Uniting Arts through Hearts

Our Story

Our aim has always been to “Unite Hearts through Arts,”  by giving our audiences memorable, inspirational experiences in Indian Arts through a year round programme of performances, tours, commissions, festivals and innovative educational projects which create and provide sustained career development opportunities for artists learning and practising different genres of Indian Arts.

We’re a small team with a big dream, and over the last 35 years we’ve grown from doing weekend community events a few times a year to producing concerts and other events across the UK throughout the year, creating an orchestra, ensemble and choir, producing albums, launching careers , creating internationally renowned educational programmes and we’ve still got lots more coming!

This timeline, though not exhaustive, covers some of the highlights of our work over the years.

1985 – 1990

  • 1985
    Milap begins with “Indian Cultural Evenings”. Founded by Dr Prashant Nayak and a group of like-minded friends to provide meaningful cultural activities which enhance friendship, understanding and cooperation between the Host community and people of South Asian origin who have made their home in Britain.
  • 1987
    This quickly becomes a seven-day festival of Indian arts in Liverpool, incorporating music, dance, films, visual arts, crafts and the presence of Indian food at all events. Over the next 6 years, the week-long festival becomes a year round programme of diverse art forms, as Milap’s audiences continue to grow and share interest in South Indian Arts. 
  • 1990
    Milap become revenue clients of Merseyside Arts, and are encouraged to seek charitable trust status. 

1991 – 1996

  • 1991
    The ‘Music for the Mind and Soul’ concert series is born.  
  • The organisation receives charitable status. 
  • 1993
    Milap Festival Trust becomes a registered charity and an incorporated company, with the aim of creating a programme that supports arts and culture throughout Merseyside.  

1997 – 2003

  • 1997
    From 1997, the organisation has been regularly funded by Arts Council England. 
  • 19992000
    The move to Manchester, working closely with two iconic venues: The Bridgewater Hall & The Lowry. Milap’s audience continues to grow throughout the North West. 
  • 2002
    The ground-breaking dance event Dance Yatra 2002 takes place, presenting 300 dancers from all over Britain to an excited audience of over 1,500 people. 
  • A successful application to Arts Council England for grant funding allows for the creation of a National South Asian Music Youth Orchestra (SAMYO) is created by Milap, premiering at The Lowry. 
  • 2003
    Following the creation of SAMYO, a new senior Ensemble called TARANG for musicians aged between 18-30 was created. 
  • Milap produced and hosted ‘Sangeet Sabha’, the very first National Conference for South Asian Music at the Bridgewater Hall in 2003, followed in 2004 at The Lowry and in 2006 at the Peepul Centre in Leicester.  

2004 – 2010

  • 2005
    Milap premieres the Music for the Mind & Soul concert series in London, at the Southbank Centre.
  • 2007
    DANCE INDIA is created; an International Summer School at The Lowry. 
  • 2009
    Tarang produces its first full length album and beings touring
  • 2010
    Milap’s 25th anniversary season kicks-off with performances, events and festivals across the country.
  • Sabrang, the U.K’s Indian music choir, is loosely formed at Milap’s Music India Summer School.
  • The same year, the organisation moves to new offices at Liverpool Hope University’s Creative Campus. Milap takes up residence at the new state of the art Capstone Theatre.  

2011 – 2015

  • 2011
    Milap extends its reach internationally by creating a partnership with Apsaras Arts of Singapore, allowing for international collaboration and exchange between artists, productions and education projects. 
  • The international edition of Dance India is created – Dance India Asia Pacific.   
  • The Arts School, weekly Indian music and dance classes, launches at Hope University. 
  • 2012
    ‘Undiscovered India’ launches; a season of events featuring rarely seen performers and artists perform across the North West. 
  • 2013
    SAMYO celebrate their ten year anniversary with a new album ‘SAMYO TEN’ and a gala concert at The Southbank Centre.  
  • The first Indika Festival premiers in Liverpool featuring a week full of concerts, workshops and talks featuring some of the biggest names in Indian classical music and dance 
  • 2014
    The Milapfest Institute for Indian Arts, Sannidhi, is created in partnership with and housed at Liverpool Hope University.  The institute welcomes students, academics and Indain arts aficianados to dive in and learn more about Indian arts via a large physical collection of books , dvds and cds as well as explore a digital audio archive of over 5000 live recordings donated by the TAG centre in Chennai, India.  
  • 2015
    Instruments INDIA, a brand new digital sound archive and educational resource featuring a variety of Indian classical and folk instruments is created  

2016 – NOW

  • 2016
    Milap creates the ‘National Indian Arts Awards’, giving recognition to teachers, practitioners, and students across the UK for their dedication, hard work and achievements in Indian arts.  The awards ceremony is held at the Southbank Centre in London. 
  • 2017
    Milap are commissioned to produce the Beatles Ragafest and Indian Festival Village as part of the Sgt Pepper at 60 celebrations across Liverpool.   
  • 2019
    Alok Nayak is announced as New CEO & Artistic Director of Milap 
  • 2020
    Milap responds to the COVID-19 pandemic by moving the MFMS series online, with several concerts recorded live for YouTube. Two brand new online series are launched; Diwali Online and 12 Days of Milap as well as online learning opportunities. 
  • 2021
    Instruments INDIA sample pack competition takes place, inviting young musicians to create a new piece of music using Milap’s rich Instruments INDIA archive.  
  • 2022
    Milap announces partnership with Liverpool’s brand new venue, the Yoko Ono Lennon Centre at the Tung Auditorium with the aim of presenting an array of Indian music performances and productions along with premieres of new works by SAMYO and Tarang and a series of events throughout the year to include the biennial Indika Festival.   
  • An Instruments INDIA sample pack is made available on internationally renowned sampling platform, Loopmasters.   

The story continues…

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