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Songs of faith and borgeet in London

- Life of Sankardev before a global audience
(Top) Dokho Avatar album cover and music director and composer Jayanta Pathak

Jorhat, June 26: The legacy of 16th century socio-religious reformer and neo-Vaishnavite philosopher Srimanta Sankardev will be depicted through music and dance before a wider audience in the UK this week.

UK-based organisation Friends of Assam and Seven Sisters is organising a programme at Nehru Centre (the cultural wing of the Indian high commission), in London on June 29 to spread knowledge of the life and times of the saint.

A seminar and illustrated talk on Vaishnavite faith and Xattriya culture of Srimanta Sankardev, along with a PowerPoint presentation on the Vrindavani vastra, will be held on the occasion.

The vastra is a cloth depicting the 10 incarnations of Vishnu and tales of Krishna at Vrindavan, woven by a group of women on Sankardev’s instructions.

An instrumental album of borgeet by Jayanta Pathak and a dance by renowned Xattriya exponent and the director of Srimanta Shankaradeva Kalakshetra, Sharodi Saikia, will also be showcased.

The co-ordinator of the organisation, Rini Kakati, said though Assam was a part of India, there is little known about its culture in the country. “A large portion of the history of the Assamese people is interwoven with the life of Sankardev — he is the pulse of the people,” Kakati said.

“It is imperative that this great saint receives world attention and the events which shaped his life and philosophy be brought to the notice of a wider audience,” she added.

The speakers at the event will be Richard Blurton, head of the South Asian section in the department of Asia, British Museum, Nicholas Sutton, director of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, University of Oxford, and Audrey Cantlie, author of The Assamese and reader emeritus in anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies.

Dokho Avatar, composed by Jayanta Pathak, known as the king of remixes, is the first global instrumental album of 500-year-old melodies based on borgeet.

Pathak told The Telegraph over phone from the US today that the traditional borgeet in the album was based on the Western Symphony Orchestra.

“By imbibing the rich compositions of the gurus, Srimanta Sankardev and Srimanta Madhavdev, I have tried giving the compositions a global touch. The collection in this music album not only transcends cultural boundaries but also captures the rich bounty of our ancient culture,” he said.

“My effort here is to reach out to people through borgeet. I have kept its soulful rendition alive in this format so that one can revel in the traditional temperament and take pleasure in the symphonies,” he added.

All the six tracks, Hori Namo Rokhe, Dokho Avatar, Xuna Xuna re Sura, Udhaba Salahoon, Alo Bhai and Pawe Pori Hori, were recorded with renowned musicians from Assam and the UK and were recorded and mixed in Atlanta, in the US.