Not In Town | @notintownlive | 20 Jul 2017
Running from Aug 10 until the end of November, and as part of the programme for Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, this signature festival will engage audiences in the joint rich history with a series of events encompassing Gaelic and Asian culture.
The line-up will include world class concerts, theatre performances, visual arts exhibitions, expert talks, an Indian drumming performance by local children, and a feast of Indian food and dance workshops.
The festival is inspired by Scotsman Colonel Colin Mackenzie, who fell in love with India’s vivid culture when he arrived in 1780.
Not only did he go onto map India, but he also conducted one of the most important researches into India’s ancient past, and amassed one of the greatest collections in doing so.
Almost two centuries after death, and for the first time ever, elements of his unique collection will be displayed together under one roof on Lewis in Collection Extraordinaire, which will run the entirety of the Purvai Festival.
It will also take place just a stone’s throw from where he and his family lived on the South Beach side of Stornoway's harbour.
Mackenzie's collection, held by The British Museum, The British Library and the V&A in London, as well as libraries in India, is a treasure trove of information relating to the people and places Mackenzie encountered two centuries ago during his travels around India, Sri Lanka and Java.
Other Purvai highlights include:
Yatra - Performance of a brand new commissioned score depicting Colin Mackenzie’s journey from the Outer Hebrides to India told using traditional Gaelic vocal traditions and islanders’ songs of travel and seafaring, through to the traditional Indian Raag and folk music he’d have experienced and encountered during his travels in India.
A scaled-down version will be performed at a special free unbound night at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. The full show will tour in India during January 2018.
Sitar virtuoso, Roopa Panesar, and tabla maestro Dalbir Singh Rattan (also lead composer on Yatra), will present an evening of classical Indian music on Aug 10, while Kaviraj Singh Dhadyalla introduces Indian classical Santoor music on Aug 16.
Actor, director and playwright, Sudha Bhuchar, will stage her critically acclaimed play, Child of the Divide, which tells the story of a young boy separated from his family during the Partition of India on Nov 17.
Photographer and artist, Arpita Shah, will research stories of South Asian Hebridean families and their journeys to Stornoway and the islands through the medium of tea.
Sona Datta, presenter of BBC4’s Treasures of the India, discusses the famous temple and monuments of Mahabalipuram in South India.
In a collaboration with the Edinburgh International Book Festival, award-winning crime writer, Abir Mukherjee, joins poet and 2017 Robert Louis Stevenson Writing Fellow, Nalini Paul, to present a literary journey capturing their personal responses to the Mackenzie Collection.
The heart of the festival is a packed ten-day programme from August 10 to 19, which will take place at An Lanntair.
This coincides with the opening of Collector Extraordinaire at Museum nan Eilean.
Additional Purvai events will continue until November.
Getting to Scotland
Getting to this beautiful, unique country and on to the Outer Hebrides has never been easier from India.
Emirates, Qatar, Etihad and Turkish Airlines all offer flights to Edinburgh and Glasgow from Delhi, Bengaluru (Bangalore), Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata (Calcutta).
Once here, visitors can travel to the Outer Hebrides by either a quick flight with Logan Air, or rent a car, travel through the highlands and catch a ferry with CalMac from either Oban, Ullapool or the Isle of Skye.
The drive alone is worth it!
Please visit the official website for the best accommodation in the Outer Hebrides and across Scotland: https://www.visitscotland.com/accommodation/
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