Hindustani classical jal tarang artist Shashikala Dani, composer and multi-instrumentalist Ustad Bismillah Khan, singer Mohit Chauhan and Arunachali singer Chorun Mugli and rapper MC Altaf, amongst others. As for the worldwide artists, stay up for performances by South African guitarist Guy Buttery, nu-folk duo Puuluup from Estonia, Australian punk rockers Mannequin Death Squad and The Boo Boo Bama Orchestra from Sweden, to call a couple of.
Not simply music
Music apart, quite a bit is deliberate for competition goers on the Popi Sarmiñ Creative Space. “We are curating special workshops and community engagement activities for children, such as dance and movement sessions, Apatani flute making and playing workshop,” says Bobby. Attendees can even get to witness the normal Apatani dance, Daminda, carried out by over 800 girls from the tribe, he provides.
He says the competition is the place “one gets to see young talent waiting to explode on a much larger scale”. “In the past, we had many such artists, like Prateek Kuhaad, Divine, Taba Chake, perform and hone their skills and go on to become internationally renowned names,” he says, including that Komorebi from New Delhi was signed onto an American label Chicken Ranch Records due to their efficiency on the competition in 2018, and Mangka from Manipur toured the UK by way of the competition’s collaboration with Focus Wales supported by the British Council. As for maiden performers, apart from AKD, Leon Somov, Komorebi, Taba Chake, and Lee Ranaldo, all different artists are first-timers at Ziro 2023.
The huge 10
So how has the competition developed during the last decade? For Bobby, it’s how the group has grown to showcase a few of the greatest unbiased acts. “This year alone we have bands coming in from the USA, France, Sweden, Indonesia, Estonia, Lithuania, and Bhutan. Attendees are also growing both in number and in age, and we now have attendees from our first year coming in with their kids which has also forced us to evolve and cater to a new generation of music lovers,” he concludes.
September 28 to October 1. Tickets upwards of ₹2,500 on zirofestival.com