Woman in lehenga singing on stage

Southbank Centre announces new South Asian Sounds series

The Southbank Centre has announced a new South Asian Sounds music series to take place in March 2024.

From the 7th of March to the 10th of next year, the series will celebrate the rich musical heritage and traditions of South Asia.

Musical traditions like bhangra and Qawwali from South Asia will be part of Southbank Centre’s celebrations of the South Asian diaspora in the UK.

Southbank Centre artistic director Mark Ball said: “South Asian Sounds promises to be an incredible celebration of the richness and diversity of its forms.

“We’re excited to present such internationally renowned artists representing a wide range of genres and traditions.

“Their appeal will reach audiences across the capital’s South Asian diaspora, who make up a fifth of our city’s residents.”

Person sitting on the floor in front of a mic

According to the Government’s 2021 census, people from Asian ethnic groups made up the second largest percentage of the UK’s population at 9.3%.

Data showed that Indians make up 3.1% of the UK, while Pakistanis follow behind with 2.7%, and Bangladeshis with 1.1%.

With such a large South Asian population in the UK, the centre said they aim to reflect and support the breadth of creative communities in London and the UK.

Bringing South Asian music to the forefront of the Southbank Centre opens doors for aspiring South Asian musical artists to pursue careers in mainstream spaces.

Professional Bollywood dancer Anya Parmar said: “Whether it’s bhangra, classical, Bollywood or other South Asian styles – especially in London – there’s so many different options now.

“There are so many classes to learn different styles, to the point where it’s actually hard to know where to start.”

With Southbank Centre putting South Asian Sounds on the map, it will create many more opportunities for people to get involved and learn more.

Nishat Khan sitting on the ground in front of a temple playing a sitar.

The celebration will begin with The Afghan Youth Orchestra, opening the series on Thursday 7th of March in Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Afghan traditional folk songs will be performed alongside Western classical music before Friday’s celebrations at the Royal Festival.

Viewers will be able to enjoy performances from the ‘King of Bhangra’ Malkit Singh, Qawwali singer Zeeshan Ali, and a range of South Asian DJs at South Asian Sounds.

Performers like Bollywood star Pratibha Singh Baghel, Sitar maestro Ustad Nishat Khan, and award-winning artists Malini Awasthi and Anwar Khan Manganiyar will take the stage over a long weekend of celebrations.

Different genres like ghazals, old film classics, qawwali, and a range of modern interpretations will take place in the musical series.

Events will be split across different Southbank Centre venues including Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, and Purcell Room.

South Asia has no limit to musical celebrations and people in London will now be able to celebrate this rich culture.

Tickets for South Asian Sounds went on general sale on Wednesday 6th of December via: https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/festivals-series/south-asian-sounds

Related Articles