Tag Archives: sitar

Artist profiles: Hasu Patel

Hasu Patel

Hasu Patel, a disciple of sitar legend Ustad Vilayat Khan Saheb is one of the few distinguished female artists performing today Classical Music on sitar, the most popular string instrument of India. As a performer, composer, and a teacher, she has dedicated her life to preserving and propagating in its pristine purity the fascinating, highly evolved Classical Music of ancient India.

Born in the culturally rich city of Baroda, India, she began her musical studies in early childhood. Her father was her mentor who instilled the love and discipline needed to become a musician. At the age of 1″, she made her first public appearance. And after many years of rigorous training under her illustrious Gurus Prof. N.B. Kikani and Ustad Anwar Khan Saheb”, she became the first woman to receive a music degree with Gold medal in the 75 years history of the Faculty of Fine Arts Baroda”, India. She has received many awards” scholarships and fellowships including at the age of 21, the first prize winner in the State of Gujarat for the stringed instrument competition held by All India Radio.

Shortly thereafter, she emigrated to the United States, and has pursued music ceaselessly for over two decades. Hasu plays the sitar in a very special style known as ‘Gayaki Ang’ (Singing Style)”, where the sitar replicates fluidity and subtle nuances of the human voice which she learned from her Guru Ustad Vilayat Khan Saheb of Imdad Khani Gharana, whose innovative technique of Gayaki Ang is his most significant contribution to music inheritance.

She has performed the Classical Music of India known as ‘Raga Sangeet’ (scientific” precise, subtle and aesthetic system of melodic notes accompanied with rhythm of tremendous vitality on Tabla”, a pair of two drums) at various Performing Art Centers” Music Conferences, World/Jazz/Country music festivals such as Woodstock’s 30th anniversary and Chicago Jazz festival, universities, radio, television stations, churches, temples, and meditation centers around the country. She has conducted duets with Western Classical and Jazz musicians, many residences, workshops, lecture demonstrations in schools and colleges, and has offered her unique talent to terminally ill patients in hospitals as a music therapy. She has also performed as a musician in Indian Classical dance ensembles.

Hasu is affiliated with Ohio Arts Council (Ohio Artists on Tour 2003-2004), Greater Columbus Arts Council”, Mid-America Arts Alliance and International Alliance of Women in Music. Hasu teaches sitar, tabla, and vocal music to many area students at her Sursangam School of Music as well as credit hours course at Conservatory of Music at Oberlin College of Ohio.

Discography:

Gayaki Sitar (1997)

website: www.hasupatel.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: Abhik Mukherjee

Abhik Mukherjee
Abhik Mukherjee

Abhik Mukherjee, born in Kolkata, is a sitar player of the Etawah-Imdadkhani gharana (school). He started his sitar training at the age of six by his father, Sri Tarit Mukherjee, and Sri Bimal Chatterjee, while at the same time receiving vocal instruction from Sri Kaylan Bose. He has since received training from Pandit Arvind Parikh and Pandit Kashinath Mukherjee, themselves disciples of the renowned Ustad Vilayat Khan.

Abhik Mukherjee is a gold medalist in musicology from Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata, and has also received a scholarship from the Ministry of Culture, India.

Abhik’s first public concert was at the age of 9 at the Governor’s House, Kolkata. Since then, he has performed in ten countries on four continents.
Abhik currently lives in New York City and is a founding member of Brooklyn Raga Massive, an Indian classical music artists’ collective.

Discography:

Waves of Emotion
Brooklyn Raga Massive Compilation Vol 1
Liberation

Website: abhikmukherjee.com

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Indian Maestros Zakir Hussain and Niladri Kumar at Duke Performances October 8

Zakir Hussain
Zakir Hussain

Indian classical music masters Zakir Hussain and Niladri Kumar are set to perform at Duke University’s Page Auditorium on Saturday, October 8th.

Zakir Hussain is one of the great maestros of the Indian tabla. He’s an acclaimed performer of indian classical music and world music fusion as well. He will play with prestigious sitar player Niladri Kumar, an eclectic musician who performs classical Indian music as well as pop, rock, and electronic music.

for more details go to: dukeperformances.duke.edu

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Elegant Intimacy and Brilliance

Ravi Shankar – Ravi Shankar In Hollywood (East Meets West Music, 2016)

Like doling out single pieces of candy to a greedy child, the world music community is treated to another precious goody from the audio archives amassed over the years by the revered Ravi Shankar. On tap this year is the double CD set Ravi Shankar In Hollywood, set to hit the music marketplace on September 30th on the East Meets West Music label, although pre-orders are available.

I imagine since his death in December of 2012, there’s been a bum’s rush to sift through the collection of recorded music by the famed sitarist to scrounge out all the recordings that were passed over for release. It was bound to happen.

Shankar fans have reaped the rewards with box sets like Ravi Shankar: 6 Classic Albums Box Set (2013), Music of India Box Set (2013) and Genesis of a Genius – Excerpts from Seven Classic Albums double CD set (2015).

The East Meets West Music label has released its own collected tracks on Living Room Sessions Part 2 (2013) with Tanmoy Bose, Kenji Ota and Barry Phillips, Nine Decades – Vol. 4 – A Night at St. John the Divine (2014) and Ravi & Anoushka Shankar Live in Bangalore (2015) in the form of a two CD set and DVD. With so many releases it’s like the master never left.

Ravi Shankar - Ravi Shankar In Hollywood (East Meets West Music, 2016)
Ravi Shankar – Ravi Shankar In Hollywood (East Meets West Music, 2016)

Ravi Shankar in Hollywood stands out from some of the other releases in that it was recorded in 1972 in Mr. Shankar’s home on Highland Avenue as a private concert for invited guests. It was a rare morning concert with the likes of George Harrison in attendance. It was also the impetus for the Concert for Bangladesh intended to benefit those suffering in the wake of Cyclone Bhola in East Pakistan, those areas that would become Bangladesh. The recording of Ravi Shankar in Hollywood is precious indeed, not only for the concern Mr. Shankar expressed for those suffering to just the right ears of those with the means to do something, but also the elegant intimacy and brilliance of the recording.

Joined by tabla player Alla Rakha and tanpura player Kamala Chakravarty, Ravi Shankar in Hollywood leads listeners through the elegant lines and rippling waves of unfolding ragas “Hollywood Raga Vibhas” and the almost hour long “Hollywood Raga Parameshwari” on disc one.

Disc two offers up two more equally hypnotic tracks by way of “Hollywood Dhun” and “Hollywood Raga Sindhi Bhairavi.” The music of Ravi Shankar in Hollywood is indelibly gloriously Ravi Shankar.

Sukanva Shankar, Mr. Shankar’s widow offers her comments for the liner notes and best sums up the influence of her late husband’s music, “What is core to the raga is its Prana or life and its power to be heard and to be propagated, to instill its emotional message in the heart of as many musicians and listeners as possible. Time will tell the validity of a new raga creation, by its acceptance, popularity and longevity. No matter how beautiful the raga, if you are only one who can perform it, it is not considered to of any consequence. Raviji’s ragas can be found in many artist repertoires – that tells you the intensity and emotional effect of his music and his creations.”

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British-Indian composer and musician, Baluji Shrivastav Receives OBE Award

Baluji Shrivastav - Photo by Simon Richardson
Baluji Shrivastav – Photo by Simon Richardson

Musician Dhanonday Shrivastav, also known as Baluji Shrivastav, has been awarded the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2016 Birthday Honors List as “Musician, Instrumentalist and Founder, Inner Vision Orchestra. For services to Music.”

Baluji Shrivastav is a British-Indian multi-instrumentalist who overcame blindness from 8 months old to become one of the world’s leading sitar players. As a classical Indian multi-instrumentalist, Baluji Shrivastav has performed and recorded with some of the greatest tabla accompanists such as Anindo Chatterji and Ustad Fayaz Khan. Baluji has performed throughout the world recording albums with Stevie Wonder, Massive Attack, Annie Lennox, Noel Gallagher and Madness. In 2012 Baluji performed at the Closing Ceremony of the Paralympic Games alongside the British Paraorchestra and Coldplay.

Born in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh in 1959, Baluji undertook his first musical training at Ajmer’s Blind School on traditional instruments including the sitar, dilruba, surbahar, pakhavaj and tabla. From there, Baluji went on to graduate from University of Lucknow with a B.A. in Vocal Studies and Sitar. This was shortly followed by a further BA in Tabla and an MA in Sitar from Alahabad University.

Baluji moved to London in 1982 where he signed to world and folk music record label ARC Music and went on to release 8 albums including: ‘Classical Indian Sitar & Surbahar Ragas’, ‘Classical Indian Ragas – Shadow of the Lotus’ and ‘Baluji Shrivastav’s Re-Orient – Indian World Music Fusion – featuring Hossam Ramzy’.

Baluji Shrivastav - Photo by Simon Richardson
Baluji Shrivastav – Photo by Simon Richardson

Baluji Shrivastav’s compositions appear in a wide range of films, theatre and television, including a series of commissioned works such as ‘Portraits of the Dark’, ‘Sitar-Guitar Suites’, ‘Indian in London’ and the world’s only Urdu oration ‘Sohini and Mahival’ which he composed together with Oscar Winner Dario Marianelli. Baluji’s music has featured in Disney’s 2014 ‘Million Dollar Arm”, 20th Century Fox’s ‘New Girl’ as well as multiple episodes of NBC’s ‘Outsourced’.

By 2008, Baluji established the Baluji Music Foundation, a London based charity which, as stated on their website, aims to promote “the understanding and enjoyment of music and performing arts from the Indian Sub-Continent in all its traditional and evolving forms”. The Charity particularly welcomes the participation of disabled people in music, and has thus founded the Inner Vision Orchestra of blind and visually impaired musicians.

The Queen’s Birthday Honours List for 2016 recognizes the outstanding contributions of individuals across the UK’s many communities.

www.baluji.com

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Gualberto & Ricardo Miño plus Ariadna Castellanos to Perform at ‘Flamencos and mestizos’ in Spain

Gualberto & Ricardo Miño
Gualberto & Ricardo Miño

Sitar player Gualberto, flamenco guitarist Ricardo Miño and flamenco pianist Ariadna Castellanos are set to perform today, Thursday, March 17, 2016 as part of the ‘Flamencos and mestizos’. The concert produced by SGAE Foundation will take place at Sala Berlanga in Madrid.

Gualberto García Pérez was a member of Smash, an iconic Spanish rock groups. He’s one of the pioneers of Andalusian rock. His music has evolved over time, absorbing influences from jazz, progressive rock, folk, Indian music, chamber music and flamenco. Along with Ricardo Miño he recorded in 1998, the album Con –Trastes, a perfect dialogue between flamenco guitar and sitar.

Gualberto & Ricardo Miño
Gualberto & Ricardo Miño

Ricardo Miño was born in the heart of Triana (Sevilla). Influenced by flamenco music that permeates the Triana neighborhood atmosphere, at age 12 he was already a professional musician. His gift for guitar led him to travel the world, exporting flamenco to Japan, the Americas and Europe. His work has been recognized with the National Guitar Award Manolo de Huelva.

Ariadna Castellanos - Photo by Jorge Calvo
Ariadna Castellanos – Photo by Jorge Calvo

Ariadna Castellanos is a pianist, composer and one of the emerging figures of flamenco jazz. Her piano approach is unique, mixing flamenco, jazz, electronics and other genres. She has collaborated with flamenco artists like Pepe de Lucía, Jorge Pardo, Agustín Carbonell “El Bola” and Niño Josele as well as international stars like Paco de Lucia, Michel Camilo, Alejandro Sanz, Herbie Hancock and Richard Bona, among others.

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Sitar Wonder Anoushka Shankar to Perform at CAP UCLA in April 2016

Anoushka Shankar
Anoushka Shankar

Sitar master and composer Anoushka Shankar is set to perform on Wednesday, April 13 at Royce Hall at UCLA in Los Angeles, California. Anoushka will appear with supporting musicians Manu Delago, the Austrian percussionist and frequent collaborator of Björk, on Hang drum; Tom Farmer on acoustic bass and keyboards/piano. Multi-instrumentalist Sanjeev Shankar, who plays the shehnai (double reed oboe) along with live electronics, completes the lineup.

Profoundly rooted in the Indian Classical music tradition, Anoushka studied exclusively from the age of nine under her father and guru, the late Ravi Shankar, and made her professional debut as a classical sitarist at the age of thirteen. By the age of 20, she had made three classical recordings for EMI/Angel and received her first Grammy nomination, thus becoming the first Indian female and youngest-ever nominee in the World Music category. In 2005, Anoushka released her self-produced breakthrough album Rise.

In 2011 Anoushka signed to Deutsche Grammophon, releasing Traveller (produced by Spanish musician Javier Limon). This was followed by Traces of You (produced by Nitin Sawhney and featuring Anoushka’s half-sister Norah Jones on vocals), and Home, a purely Indian Classical album where she returned to the Ragas her father had taught her.

Her new album Land of Gold, Shankar’s response to the humanitarian trauma of displaced people fleeing conflict and poverty, will be released in the US on Deutsche Grammophon on April 1st.

General tickets are available at cap.ucla.edu, all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 310.825.2101 or in person at the UCLA Central Ticket Office on campus.

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Aleksandar Simic, Saskia Rao de Haas & Shubhendra Rao to Perform at Udaipur World Music Festival

Aleksandar Simic
Aleksandar Simic

Aleksandar Simic (Serbia), Saskia Rao de Haas (The Netherlands) & Shubhendra Rao (India) are set to perform on February 13th, 2016 at Udaipur World Music Festival in India.

Aleksandar Simic has established a reputation as one of the leading classical composers of his generation. His most acclaimed works include “Under One Roof” (An Anthropological Journey for the Symphony Orchestra): Commissioned by the United Nations in 2011, celebrating the goals and ideas of the UN Alliance of Civilizations Initiative; “Zodiac – 12 Character Pieces for Piano & Orchestra: sponsored by NASA and the US State Department, with a set of remarkable video installations made from the materials captured by Hubble ST and Voyager ISM, that have been especially designed to follow the music; Missa Solemnior: Marking the Year of Reconciliation following 950 years of the Great Schism between eastern and western Christianity – a Vatican commission; and “Zhukov – A Portrait”, commissioned by the Russian Federation to mark the 50th anniversary of victory in WWII. Live experience of the cycle’s performances.

Saskia Rao de Haass and Shubhendra Rao
Saskia Rao de Haass and Shubhendra Rao

Saskia Rao de Haass is an outstanding cellist and composer from the Netherlands. She has introduced her innovative new instrument, the Indian cello, to North Indian classical music and created a unique playing style to perform Indian music on the cello. Saskia, although born in Holland, performs at the most prominent music festivals and concert halls the world over as a virtuoso of Indian Classical music.

Saskia has created music for different music productions, dance, film and theatre. She is the founder of the Raga Mala String Quartet and co-founder of East Marries West with Shubhendra Rao. Her varied experiences include collaborations with artists of South Indian music, Jazz, Indian film music, Western classical, Klezmer, Flamenco and contemporary. Saskia has recorded with International record labels and has recently recorded her new album.

Pandit Shubhendra Rao is a composer and sitar soloist, a protégé of world renowned Sitar maestro, Pandit Ravi Shankar, he has established himself not only as a master of his instrument but also as a thinking musician, constantly endeavoring to carry his instrument beyond conventional boundaries.

Shubhendra ji has performed at major music festivals and concert halls like Broadway and Carnegie Hall in New York, WOMAD festival in Guernsey, UK, Sydney Opera House in Australia, National Arts Festival in South Africa, Theatre de le Ville in Paris, Edinburgh festival and Doverlane Music Conference in India.

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