Tickets Go On Sale for Purvai 2017: An Lanntair’s Festival of South Asian Art and Culture

An Lanntair has now released the first tickets for its festival of South Asian Art and Culture, Purvai 2017, a Signature Event for Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017, supported by EventScotland as part of the themed year celebrations and the Heritage Lottery Fund.  This year’s Purvai Festival (10th August to 19th August) promises to delight audiences with an eclectic mix of concerts, workshops and exhibitions, all celebrating the South Asian culture and heritage which is such an important part of Scotland and the Hebrides today.

The headline concert, Yatra (meaning Journey), on Friday 18 August, will be a performance of a newly commissioned musical score by lead composer Dalbir Singh Rattan. Yatra will depict the journey of Stornoway-man and collector extraordinaire, Colin Mackenzie (born 1754).  The piece will explore traditional Gaelic vocal traditions using islanders’ songs of travel and seafaring, through to the traditional Indian Raga and folk music that Mackenzie would have experienced and encountered during his travels and explorations in India.

A historical story made alive and present through a collective of talented artists working now, representing these traditions in a progressive and innovative way.

A world-first exhibition of Mackenzie’s Collection “Collector Extraordinaire” will be showing at Museum nan Eilean from 12th August.  The Mackenzie Collection’ is the oldest and largest Collection of ancient South Asian art and comprises a remarkable range of material, including beautiful figures intricately carved in stone, thousands of drawings and sketches from across India and Java depicting ancient monuments, people and customs, maps, coins, and incredibly old and precious palm leaf manuscripts. Items from the Collection will be on loan from the British Museum, The British Library and the V&A, and exhibited at Museum nan Eilean at Lews Castle. The exhibition is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Award-winning Sitarist, Roopa Panesar, will be back at Purvai this year to launch the festival following her standing ovation at last year’s event.  Roopa will perform with Tabla virtuoso, Dalbir Singh Rattan, at An Lanntair on Thursday 10th August at 8pm.

On Wednesday 15th August, Kaviraj Singh Dhadyalla will perform a classical Indian music concert with the Santoor, accompanied on Tabla by Dalbir Singh Rattan.  Combining musicality with complex rhythm, Kaviraj Singh is emerging as a unique and celebrated talent of the new generation. The youngest artist to have performed at the prestigious Darbar Festival of classical Indian music, he has shared his music widely at popular venues across India, Europe and the UK.

There will also be a packed programme of workshops and talks from artists including Kathak dance, a writers’ event with Edinburgh Book Festival, a special curator’s talk, visual and performing arts and a specially prepared children’s drumming & singing performance.

Festival Pass now available and Early Bird Tickets: A Purvai Festival Pass for all the main stage events can be purchased for £30 or £25 for concessions/members, which will include all three concerts, Sona Datta talk on Mahabalipuram, New Passages writers event, Aziz Ibrahim: Artist Talk, and Festival Club Night.  For the month of June, individual tickets for the three concerts will be also available for a special early bird price of £9 or £8 for members, from July tickets will be £12/£10.  The Community Drumming and Singing Performance will be free to attend.

  • Thurs 10th Aug           8pm –Roopa Panesar and Dalbir Singh Rattan Concert
  • Sat 12th Aug                11.30am – Sona Datta: Ancient Monuments of Mahabalipuram
  • Tue 15th Aug             7pm – New Passages Literature Event with the Edinburgh Book Festival
  •                                     8.15pm – Aziz Ibrahim: Artist talk
  • Weds 16th August      8pm – Kaviraj Singh Dhadyalla Classical Indian Santoor Concert
  • Fri 18th August           8pm – Yatra: Journey –  Headline Concert
  • Sat 19th August           3pm – Purvai Community Drumming and Singing performance
  • Sat 19th August           9pm – Deljeem and Fraser Club Night

12 August – 18 November: Collector Extraordinaire, Mackenzie Collection Exhibition


The full Purvai Festival line-up can be found here:

The Purvai project will also continue beyond the festival itself this year, focusing on the heritage and stories of South Asian-Hebridean families who settled in Stornoway.


2017 marks the 70th anniversary of the Independence and Partition of India, an important moment for reflection on Scotland’s connections with the people, culture and heritage of South Asia.  An Lanntair is currently working with actor photographer and artist, Arpita Shah on researching stories of South Asian Hebridean families and their journeys to Stornoway and the islands.  Part of this project will be Copan Chai, an interactive visual arts installation work by Arpita Shah in October 2017.

In November, acclaimed actor and playwright Sudha Bhuchar will bring her play ‘Child of the Divide’ to Stornoway and again there will be a wrap-around programme of activity connecting to the stories of South Asian Heritage in the community.

The Purvai Festival and wider project aim to celebrate the shared heritage between South Asia and the UK and what that connection has come to mean and embody today.