Author: Jodi Hewat
The Kalavant Center should be commended for presenting an entertaining concert on May 20th much enjoyed by the large and diverse crowd taking advantage of the fine weather Saturday afternoon in Union Square Park (New York). The Center chose to feature the talents of its students for this performance and in doing so, emphasized its commitment in promoting and preserving traditional music and dance of South Asia, particularly the classical traditions of India. Students ranging in age from 7 to 70 performed alongside their instructors in an engaging musical exchange.
The show began with young sitar students Anise Rau, 8, and Nikita Rau, 10, who performed with delicacy and maturity surprising for only eight months of instruction.
Following the girls was Aruna Kadayan who presented three ghazals accompanied by Ustad Kadar Khan, founding director of Kalavant Center, on tabla and Kalavant
instructor Rafiq Khan on harmonium. Ms. Kadayan captivated the audience with her
charming voice and musical fluency.
Next, advanced sitar students Sanjay Kumar, Kevin Dunham and Stergios Athanassoglou, skillfully performed a complex raga with their instructor Bina Kalavant. An accomplished tabla student, Jason Rinker, then took the stage to accompany musicians and Kalavant instructors, Javed Khan on sitar, Imran Khan on tabla and Rafiq Khan on sarangi.
Subsequently, tabla student Hans Taparia adeptly accompanied Bina Kalavant and Rafiq Khan for an elegant performance of Puriya dhanashri raga followed by tabla student Richard Haynes who accompanied sitarist Javed Khan with sensitivity.
The rousing final item, a tabla trio with Ustad Kadar Khan, Imran Khan and 7-year-old tabla student Jude Fernandez, delighted the audience as much for the energy and virtuosity of Ustad Khan as for the prodigious talent of young Mr. Fernandez. Sitar student Nita Yawanarajah was a polished emcee and sound for the concert was skillfully managed by tabla student Tim Klemt.
Nathan Waxman, a legal advisor to the Kalavant Center, referenced Union Square Park’s historical significance as a meeting place where New Yorkers from disparate backgrounds have long united in common causes, whether political or cultural, to note that the park was a perfect venue to promote the Center’s mission, and judging by the diversity in age and cultures of the Center’s students as well as the audience who attended the event, the Kalavant Center is admirably achieving its goals.
The Kalavant Center is located at 326
East 11th Street, Suite #2, New York, NY 10003.