Tag Archives: Indian classical

Sarod Virtuoso Alam Khan to Perform in New York

Alam Khan

Sarod master Alam Khan is set to perform on Friday, April 7, 2017, 8:00 p.m. in Manhattan, New York. Alam Khan will celebrate his father, the acclaimed sarod player and teacher Ali Akbar Khan, on what would have been his 95th Birthday. Om Gam Ensemble will be the opening act.
Alam Khan will be joined by Nitin Mitta on tabla. Alam has toured internationally and established himself as Ali Akbar Khan’s genuine heir and the face of a new cohort of sarod players.

Alam Khan is the torch bearer of a very distinguished and important Indian music tradition,” says WMI Artistic Director Par Neiburger. “His father and teacher Ali Akbar Khan was widely regarded as one of the most important and influential Indian musicians of all time. His work popularized the music of India in the West, and the Ali Akbar College—which Alam is now the head teacher of—has had countless students spreading this important tradition around the world.”

Masters of Indian Music
Friday, April 7, 2017, 8:00 p.m.
(Le) Poisson Rouge
158 Bleecker Street, Manhattan
Tickets: $25-$35
www.worldmusicinstitute.org

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A Double Delight For Carnatic Music Fans in Muscat

 

Fresh from the memory of momentous inaugural concert by Prince Rama Varma, music fans in Muscat are being treated to a double delight by Nadopasana. A totally voluntary organization dreamed up by a bunch of die-hard rasikas of classical Carnatic music, Nadopasana is in its very first year of service to the music lovers of Oman. Encouraged by the support provided by its well-wishers, the organizing team has arranged for two concerts by promising young musicians who are currently making waves in the Indian music scene.

 

Mrs Nandini Neelakantan

 

The concerts, planned for the 25th of March 2017 at the Krishna Temple, Darsait, Muscat, will feature Mrs Nandini Neelakantan in the morning session and Mr Vignesh Ishwar in the evening.

Mrs Neelakantan (nee NJ Nandini of Trivandrum), stormed the Carnatic music scene a few years back by winning many of the reality competition shows on Indian television channels. Blessed with a lovely voice and a matching countenance, she has imbibed everything from her Gurus and created an enchanting style of her own. Yet to be 25, she is already an “A” grade artiste with All India Radio, and has performed over 700 concerts in India and abroad. If her track record is any indication, the discerning audience in Muscat is in for a real treat on Saturday, the 25th March. Her concert starts at 10.00 am.

Sri M. S. Ananthakrishnan

 

She will be accompanied by Sri M S Ananthakrrishnan, the youngest torch bearer of the great Parur style of violin playing, made internationally famous by his grandfather Sri M.S. Anantharaman and the legendary Sri M. S. Gopalakrishnan.

The Parur style emphasizes strict adherence to sruti and focuses on the gayaki style of playing the violin. In recent years, young Ananthakrrishnan has repeatedly won laurels for upholding the trend set by his illustrious predecessors.

The percussion accompaniment for Nandini will be by her brother Sri Nandagopal, already a well-known and much sought after mridangist, vocalist and teacher in Muscat. As a loving elder sibling, Nandagopal has been nurturing Nandini’s career and his presence and support on the mridangam is bound to bring the very best out of Nandini.

 

Sri N. J. Nandagopal

 

The evening concert, scheduled to begin at 6:00 pm, will feature another rising star in the Carnatic scene, Sri Vignesh Ishwar. Born with the advantage of belonging to a musically evolved family, Vignesh has grasped the essence of Carnatic music, which is revealed in impressive stage presence, and confident rendition of alapanas, kritis and kalpana swarams.

Making good use of his technical background (he holds a masters in sound and music technology), Vignesh has been involved in many innovative schemes to improve and preserve the great heritage of classical Indian music. He has a bagful of honors and awards to his credit, and there is no doubt he will leave his mark on the Muscat audience.

 

Sri Vignesh Ishwar

 

Young Ananthakrishnan will be Vignesh’s violin accompanist. It is creditable that Ananthakrishnan has agreed to play the violin for a lead female and male artiste on the same day, as this can be technically demanding.

 

R Srinivasan

 

The mridangist for the evening will be Delhi R Srinivasan, who has an enviable track record as an accompanist to almost all the great vocalists and instrumentalists who have visited Delhi in the last thirty odd years. He has been chosen to accompany many of these artistes abroad on their concert tours, such is his level of understanding the role of a percussionist. Another Muscat boy, Srinivasan is bound to delight the many locals who already know his prowess.

Saturday the 25th March promises to be an exciting day, alright!

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A Different Look at a Concert with a Difference – but a Remarkable Feat

Some years back, I wrote an article titled “What makes for an interesting concert?” Although it was part of a concert review, I was doing some introspection while trying to find a solution to that question. I should have waited. Prince Rama Varma’s concert at the Krishna Temple, Muscat, on 25th February, under the auspices of Nadopasana, provided the answer unambiguously. I came away immensely satisfied, and can now understand not only what makes a concert interesting, but also what gives a sense of fulfillment to the discerning rasika. And this, despite the concert not having an RTP. A remarkable feat indeed.

The success of a concert, I realized, lies in the ability of the main artist to communicate with the audience, and not just by a show of his repertoire or virtuosity. Rama Varma and his team were sitting on the stage. But for the audience, they may as well have been sitting in their midst, talking, making eye contact, and wholesomely reaching out, to almost everyone in the audience of over 400 people.

The proof was there for all to see. No one, not a single child, moved during the entire concert, no phones rang, and extra chairs were pulled to accommodate curious entrants to the temple hall who were drawn into Varma’s enchanting web of music mixed with conversation. He introduced every kriti with an anecdote that took you an immense step closer to the creative instinct of the composer. He has a sense of spontaneous, inoffensive humor which he uses liberally in all his concerts. He can play on words like few others in his field. (for example, he urged people to Google the meaning of various keertanas, gently reminding those present that they were not missing out by skipping a Tamil play (based on Google) that was going on at a nearby venue). I think that by the time he was done, he had aroused the interest of many students and rasikas into exploring the world of composers, sahithyas and meanings of the thousands of wonderful kritis now extant.

Not for nothing is he well known for bringing rare kritis to the concert platform, in keeping with similar work done by his esteemed guru, Sri Balamurali Krishna. How many would have heard Mali’s immortal “magudi” piece in oral form? We were the lucky few last Saturday.

Rama Varma

Rama Varma had accepted a request from the local organizers and came to the city nearly four days prior to the concert. He gave of his fullest during this time: three elaborate classes for aspiring musicians of the city (age range 7 to 71!). He indulged a mixed audience to a lecture demonstration on Indian classical music and its position viz. other forms of world music. The lec-dem was at the Indian Embassy, Muscat, and the brain child of the ambassador of India.

The students he taught had been forewarned that they may be asked to sing along at the end of the main concert, but he still managed to make it all exciting: He announced to the audience that he had “discovered” a few people knew some of the songs he liked to sing, so would they please join him from wherever they were sitting? It was a kind of a musical Flash-Mob, if you like, and one that endeared him to every single person in the hall – his students and their parents (or children!) beaming with pride, the unknowing amongst the audience pleasantly surprised, and the whole hall reverberating to an orchestra of classical Carnatic music in its purest form!

When it was all over, as all concerts must, there was a deep sense of longing in the hearts of all rasikas, lay and connoisseur alike. It was reflected by the most asked question when people queued up to meet him and his team – when do we see you again?

I will break from the standard pattern of listing and elaborating on the nuances of each kriti he sang, for two good reasons: I have dwelled long enough on other aspects of this memorable concert. More importantly, Varma generously allows all of his concerts to be uploaded to YouTube, and it would be presumptuous of me to explain what was good and what was excellent – everyone is welcome to their own opinion. I notice that already some noble soul has uploaded the flash-mob bits at youtube.com. I must hasten to add though that the success of this master craftsman’s concert was to a large extent because of his longtime associates – Sri SR Vinu on the violin and Dr G Babu on the mridangam, both “musicians who are magicians” in their own right.

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The Festival of Indian Classical Music @ Sunad

 

If Spring Season cometh to Delhi can the The Festival of Indian Classical Music @ Sunad be far behind.

This year’s Musical Festival is indeed a kaleidoscopic pattern, integrating various subtle genres of the Indian Classical Music. It starts with a Hindustani Instrumental rendering by veteran Suvir Misra on the rudhra veena. Suvir Misra is an Indian musician – vocalist, musicologist, and is an expert in the rudhra veena. He is accompanied by Pandit Mohan Shyam Sharma who is one of the leading pakhawaj players of India.

 

Suvir Misra

 

This is immediately followed by a grand Carnatic music Vocal concert by Sandeep Narayan (who has relocated to India from Los Angeles purely for his passion for music) accompanied on the violin by Delhi P. Sunder Rajan and on the mridangam by Delhi M.V. Chander Shekar. So much for the morning session menu for the 18th Mar. Saturday.

Sunday the 19th evening features another Double delight. It starts with a Carnatic music vocal duet by young Kumari Archana and Kumari Samanvi. They are accompanied on the violin by Delhi R. Sridhar and on the mridangam by Vinod Shyam.

 

Saraswati Rajagopalan

 

This is followed by the unique Samvad which is a musical fusion based on the harmonious exchange of musical expressions and rhythms. This is featured by the versatile Veena Vidushi Saraswati Rajagopalan on the veena; Ajay Prasanna on flute; Anil Chawla on keyboard; Anoor Anantha Krishna Sharma on mridangam; Vinod Shyam on tabla; and S. Pranav Dath on rhythm pad.

Saraswati Rajagopalan has the distinction of having featured on all the Sunad events in various formats as Solo, Jugalbandhi, Orchestra/Fusion music and now the Samvad. This is supported and sponsored by the Ministry of Culture of the Government of India. All are Welcome.

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The Genders of Indian Music Concert in London

On March 5, 2017 the Asian Music Circuit will present a concert in London of North Indian Classical music. The event deals with the gender roles within North Indian Classical music and how these roles have transformed over time.

The concert will showcase Uday Bhawalkar, who will sing in the Dhrupad style that is conventionally performed by male singers. He will be accompanied by Chirangana Agle-Reshwal, who has attracted a lot of attention as the first well-known female performer of an instrument that until recently was habitually only played by men, the pakhawaj (a barrel drum).

Uday Bhawalkar

 

The concert will also feature Manjiri Asanare Kelkar, who sings in the Khyal style, another genre usually associated with men. She will be accompanied by the male tabla player Sanjay Deshpande.

 

Manjiri Asanare Kelkar

 

Sanjay Deshpande

 

March 5, 2017
Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
Starts: 6:00pm
Royal Albert Hall
Kensington Gore
London
SW7 2AP
UK
Phone: 020 7589 8212
www.royalalberthall.com

headline photo: Chirangana Agle-Reshwal

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Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh to Perform at Celtic Connections Festival 2017

Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh

EarthSync will present the Carnatic tradition of veena virtuoso Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh live at the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow, Scotland. Celtic Connections is a large, influential music festival that celebrates Scottish music as well as Celtic and world music and other forms of roots music.

Jayanthi Kumaresh is an internationally renowned Carnatic veena maestro hailing from a distinguished family of musicians who have been immersed in the Carnatic tradition for seven generations. She has been playing the instrument since she was 5 years old, and will showcase a selection of evening ragas. Her performances at Celtic Connections 2017 will take place on Friday, January 27th at 7:30pm, and Saturday, January 28th at 8:00 pm.

I’m looking forward to presenting the national instrument of India – the Saraswati Veena – to an international audience in Glasgow, introducing many of them to the textures of this instrument that has a 15000 year old tradition originating from the Vedic period” says Kumaresh, “I would like to give credit to EarthSync for taking this instrument far and wide where people haven’t heard of it – it’s a great service to the cause of Indian Classical music to facilitate this exposure”.

For more information, visit: www.celticconnections.com

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Artist Profiles: Anupama Bhagwat

Anupama Bhagwat

Sitar player Anupama Bhagwat is one of the leading sitar disciples of the world-renowned Pandit Shri Bimalendu Mukherjee. Her sensitivity and erudition has taken her to the highest echelons of the modern genre, while remaining true to tradition. She has imbibed the vigor that is a hallmark of her Gharana: scintillating fast taans, mastery of the meditative alaap and brilliant fluency of melody (raag bhava), all the while maintaining her technical virtuosity.

Anupama was born in 1974 in a musically inclined family in Bhilai, India. She began her musical training in Bhilai with Shri R. N. Verma at the age of nine, having received her uncle’s sitar as a gift. At the age of thirteen, she commenced her tutelage with Pandit Shri Bimalendu Mukherjee, a doyen of the famous Imdadkhani Gharana. Under her Guruji’s guidance, Anupama acquired the finesse and technical nuances of the Gayaki style, while bringing out its lyrical beauty with the emotive cadences of the sitar. During this time, Anupama was conferred the title Surmani, by Sur Sringar Sansad, Bombay (1995); she won First Position in the All India Radio Music Competition (1994), as well as a HRD Scholarship from the Government of India (1993-1996).

Now as an established artist, besides her concert appearances worldwide, Anupama conducts sitar workshops and lecture-demonstrations.

Anupama obtained her Masters in music from Indira Kala Sangeet Vishwavidyalaya (Khairagarh), India.

Discography:

Confluence (Felmay Records, 2009)

Website /www.anupamabhagwat.com

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Artist Profiles: Krishna Bhatt

Krishna Bhatt

Pandit Krishna Bhatt was born into a family of musicians, poets and Sanskrit scholars who for five generations upheld their tradition in Rajasthan. Krishna was introduced to the musical traditions of Senia school by his father, who was a distinguished sitarist of his time, the late Pt. Shashi Mohan Bhatt.

In his teens, Krishna’s musical grooming was further enhanced by many years of study under the tutelage of his Guru Pt. Ravi Shankar, and legendary musicians Pt. Nikhil Banerjee and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, who had a strong impact on Krishna’s musical growth.

While developing his own individual style, Krishna’s music was greatly influenced by twentieth century stalwarts such as the vocalists Amir Khan, Bade Gulam Ali Khan, Abdul Karim Khan, Begum Akhtar, Shobha Gurtu as well as renowned folk singers of Rajasthan. Krishna’s repertoire in performance includes a wide variety of rare and old traditional compositions from these masters of music.

Krishna Bhatt has performed in major festivals on three continents. In India, his concerts include appearances in the prestigious Saptak Music Festival in Ahmedabad, Haridas Sangeet Sammelan in Bombay and the Desert Festival in Jaiselmer. His performances in Europe include concerts in Berlin, London, Paris, Brussels, Luxembourg, and appearances at the Venice Bienale, Lugano Music Festival, Zurich’s Reitberg Museum, Guitarra International in Cordoba, [wiki:Spain] and I Suoni Del Tempo in Cesena, Italy.

In the United States, his performances include concerts at the Herbst Theater and the Great American Music Hall, San Francisco; Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space and the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York.

Partial Discography:

Bouquet of Sentiments (Gurukul Music)

Raga Chandni Kedar / Raga Kafi (Playasound, 1994)

No Man’s Land, with Terry Riley (Plainisphare, 1996)

Kirwani: Essence of a Raag (Amiata, 1997)

Dancing in the Light of the Full Moon (Amiata, 1998)

Wonder & Desire

Rasa, with Jody Stecher (Rooster Records, 1981)

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Artist Profiles: Taufiq Qureshi

Taufiq Qureshi – Photo by Vaibhav Kapadi

Taufiq Qureshi, son and disciple of tabla maestro Ustad Allarakha, is an acclaimed composer and commanding percussionist. His trademark style incorporates body and vocal percussion to create distinctive rhythmic motifs spanning across cultures.

His albums have been released internationally and he has performed at major music festivals throughout the world. He has been greatly influenced by his brother Zakir Hussain and has been privileged to receive guidance from Ghatam Vidhwan Pandit “Vikku” Vinayakram.

While the realm of studio music keeps him constantly engaged creatively, Taufiq is continuously evolving as a percussionist in live performance.

Discography:

Colours of Rajasthan (Music Today, 1995)
Rhydhun (Music Today, 2000)
Swar Utsav – Streams In Confluence (2001)
Rhydhun Gold (2002)
Mondo Beat – Masters of Percussion
India The Greatest Songs Ever
Taalisma (2002)
PercJam (2003)
Bombay Fever (2006)
Mystic Soundscapes – Forest (2007)
Rooh – Songs From The Heart (2007)
TaDhaa- An Expression Of High Energy (2011)
Spark (Music Today)
The Oath Of Vaayuputras (2013)

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Artist Profiles: Shankhachur Lahiri

Shankh Lahiri
Shankh Lahiri

Tabla performer Shankh Lahiri comes from a family with a strong tradition of Indian Classical Music and has fully devoted his life to this music. Son of the sitarist and Guru Shri Rabindranath Lahiri, he grew up in an environment imbued with the fragrance of Hindustani music.

As a child, Shankh Lahiri received intensive training in both vocal and tabla from his father and went on to graduate with a Sangeet Visharad in both subjects. Currently Shankh, as he is known in the fraternity, is the senior disciple of world-renowned tabla maestro Pandit Nayan Ghosh.

He has accompanied and toured with many reputed and leading artists such as Pt. Jasraj, Ustad Shujaat Khan, Ustad Shahid Parvez, Pt. Arati Ankalikar, Nayan Ghosh (sitar), Pt. Mukul Shivputra, Shri Rakesh Chaurasia and many more.

Aside from his own performing career, Shankh teaches students in Florida through his own organization, Shruti School of Music and the non-profit Shruti Foundation in Tampa.

Shankh is a member of world fusion band WAHH.

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