Sound check at Puran Quila, Delhi for the South Asian Bands Festival
Sound check at Puran Quila, Delhi for the South Asian Bands FestivalFacebook/ Chirkutt Band

Delhi is all set to gyrate to the tunes of the musical instruments strung, banged and blown by the various artists from across the subcontinent throughout the weekend. 

Marking the 8th edition of the South Asian Bands Festival, 14 rock bands from nine SAARC countries, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India and the observer country, France, will entertain music lovers at Purana Quila from Friday.

The impressive line-up for this year's South Asian Bands Festival was announced a few days back, and it includes Kabul and Rock Veda from India, Chirkutt from Bangladesh and Mrigya from India, all of whom will perform on 7 November.

Kabul and Rock Veda, the progressive fusion band whose music is influenced by ancient Sufi poetry and classical bandish compositions blended with old thumris, will kick off the festival.

The finishing act of Friday, Zebunissa Bangash from Pakistan, is best known for her recent stint with Coke Studio and for lending voice in Bollywood films like "Madras Café" and "Highway".

With the idea that music has no boundaries as a driving force, the organisers have been managing to bring bands from various countries to Delhi and improving regional cooperation as a result.

"We can't replicate talks that are conducted at the diplomatic level between countries, but what we can attempt to do is supplement the work done by the corridors of power by getting the public to have a better understanding of the region," says festival director Sanjeev Bhargava to The Hindu.

Saturday, 8 November, will see performances by The Forsaken from Bhutan, The Herb and The Remedy from Sri Lanka, Alobo Naga and The Band, the Ska Vengers and Indus Creed from India. On the third and concluding day, The Kinetic Operations, KOPS from Maldives, Donn Bhat + Passenger Revelator from India, Mukti And Revival from Nepal and Success from France are set to perform.

Bharagava says that the bands are chosen from a host of talented entries after much deliberation. "There are some rare bands that have interesting music to offer. While curating the festival we have to keep in mind that it is not just the 17-35 age groups that we are catering to. Last year, there were people wheeling in their grandparents on wheelchairs to enjoy the music and the venue."

The music festival presented by Ministry of External Affairs, Indian Council for Cultural Relations and Seher offers free entry and will begin at 6.00 pm on all three days.

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