Tag Archives: Indian classical

Hypnotically Captivating Infinite Hope

Amjad Ali Khan, Rahim AlHaj, Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan – Infinite Hope (Ur Music, 2016)

Swimming in a plumy lushness, Infinite Hope, out on the Ur Music label, revisits the collaborative efforts of Indian sarod master and composer Amjad Ali Khan with Iraqi oud virtuoso and composer Rahim AlHaj. Following up on their Grammy-nominated 2010 recording Ancient Sounds, Mr. Khan and Mr. AlHaj are joined by Mr. Khan’s sons, also sarod players and composers in their own right, Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan. Sharing composition duties, this quartet dazzles listeners on this potently expressive musical collaboration.

Conjuring up a finely worked musical space crafted out of Middle Eastern and Indian musical traditions, Infinite Hope is masterful and elegantly sumptuous. Filling out Infinite Hope’s sound are tabla player Prashant Trivedi, percussionist Rakesh Bhardwaj, Chanda and djembe player Bubbi Negi, rhythm arranger and percussionist Parveen Sethi and rhythmic recitation singers Praveen Sethi and Rakesh Bhardwaj.

Opening with building percussion and rhythms and adding the lavish lines of sarod and oud, opening track “Virgin Earth” is a treat to the senses where the boundaries between Middle Eastern and Indian music wend together seamlessly as rhythmic recitation rounds out the track. Equally delicious is “Innocent River” composed by Ayaan Ali Khan and Rahim AlHaj as sarod and oud lines intertwine and break away.

The tracks of Infinite Hope offer up stringed mental maze where stringed oud and sarod of both musical traditions fashion a deeply hypnotic space. Equally delicious is the soothing track and one of the shortest at a mere four minutes and twenty-eight seconds, called “The Loving Mother.”

Infinite Hope takes off on a percussively rich journey on “Mystic Eternity” before gently coaxing listeners onto the meandering path of “Singing Soul.” Elegant lines and musical vocals that will raise the hairs on the back of your neck make up “Forgiving Planet” composed by Mr. AlHaj before Infinite Hope closes with the deeply luxuriant “Laughing Child.”

Infinite Hope is hypnotically captivating. It sets up a musical space by way of lengthy, lush tracks where time has no hope of interfering, because these masterful composers and musicians will take you where they want you to go in their own sweet time.

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Artist Profiles: Aditya Narayan Banerjee

Aditya Narayan Banerjee
Aditya Narayan Banerjee

Aditya Narayan Banerjee is an M.A. in Instrumental Music (percussion) from Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata. He was born in 1970 in a musical family. His father and sister both are sarod players. His uncle Sri B.B. Banerjee was a senior most disciple of Pandit Ravishankarji and A graded musician of AIR, New Delhi.

Aditya turned to tabla an early age of five when he started his training under guidance of Sri Shivshankar Karmakar, a prominent disciple of Late Ustad Karamatullah Khan of Farukhabad Gharana.

Since 1990 he has been under able guidance of the great tabla maestro Pandit Swapan Choudhuri, a great Exponent of Lucknow Gharana.

Aditya is Sangeet Prabhakar from Proyag Sangeet Samity, Allahabad and M. Mus from Troilokya Sangeet Parishad, Kolkata. He also completed a music appreciation course from West Bengal State Academy & is also a computer hardware and software engineer.

He was the faculty member of Pandit Jasraj school of Music Foundation, Tampa (Florida), USA. He also has to his credit execution of a joint workshop under the able guidance of Padmavibhusan Pandit Jasrajji.

Aditya led a Tabla Workshop for visually Impaired children at LaVoy Exceptional Center in Tampa, Florida, USA. He did a lecture demonstration at Renaissance Center For the non Indian audience organized by Project Ahimsha, Patel Foundation for Global Understanding & Renaissance Center for the Arts in Tampa.

www.adityabanerjee.com

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Artist Profiles: Aditya Kalyanpur

Aditya Kalyanpur
Aditya Kalyanpur

Indian tabla player Aditya Kalyanpur was born July 21, 1978 in Mumbai, India. A student of the legendary late Ustad Alla Rakha and today of Ustad Zakir Hussain with whom he has collaborated and performed for many years now. Aditya Kalyanpur is well known in the west for his solo performance during the Rolling Stones concert held in Bombay and for the recording collaboration with their saxophonist Tim Ries. He has participated in some important festivals in India and abroad.

He’s recorded with John Beasley (“American Idol” music director), performed with GRAMMY-winner John Popper at the prestigious Carnegie Hall NYC, and Founded the New England School of Music in Boston, MA, as well as established the Shyamal Music Foundation in Mumbai, India – a non-profit created to promote, preserve and propagate Indian classical music by giving a platform to the next generation of talented musicians.

Aditya Kalyanpur is currently a member of the fusion group Tihai.

http://www.adityakalyanpur.com

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Artist Profiles: Abhishek Basu

Abhishek Basu gave his first professional concert with santur maestro Tarun Bhattacharya. He was but a boy of eight when he first stepped into his guru’s home, where music reigned, in every possible form.

While Bikram Ghosh was away on long tours with Ravi Shankar, Abhishek had the privilege of taking lessons from the former’s father, the great tabla wizard Shankar Ghosh.

For the past years, Abhishek has intensely engaged himself with the study of rhythm. Presently, he is enriching his musical horizons with guidance from mridangam maestro Vidwan S. Sekhar. Though his technical underpinning derive from the Farrukhabad Gharana, Abhishek believes in the individual beauty of every gharana (school).

Abhishek’s individuality rests primarily on his modulations of the baya (the left hand bass drum). What distinguishes him most from his contemporaries is his ability to strike a perfect balance between power, clarity, and rhythmic sophistication. Bikram Ghosh says, “Abhishek is an extremely diligent and hard working tabla player. He is exceptionally talented, as is evident from the standard of performance he has achieved at such a young age. I can confidently say that he has a very bright future in professional tabla playing. He is sure to shine as one of the finest tabla players in our country in the near future.”

Awarded the First Prize at the annual music competition of the West Bengal State music Academy in 1996, Abhishek is also the recipient of the Pandit Jyan Prakash Ghosh Award (2001).

Abhishek has appeared in concert both as a soloist and accompanist in many. He has toured and performed with Tarun Bhattacharya, the celebrated santur virtuoso. Abhishek contributed significantly to Bhattacharya’s album Dance of the Gods, released by Bricklane, UK.

Abhishek released his first World music album Acrostic, with his world fusion band, ISM. Abhishek’s band has performed in the top venues of Kolkata.

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Artist Profiles: Abhisek Lahiri

Abhisek Lahiri
Abhisek Lahiri

At a young age Abhisek Lahiri rose to prominence as a sarod player in India. Abhisek has won the hearts of discerning audiences worldwide with his maturity, depth & perfection with enchanting tonal quality.

Abhisek was initiated in sarod and trained under the tutelage of his eminent father as well as Guru Pt. Alok Lahiri.

Abhisek is a proud recipient of the coveted National Scholarship for outstanding performance in Sarod, from the Ministry of Human Resource & Development and Tourism and Culture, Govt.of. India in 1996-97 and 2003.

Abhisek took part in the World Kinder Festival in Holland and enthralled the audiences as a Wonder Child Sarod Player in 1997. The Dutch Television network telecasts his recitals countrywide, repeatedly even now.

Abhisek won the coveted Anun Lund Rej Award worth Rs. 50,000- from the Norwegian Consulate in 1998 and has been honored by the Rotary International Club with Certificate Of Appreciation for his excellence in sarod in 2000. Abhisek has been honored with the prestigious Telegraph School Award as an outstanding talent.

Abhisek won the President Award in Sarod through All India Radio Music competition in the year 2000 and is at present a Graded regular artist of All India Radio and Doordarshan Kendra (Television).

http://sarodabhisek.com

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Artist Profiles: Abhiman Kaushal

Abhiman Kaushal - Photo by Daniel M Neuman
Abhiman Kaushal – Photo by Daniel M Neuman

Indian musician Abhiman Kaushal was initiated in the art of tabla by his father, R.M. Kaushal, who learned under the legendary Ustad Amir Hussain Khan. Abhiman also studied under Ustad Shiekh Dawood and Shri B. Nand Kumar. Abhiman is well known for his proficiency in the art of solo tabla as well as his sensitive accompaniment. His specialty lies in his rich tone and clarity.

Mr.Kaushal has accompanied most of the leading musicians of North Indian classical music including Pandit Ravi Shankar, Pandit Jasraj, Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Pandit Rajeev Taranath and Ustad Rais Khan. Abhiman Kaushal has toured throughout the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, Japan, and India.

Discography:

Spring
Legacy

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Artist Profiles: Abhijit Banerjee

Abhijit Banerjee
Abhijit Banerjee

Indian musician Abhijit Banerjee started learning tabla at a very young age from Sri Tushar Kanti Bose, later from Sri Manik Pal and finally came under the tutelage of Pandit Gyan Prakash Ghosh. As a child he won many Music competitions of national repute. Besides tabla he had his training in vocal music and in violin.

Abhijit is now a regular performer at all the major music conferences all over India and overseas.Besides accompanying all the major artistes of India, both in North Indian and South Indian traditions, he has presented himself as a solo performer in many music conferences in India and Abroad. He has toured extensively all over the world and also associated himself with Jazz world and performed with some Jazz musicians and groups in New York. Abhijit has conducted many seminars on Indian Classical Music at Universities in U.S.A., Japan, England and Spain.

Abhijit has recorded many CDs with many reputed companies accompanying almost all the major artists in Indian Classical Music today; as well as many well-known Jazz musicians. He has also recorded a tabla solo CD, which is now available from Magnasound and Peshkar CD.

Abhijit has composed music for TV serials and short films of which The Trails– a film on Calcutta- got the National Award and is invited in the film festivals in Amsterdam and Munich.

Abhijit had the privilege of representing India in the World Festival of Music held in Granada , Spain.

In his academic life he is a graduate in English and post graduate in Journalism.

Discography:

The Genius of Pandit Nikhil Banerjee (chhanda dhara)
Tarang (TIM Music)
Amjad Ali Khan
Phases (Times Music)
Teental (Peshkar)
Trur Rhythms of India (NA Classical)
Moonlight Whispers, with Larry Coryell (TIM Music)
Tagorespeare
Ami Chitrangada
Musical Moments of Rhythm (Magnasound)

www.abhijitbanerjee.com

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Artist Profiles: Abhijit Pohankar

Abhijit Pohankar
Abhijit Pohankar

Abhijit Pohankar was born June 29, 1975 in Mumbai, India. He bridges Indian classical music with chillout lounge electronic grooves, building a remarkably cross-generational and international fan base. The son of Indian music legend Maestro P.T Ajay, whose voice can be heard on Abhijt’s break-out album Piya Bavri he is a prolific composer in his own right with over 20 albums to date.

Abhijit is distinguished as a rare musician who can play Indian classical music on a keyboard. His fusion approach is backed by strong fundamentals, having studied music as a young man with Pandit Shivkumar Sharma. His song “Piya Bawari” was chosen for the Buddha Bar compilation, one of the world’s best-known series of global groove recordings and a springboard for countless artists to worldwide notoriety. He has performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival and the Cape Town Festival; with shows in leading concert halls and venues worldwide.

Discography:

Deeper Zone (Ninaad Music, 1998)
Syntileting Synthesizer (Neelam Audio, 1999)
Dharohar (Times Music, 2000)
Shanti (Times Music, 2001)
Tranquility (Sona Rupa, 2000)
Ekanth (Times Music, 2001)
Piya Bavari (Times Music, 2002)
Sajanwa (Music Today, 2004)
Kamasutra (Freespirit Eecords, 2004)
Koyaliya (Universal Music, 2004)
Piya Bavari Again (Times Music, 2006)
Urban Ragas (HMV, 2007)
Navkaar Mantra (HMV, 2007)
Thumri Funk (EMI, 2012)
Masters of Fusion: A definitive collection (EMI, 2012)

Official Web Site: www.abhijitpohankar.com

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Artist Profiles: Aashish Khan Debsharma

Aashish Khan
Aashish Khan

Aashish Khan Debsharma was born on December 5, 1939 in Maihar, India. He gave his first public performance at the age of 13, with his grandfather, the legendary Acharya Allauddin Khan on the All India Radio National Program”, New Delhi. That same year, he performed with his father Swara Samrat Ali Akbar Khan and grandfather at the “Tansen Music Conference”, Calcutta. Since then, he has performed throughout India and the world not only with his father, but as a soloist in his own right.

Besides his virtuosity as a traditional sarodist, Aashish pioneered in the establishment of the “world music” genre. He was a founder of the Indo-American musical group “Shanti” in 1969/70 and the fusion group The Third Eye for which he was the first to write a sarod concerto in the “raga” form.

Aashish has collaborated with such diverse Western musicians as John Barham, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Charles Lloyd, John Handy, Alice Coltrane, Emil Richards, Dallas Smith, John Pope, Jorge Strunz, Ardeshir Farah, and the Philadelphia String Quartet.

Discography:

Sarod: Sound of Mughal Court (1996)
Jugalbandi: Sarod & Sarangi Duet, with Ustad Sultan Khan (Chhanda Dhara, 2000)
Golden String of the Sarode, with Ustad Zakir Hussain (Moment Records, 2005)
Live in Los Angeles, with Ustad Alla Rakha (2007)
Inner Voyage, with Alan Scott Bachman and George Grant (Desert Wind Music, 2010)
Jugalbandi II, with Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri and Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia (Times Music)

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Smt. Kalyani Varadarajan – Outstanding Carnatic Music Woman Composer of the Century

Kalyani Varadarajan
Kalyani Varadarajan

Smt. Kalyani (1926-2003), daughter of Sriman Nadadoor Ammal Narasimhachariar and Srimati Singarammal, has been one of the very few modern woman composers of Camatic music of 20th Century. She has the distinction of composing in all the 72 melakarta ragas and also in very rare/Apoorva ragas. Her father Sriman Narasimhachariar who was a teacher, Head Master and then Inspector of schools, was a distinguished poet in Telugu and Sanskrit in Andhra Region.

She had an in-born quality to compose lyrics and set them into music herself from an early age. Being brought up in family of scholars in Telugu and Sanskrit, Smt. Kalyani started her initiation in Camatic music in Veena and vocal at a very early age under her mother and sister and also under able gurus. Thereafter she learnt Violin in Madras. She started composing songs at a very early age on Lord Yoga Narasimha of Gatikakshetrarn – Solangipuram- Tamil Nadu, who was her Ishta Daivata. Her first debut in Veena concert was in AIR Madras at the age of 16.

After her marriage with Sri Varadarajan, who was then working in the Indian Army and then in Indian Railways, Smt. Kalyani shifted to Mumbai and settled there. In the year 1956 she performed in the Maharashtra Sangeeta Sammelan where she was honored with gold medal by the then Chief Minister Sri Morarji Desai. That was the time when she joined All India Radio, Mumbai by invitation in the Camatic music department (perhaps one of the first in that department). During her tenure in AIR, for about 30 years, she has accompanied a number of artists on Violin and has participated in orchestra (s).

Her quest for composing kritis in Camatic classical music in Telugu, Sanskrit and Tamil was ever growing with her. She could compose with ease number of kritis in different rare ragas. Due to her rich study and knowledge in Hindustani Music and her acquaintance with great musicians like Pt. Gajaanan Rao Joshi, VV Jog and others. She was able to sing/play Hindustani ragas effortlessly. This she applied in her kritis also. She has composed a number of kritis in Hindustani ragas like Bahar, Dundubi, Bagasri, Jayajayawanti (Dwijavanti) Gowda Malhar, Jonpuri, Gurjari Todi, Madhukauns, and Chandrakauns.

Smt. Kalyani’s compositions are on different God/Goddess/Godheads in different language. Her Kaanada composition on Lord Venkateswara – ‘Saptagirisam sada Bhajeham’ is a popular kriti sung by many veteran artists of Camatic music. She has composed kriits in rare ragas like Bhavapriya, Bhavani, Yagapriya, Vijayanagari etc. She has composed on Lord Venkateshwara (Saptha Girisham in Kaanada, Maha Venkateswara in Raga Bahudari), Ranganatha of Srirangam temple (Vainatheya Vaahanam in raga Mohanam).

It is understood that she composed songs when ever and where ever she visited a temple. That was her way of admiring and expression of feelings. For instance when she had visited Yadagiri district, Jwala Narasimhan temple, she composed a kriit in the raga Kanada. Similarly when she visited Chamundeshwari temple she composed ‘Chandikeshwareem Asrayamyaham’ in the raga Abhogi. Apart from this she has composed two vamams – one tana vamam in raga Subhapanthuvarali (Pahimam Payorasi Putri) and One pada vamam in the raga Vachaspathi on Raja-rajeswari- This is a Pada vamam is more apt for the dance concert. She has composed a Thillana in the raga Bhushavali and a raga malika in rupaka tala. Her compositions are well appreciated and rendered by many musicians all over. Her works were popularized and propagated by various senior performing musicians like (late) Prof. Sh. T.R. Subramaniam, Tanjore S. Kalyanaraman, Madurai Somasundaram (Somu), S. Rajam etc.

Her compositions carry Chittaswaras, madyamakala sahitya and a careful application of grammatical aspects of Camatic music like Yati, Prasam, Samasam, Vibhakti etc. Perhaps she has followed the footsteps of Muthuswami Dikshitar in her compositions. The words incorporated in the sahitya are of very high order with appropriate usage. She used the Svanama Mudra ‘Kalyani’ or ‘Kalyani Varada’as her signature in the compositions. The mudra blends with the sahitya, as it appears.

Smt. Kalyani Varadarajan had the rare distinction of being a performing musician in three different genres and graded in Vocal, Violin and Veena and has given concerts on the AIR (All India Radio) and also on the stage. She has toured to USA and Japan etc. for concerts during the days when global travel was not all that common like the present day.

Smt. Kalyani passed away on 28th October 2003, and her memories are cherished through her compositions.

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