painting by Kamal Toor
As the sun drapes a cloth bejeweled with stars onto the skies, music and movements will begin to surface. Only the indiscriminate language of rhythm and movement will be spoken, resonating with hearts and souls. Viewers of all ages and backgrounds are invited to join Cassius Khan and featured artists as the venue transforms into an ethereal courtyard.
Sound plays a major role in transcending you to a different World - a World of symphony and dance. Whether it is the Tabla, Sitar, Veena, Voice or even the dancing sound of the Ghunghroo, all reflect a harmony of varied sounds which first your ears hear and then your eyes and body get engulfed into each other. The journey thus takes off from the sound you hear... When your ears begin to see.... the eyes listen.
Founded by New Westminsters own internationally recognized Cassius Khan, the first ever Mushtari Begum Festival is not only a tribute to his guru, the late Ghazal Queen Mushtari Begum, but it is a platform for professional practitioners of Indian Classical Music and Dance to showcase their rare talents to the Canadian audience.
In this day and age, traditional styles of singing such as Ghazal, Khayal and Thumri are becoming increasingly rare. Similarly, it is unusual to see different forms of Indian Classical Dance with live musical accompaniment. Cassius Khan was concerned about the survival of Indian Classical Music and Dance in Canada as there are not many platforms for them to flourish. He felt a personal responsibility to ensure the survival of the various art forms, especially in Canada.
Accordingly, he invited some of the finest Indian and Canadian artists to join him on stage to present a rare treat, and ensure that these arts and artists are showcased. The Massey Theatre, understanding the importance of this cause, generously provided their venue as the Festival site in 2012, and continues to do so every year in September.
The MBF was voted the Best Arts Festival of New Westminster in 2014 by The Record Newpaper.
A quote on the MBF from the Fiji Times on June 18th 2015-
"The Mushtari Begum Festival has grown over the years and has become recognised as Canada's most elite festival of Indian classical music..."
See more at: http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=310268
A great quote from Via Rail in May 21st 2015-
"...We are fortunate to experience the varied foods, arts and music (among many other things) that come from living in Canada, a melting pot of different cultures and backgrounds. From coast to coast, each province and territory has their own distinctive traditions and history. Add to that the various ethnicities of many Canadians, including those of the new citizens we welcome every year, and we are never at a loss for new things to do and see. From the Mushtari Begum Festival of Indian Classical Music and Dance in New Westminster, BC to the Glengarry Highland Games in Maxville, Ontario, Canada has got it all (and the best way to get there? the train, of course)...."