Artist Profiles: Sanju Sahai

Sanju Sahai

Sanju Sahai, also known as Vishnu, is currently one of the finest and most sought after tabla players. He is the direct descendant of Pandit Ram Sahai, the founder of the Benares Gharana. He is the sixth generation of tabla player in that family. Sanju was trained by his guru Pandit Sharda Sahai, the virtuoso tabla player. He has established himself as an internationally recognized tabla player, and is one of India’s upcoming musicians. He is an ?A? grade artist for All India Radio.

Sanju began playing tabla at the age of four, demonstrating his prodigious skilled aged nine in his first public performance.

He has accompanied many of India?s legendary musicians, such as Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and Aashish Khan (sarod), Pandit Rajan and Sajan Mishra (vocal), Pandit Birju Maharaj and Gopi Krishna (Kathak), Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (guitar)Bhajan Sapori (santoor), Umyalpuram Shivraman (mridangam), Ustad Sultal Khan (Sarangi), and Shrinivas (mandolin), to name but a few. Sanju is also known as a soloist; however, he is not merely a percussionist but an imaginative and sensitive musician.

He has performed throughout India, UK, Europe, Middle East, Indonesia, and USA. He has performed for the Queen of England as well as Prince Charles for a private concert at Highgrove. His recent concert venues include London?s Royal Albert Hall where he participated at the 100th anniversary of the proms. In 2000 he performed at Carnegie Hall in New York.

He has worked with jazz, Egyptian, Spanish, hip hop, folk and blues music as well as composing various pieces of ensembles. Sanju has played for numerous live recordings- BBC TV, Channel East, Asian Net TV, BBC World Service, All India Radio and also on CDs with ARC Music and NA Classical India. In addition, he has performed at Glastonbury Festival, Royal Festival Hall, House of Commons, Salt Lake City for the opening of the Olympics, and is also working with Michael Nyman, one of the most celebrated British composers.

Sanju is based in London and promotes concerts and musical education through workshops or individual learning. Sanju teaches tabla at London University and schools/colleges throughout the United Kingdom.

Discography:

The Benares Touch (ARC Music EUCD 1638, 2001)
Gurukul (Sense World Music, 2005)
Sacred Beats of the Tabla (ARC Music, 2011)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.

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