Seasoned world-class performers and the rising stars of Indian classical culture joined forces for a musical festival celebrating the summer solstice in Leeds.

International artists Dr Jayanthi Kumaresh and Suhail Khan, who played Glastonbury last year, shared the stage with Leeds-based Jasdeep Singh Degun and Gurdain Singh Rayatt, who hails from London.

The annual event, which is now in its seventh year, had the theme of ‘dualities and opposition’ and as well as established and emerging musicians on the bill, little-heard instruments like the ancient veena, sarangi, ghatam and mridangam, could be heard playing alongside the more popular sitar and tabla.

For Jasdeep, who has been dubbed the ‘award-winning sitarist of the new generation’ the event was especially meaningful.

The 26-year-old said: “I have performed at many events with SAA-uk but it was the first time I played at the summer solstice. It was wonderful to be playing in Leeds as this is my home city and often I am away at musical events around the country or abroad but never get the chance to perform for a home crowd.

“It was really nice to do that but the highlight for me was the billing and playing just before Dr Jayanthi Kumaresh.”

Jasdeep was 10 years old when he first played the sitar after some Indian classical sessions were introduced at his primary school in Moortown, Leeds.

Despite not hailing from a musical family, he loved the sound of the sitar and began to practise religiously.

Now he has turned this passion into a full-time career.

Jasdeep gained a deep insight into the art of Indian classical music through his teacher, Ustad Dharambir Singh MBE, and has performed in many prestigious venues, including Buckingham Palace, the Amphitheatre in Doha, and the Royal Albert Hall at the 2014 BBC Proms.

He also beat thousands of artists from around the country to win a Sky Arts scholarship worth £30,000 to go towards producing his debut album.

Jasdeep said: “Jayanthi is a legend and actually used to tutor me when I first started playing the sitar. She was the resident artist at SAA and she talked to me afterwards saying how nice it was to hear me play again.

“To be honest the honour was all mine. It was the highlight of the weekend for me.”

Dr Jayanthi was just three when she started in the arts and comes from six generations of musicians who have been practising Carnatic music which is commonly associated with southern India.

She has performed at several international festivals including the San Francisco Jazz Festival and the Darbar festival which is held in London.

Suhail Khan also began his Classical training at a young age, learning under his grandfather and world-famous musician Ustad Sabri Khan.

A celebrated and innovative artist, Suhail’s high level of skill and versatility have also led him to explore fusion music with the folk supergroup Yorkston/Thorne/Khan, which made an appearance at Glastonbury 2017.

Suhail said the event was a blend of old and new.

“Combining innovation with tradition, Solstice Festival inspires and moves the future of Indian classical music. It

was a truly holistic and unique experience.

“I really feel that the festival is a shining light for both young musicians and listeners alike.”

The concerts took place in the brand-new Rooftop extension at the Leeds College of Music and the Venue. This striking performance space is enclosed with a full perimeter glazed screen, allowing the audiences to enjoy breathtaking city views while listening to trance-like melodies from the North and South of India.

Other artists included vocalists Shahana Sokhi and Savita Sundaresan, Abhiram Sahathevan on the miruthangam and Marthungi Uthayakumar playing the violin.

As well as music there was debate and a conversation exploring the intimate relationship between Taal (rhythm) and Raag (melody) in North Indian music.

Keranjeet Kaur Virdee CEO & Artistic Director of SAA-uk said: “I am delighted so many people were able to experience and enjoy world class music in Yorkshire, its richness and diversity. Looking forward to doing it again in 2019. Watch this space.”