Songs of the Bulbul

Songs of the Bulbul Claimed

Average Reviews


Aakash Odedra created in collaboration with Kathak choreographer Rani Khanam.


The Lyceum Theatre at the Edinburgh International Festival,



Start Date


End Date



Songs of the Bulbul is a transcendent new solo for the virtuoso performer Aakash Odedra created in collaboration with revered Delhi-based Kathak choreographer Rani Khanam. It has its world premiere at The Lyceum Theatre on Friday 9 August at the Edinburgh International Festival, following the success of Odedra’s Samsara there in 2022.

Songs of the Bulbul lays bare Odedra’s personal and spiritual dance landscape on stage. Rani Khanam’s exquisite storytelling choreography features expressive hand gestures and flowing lines through space. Khanam is renowned for her intimate knowledge of Islamic and Sufi texts and she has worked widely with Sufi musicians, singers and dancers from across the Islamic world.

Together they tell an ancient Sufi myth about the bulbul, a Persian nightingale, a symbol of the beauty of the natural world and the pursuit of religious enlightenment, which, when captured, sings a glorious tune. The song reaches an inexpressibly beautiful pitch in the moments before it perishes from despair.

Odedra says: “Each stage of the dance builds a sense of desperation or longing. In the end, the bird leaves its body and that’s the way it frees itself. For me, it’s an important parallel to the life of an artist because every time I perform, I feel I die and leave a part of myself on stage until in the end there’s nothing left.”

Songs of the Bulbul has been developed with London-based, genre-defying composer Rushil Ranjan. Renowned for his distinctive ability to seamlessly bring together Indian Classical and Western Classical traditions, his original score is written for orchestra, Qawwali singers and other Indian Classical musicians. It will be recorded by the 35 players of the pioneering Manchester Camerata, world-renowned for innovation and collaboration.

This ambitious new work resonates with the theme of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival – Rituals That Unite Us. The original cultural festival that defines Edinburgh as the world’s Festival City, the International Festival takes over the Scottish capital this August between 2 and 25 August with an expansive programme of world-leading opera, music, theatre and dance.

Songs of the Bulbul will have its world premiere 9 August at 8 pm, followed by additional performances on 10-11 August at The Lyceum. Tickets from £12. Book now.

Aakash Odedra Company, Songs of the Bulbul, photo Kuldeep Goswami