Arts Derbyshire


Indian classical music concert remembers pandemic heroes and victims

Indian classical music concert remembers pandemic heroes and victims

The final part of Surtal Arts’ Derby Season of Light (DSOL) festival on Friday December 10, in partnership with Derby Museums, will be a musical remembrance of the courage, caring and loss during Covid times, recent climatic disasters and hope for future.

Derby-based Surtal Arts, which has brought DSOL to the city and county over the past few weeks, has commissioned British Asian musician Kaviraj Singh to compose and perform a special piece of classical music entitled Smaran, which means remembrance.

The piece is in honour of the NHS and all key workers who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic and dedicated to all those who have lost their lives to Covid-19 and the fires and floods that have engulfed parts of the world brought on by climate change.

The evening concert will be performed at Derby Museum and Art Gallery on The Strand, against a backdrop of stunning paintings from Enlightenment artist Joseph Wright of Derby, renowned as a painter of light.

Surtal Arts chair Nisha Nath explained: “Derby Season of Light has been a wonderful celebration of our city’s diversity through various arts activities, events and performances – most notably the Derby Lantern Parade – with the universal theme of ‘light’.

“The climax of the festival will be an evening of beautiful soulful Indian classical music which is among the oldest musical traditions in the world.

“This mesmerising music, which combines haunting melodies with upbeat rhythms, is perfect to remember the trauma of the past months and our collective hope for the future.

“It is very appropriate to be performed against the backdrop of Joseph Wright’s work whose spectacular paintings signify the Age of Enlightenment.

“As well as bringing together local communities, a key part of Derby Season of Light has been to ‘shine a light’ on artists whose livelihoods have been severely impacted by Covid restrictions and to give them an opportunity to perform and engage with live audiences again.

“We therefore look forward to showcasing two celebrated up and coming classical musicians for the final part of the festival.

“The concert will be very intimate with just 50 people in the audience and we will then be live-streaming the performance online for anybody else who wants to experience this wonderful music and free of charge to two care homes in Derby and Leicester.”

Lead artist Kaviraj Singh is one of Europe’s leading young Hindustani musicians – combining santoor (Indoor strong instrument) and vocal elements in a unique blend of ragas. He is the youngest artist to have performed at the prestigious Darbar Festival in 2008 and has shared his music widely at popular venues across India, Europe and the UK.

He said: “This piece is made up of various ragas which are very melodious, meditative and all about hope for the future”.

Kaviraj will perform alongside award-winning tabla (percussion) musician Shahbaz Hussain, the son of a celebrated Indian classical music vocalist Ustad Mumtaz Hussain who has learnt his craft from table gurus across India.


The in person performance on Friday December 10 at Derby Museum and Art Gallery, starts at 6.30pm.

Tickets cost £12 and are limited, so early booking is advisable. The performance will also be live-streamed online for £5 with all tickets available to book online.


Derby Season of Light has been brought to the city and county by Surtal Arts in partnership with Derby Live, Derby Museums, Air Arts, Junction Arts and No 28 community centre in Belper and is supported by Arts Council England, Derby City Council, Foundation Derbyshire, Community Action Derby, Belper Town Council and the National Lottery Community Fund.

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