Songs of the Bulbul

Company production | 2024

Birdsong is ephemeral – like dance, it exists only in the moment— sung once, then lost to time.

Nightingales, or “Bulbuls”, hold a special place in Persian culture, with their song representing a spiritual seeker, yearning for union with the divine. Their passionate songs are often directed towards the rose, symbolising both earthly beauty and the divine beloved and highlighting the pursuit of spiritual enlightenment.

Songs of the Bulbul, a new dance work by Aakash Odedra with choreography by Rani Khanam and music by Rushil Ranjan, is inspired by the ancient Sufi myth of a bulbul captured and held in captivity. The bird was bound ever closer and slowly perished through despair, singing more sweetly as its end drew nearer, until it uttered one final, heartbreaking and piercingly beautiful song just before it departed the mortal world. Thus ended the journey of the mythical bird, a tale of beauty born of loss and of freedom found only in the ultimate sacrifice. The beauty of this songbird’s melody serves as a metaphor for the fleeting moments of dance and an artist’s life. Rooted in the expansive music, dance, and poetry traditions of Sufism, this new work by two of the most outstanding Sufi Kathak artists performing in the world today emerges as a sensitive dialogue between the ferocious physicality of Kathak and the spiritual journey of Sufism, a path seeking unity with the Divine.

A sensitive, beautiful dialogue between Sufi Kathak, music that seamlessly blends orchestral and Indian Classical tradition, and Islamic Poetry, Songs of the Bulbul invites audiences to witness a transformation transcending physical boundaries towards enlightenment. Through a journey from Persia to the subcontinent, from freedom to captivity, and the soul’s journey towards divine love and enlightenment, Odedra poses a universal question: Will we, like the caged bird, remain bound to the material world, or will we soar towards a higher existence of liberation, and the divine?


Aakash Odedra

Rani Khanam

Production Manager
Salvatore Scollo

Emanuele Salamanca

Lighting Designer
Fabiana Piccioli

Composer/Musical Director
Rushil Ranjan

Rehearsal Director
Dheerendra Tiwari

Kuldeep Goswami

9 Aug 2024 - 11 Aug 2024 The Lyceum, Edinburgh

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