Canadian Bansuri Master Catherine Potter Dies at 52

Catherine Potter - Photo by Paul Stewart
Canadian musician Catherine Potter lost her battle with breast cancer on December 3, 2010, at the age of 52. She was widely considered Canada’s master bansuri player. The bansuri is a bamboo Indian flute which she studied in India under the guidance of renowned Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia.

Potter was born in Guelph, Ontario. She held a master’s degree in ethnomusicology from the Université de Montréal as well as a bachelor’s in jazz studies from Concordia University. She received several grants from the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec and the Canada Council for the Arts, and won the Jon Higgins Award in 1999.

She collaborated with a number of musicians in Canada and in India: Boubacar Diabaté, Simon Shaheen, Ramasutra, and Ganesh Anandan, among others.

Her world music ensemble group Duniya Project, which she founded in 2002, garnered acclaim in the Americas, Europe, and India. Duniya, meaning ‘world’ in several languages, evokes both the global flavor of the music and the bringing together of outstanding core musicians and guests from varied musical backgrounds performing in diverse permutations.

Duniya Project included Jorge Martinez on flamenco guitar, Nicolas Caloia on double-bass, Vineet Vyas on tabla and Thom Gossage on drums. Previous guests included Palestinian oud player, Simon Shaheen; tabla-player, Subhankar Bannerjee; and Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia.

She released her first CD, Bansuri, in 1997. Her second album, Duniya Project, came out in 2006.

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3 thoughts on “Canadian Bansuri Master Catherine Potter Dies at 52”

  1. Catherine used to play flute with my dad Rampersad Ramdass ( tablas )
    As a boy I used to listen with my dog in the living room , as they played music together.
    During Catherine’s flute playing, Ginger (our overly excitable border collie) would remain
    very calm, quiet and focused on Catherine’s music. Me too! It was almost impossible to keep
    that dog quiet any other time.

    I doubt anyone could resist the hypnotic effect of Cathy’s music.
    When she found out my dad was dying of cancer in 2008, Cathy came to his bedside and played flute for him.
    We have good memories of Catherine, her kindness and incredible musical gift.
    Vishnu Ramdass

  2. I am so sad to hear of the passing of our dear Catherine Potter. Catherine was exemplary in her complete dedication, despite natural barriers. She paved a path for many younger Canadian artists to fully explore distinct South Asian traditions with the masters, and freely create new music back home, while deeply respecting the traditions.

    She was a leader in Montreal’s arts community, a young veteran of the Canadian ‘word music’ scene, and will surely be deeply missed.

    Jonathan

  3. I am just absolutely amazed by her work and shocked to find this!
    I wish to learn from her work through listening to her recordings. May she live in everyones heart forever by her music.

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