The zerOclasikal project was set up in 2013 as platform for a radical approach to south Asian classical music - facilitating progressions, experiments, and developments in the genre, through a ‘contemporary’ mindset. 

Commissioning of new work and organizing the frequency of performance is our central mission and activity. 

We are also setting up infrastructures for an industry for next-gen south Asian classical musicianship, trained in the UK  - such as building of a touring circuit, agency and recording label.


The project has its roots in an evaluation of a project that zeroculture produced:  a dance season – UKGharana in 2011. 

It identified two main areas for development – 

First - there is now a large cohort of highly skilled and talented SAC British born musicianship which has been trained from a very young age in this country but do not have pathways or incentives to professional careers. 

Secondly, as sector of musicians themselves identified – their artform lacks the own ‘British identity’. The music is treated as a ‘package’ of cultural traditions that are all adopted along with the music – some of which may not reflect the upbringing of the musicians themselves. For instance, “why do I need to wear a kurta to perform, I never wear one otherwise”. 

 - Whilst the music has firm foundations, many are not given the tools for looking beyond their teaching to create new pieces of work. 

 Musicians do not feel the need to provoke intelligible responses within their music, but rather concentrate on performing the ‘correct’ repertoire which we believe needs to be adapted for contemporary audiences and opening up artists to think outside of the box is a change that needs to take place.  

With those as main drivers, zerOclassikal has set out to deliver a unique and fundamental approach to SAC development in the UK: 

a) form - in relation to its structural progression; and b) industry in relation to performance and presentation. 

The starting points are 

 • Treat SAC music termed as classical or traditional as contemporary. Historical perspective makes a strong case for this. By approaching as contemporary, artists are enabled with a ‘current’ mindset – making possible an exposition of a current narrative. 

 • The distinction of approaches to dramaturgy for a framework that incorporates the aesthetics of a British south Asian mindset whose evaluators are not necessarily the national press but the vernacular of that community base. This approach is to enable a strong sub-culture in the work both in ownership and branding. 

 • Accommodate a new culture of learning – away from the ‘Guru-Shishya’ model – i.e. where students are restricted by their gurus from trying out new ideas and exploring other relationships. And in this way, it allows for a confidence to a British trained musician to be independent from the Indian sub-continental hierarchy.