The goddess of knowledge, music, art, wisdom and learning is being celebrated at Wimbledon Library this Saturday.
The Festival of Joy and Happiness is run by Saudha, the Society of Poetry and Indian Music, and will see musicians, classical performers and traditional Indian musicians celebrate Saraswati Puja with Sanskrit chanting, meditation, music, poetry and dance.
It is the second year the festival has taken place and Merton Library manager Chandra Kargupta said: “To celebrate the earthly day-to-day and spiritual joy of life, these art forms have a significant impact as a whole.
“Each art form has own language to express the joy of life.
“This is the only Saraswati Puja in Merton so not only people from India, but people from all different cultures and backgrounds attended this festival last year.
“These events are really important for the cohesion between different communities. People learn each other’s powerful cultural traditions and they can mingle through art, music and lovely foods.”
At last year’s event, Saudha collaborated with renowned Merton-based jazz musicians the Iyatra Quartet, inviting them to fuse Indian classical music with their own experimental world music.
Alice Barron, violinist and founding member of Iyatra Quartet, said: “I’m looking forward to celebrating the fantastic quality of Indian arts in London, as well as the interaction of Indian cultures with the diverse range of traditions in the UK.”
Several prominent Indian classical musicians formed Saudha in 2012 to promote Indian classical music through a post-modern paradigm.
The organisation’s director, Ahmed Kaysher, said that bringing together Indian music and western poetry was a personal passion of his.
Librarian Mr Kaysher, 42, splits his time between working in Leeds and promoting Indian classical music in south west London.
He said: “When people listen to classical music, they do not think it is for them. They think it is for a more technical audience.
“We wanted to organise and community event where ordinary people would hear classical music and know it can be for them too.”
The festival line-up consists of a vibrant mix of cultures and genres.
Indian classical vocalist, Chandra Charaborty, ambassador for Indian classical music in the UK, will be performing alongside Mexican and Latin American poets and dancers interpreting Indian classical music.
A Merton Council spokesperson said: “We are very proud to be hosting this event, along with a wide mix of other activities and events in our libraries on a daily basis, which reflect the rich and diverse wealth of cultures our borough is proud to have.”
Saraswati Puja, the Festival of Joy & Happiness, takes place at Wimbledon Library, Wimbledon Hill Road on Saturday 27 January, starting at 4.30pm.
Entry is free, donations are accepted and a light dinner is available. For more information call 07828 190 551 or email [email protected].
Feature image of Alice Barron courtesy of Luke Doyle, with thanks