An amalgamation of all things musical, from the calming notes of Indian classical music and the rhythm of Indonesian troubadour to the beats of electronic music, will greet attendees at the upcoming Ziro Festival of Music in Arunachal Pradesh’s famed town. All set to begin later this month, the 10th edition of the four-day festival will host performances across three stages: Danyi (sun) stage, Pwlo (moon) stage, and the all-new Takvr (star) stage dedicated to electronic 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 festival director, Ziro Festival of Music, adding, “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 year includes 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, among others. As for the international artists, look forward to 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 name a few.
Not just music
Music aside, a lot is planned for festival goers at 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 will also get to witness the traditional Apatani dance, Daminda, performed by over 800 ladies from the tribe, he adds.
He says the festival is where “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, adding that Komorebi from New Delhi was signed onto an American label Chicken Ranch Records because of their performance at the festival in 2018, and Mangka from Manipur toured the UK through the festival’s collaboration with Focus Wales supported by the British Council. As for maiden performers, except for AKD, Leon Somov, Komorebi, Taba Chake, and Lee Ranaldo, all other artists are first-timers at Ziro 2023.
The big 10
So how has the festival evolved over the last decade? For Bobby, it is how the community has grown to showcase some of the best independent 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