Amritsar, November 28
In a show of inter-cultural display of music and dance, the Bulgarian and Punjabi artistes joined stage during the 11th Amritsar International Folk Festival at Khalsa College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences here on Tuesday. The musical fusion of Bulgarian and Punjabi folklore made for an entertaining afternoon as students, dignitaries and artistes celebrated the folk artistes from the two countries (India and Bulgaria) took the stage to perform.
The dance troupe from Bulgaria, visiting India for the second time, mesmerised the audience with the traditional display of foot-tapping Bulgarian folk dances. The artistes led by noted Bulgarian artiste Alex Alexandrov and his 12-member team under ‘Folkpalitra Bulgaria’ presented the European country’s folk singing and dancing, giving a peek into its cultural landscape. The festival was organised by the Khalsa College Governing Council in collaboration with the Punjab Cultural Promotion Council (PCPC).
Clad in their traditional, colourful dresses, the artistes performed various folk dances that represent harvest, wedding and ritual celebrations and other cultural aspects of the country. “The Bulgarian folk dances follow line dances, where men and women perform holding hands in a symmetrical line. Mostly it is based on slow and fast beats and foot-work. The fact that we received a rousing response from the audience here despite the language barrier proves that music and dance have a universal language,” said Alexander, popularly called Alex.
Alex shared that he had come to Amritsar for the first time around 15 years ago as a participant in a folk music festival. “I am truly amazed at the diversity that this country has. I experienced the dances and food culture here, especially in Punjab, and I loved every bit of it,” shared Alex. Apart from the cultural diversity, Alex also picked up a liking for Punjabi cuisine, especially garam masala, on his previous visit.
“I cook basmati rice at home. I try doing it in Punjabi style using spices. Another thing that I just loved eating here is samosa,” he shared. Well, another example of Amritsari hospitality, we say.
Alex performed three Bulgarian songs, two of them written by him. “The song, titled The best (which is yet to come), was written during the pandemic when I came across a poem that talked about the power of positivity in times of distressing. Another song, Big Wonder, is catchy pop folk that I wrote and have performed the world over.”
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Khalsa College Governing Council honorary secretary Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina said the festival was an opportunity for the students of the two countries to forge an international cooperation and friendship. He said the aim of the festival was to foster cultural exchanges and integration of diversities. College Principal Dr Harisah Verma said such inter-cultural festivals provided an opportunity to students to share talent and understand each other’s folklore. Students of KCVAS also exhibited bhangra and giddha and Khalsa School Gatka during the festival.
PCPC head Dr Davinder Singh Chhina said the objective was to promote multiculturalism and international cooperation through the exchange of artistes.
During the festival, the Khalsa Heritage Awards were given to famous Punjabi film and music personality Karaj Gill, Dr Karamjit Singh Gill, Joga Singh, Ravinder Singh Robin, Sukhjinder Singh Heir, Baba Nirmal Singh and others. Three special awards were given to Dr Inderjit Singh Gagoani, Gurpreet Singh Gill and coach Baljinder Singh.
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