Tag Archives: India

Artist Profiles: Tenzin Choegyal

Tenzin Choegyal

Tenzin was born in the remote Himalayas, as his parents were fleeing Tibet in the early 1970s. He grew up in the Tibetan refugee community in Dharamsala, northern India where the Dalai Lama actively encouraged his people to preserve their culture through language religion and arts.

As a child Tenzin would listen to his mother singing in the nomadic style and he attributes much of his passion for that genre to these early influences. Tenzin feels a particular connection to the music of the wandering people of his homeland. He worked at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts in India over a period of five years in the mid 1990s, where he received training mainly from his brother Tsering Dorjee Bawa who is a Tibetan music and dance instructor and Gen Gonpo la.

Tenzin finished his high school from Tibetan Childern’s Village (Dharamsala India) school and BA in English and Indian history in Gov college for boys in Chandigarh.

Tenzin plays various instruments, including the Tibetan three or six stringed lute instrument called “dranyen” (Dra meaning “sound” and Nyen meaning “melodious”), which is the essential accompaniment for folk songs; the bamboo transverse flute called “lingbu” and the Tibetan drum “nga”. Tenzin sings in a traditional nomadic style combined with operatic and his own free-spirited style.

Since moving to Australia, Tenzin has made his mark on the world music circuit performing at such events as Woodford Folk Festival, Port Fairy Folk Festival, the National Folk Festival and Womadelaide.


Heart Strings

Tibet: Awakened Heart


Artist Profiles: Techung


Techung is a prominent Tibetan singer-songwriter living in exile in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is best known for his performances of traditional Tibetan music dance and opera under the name Tashi Dhondup Sharzur. He uses his childhood nickname Techung when performing as a solo artist.

Whether performing in traditional or contemporary styles, Techung’s dual goals are to revive Tibetan music in the Tibetan community and to expose the rich performing cultural tradition of his homeland to the world community.

Techung grew up in Dharamsala, India rather than in his native Tibet because in 1949 China occupied his homeland.

He and his family were forced to resettle in India along with tens of thousands of other Tibetans. Because of the limited educational opportunities open to young refugees in the 1970s he was enrolled at age 9 in the newly formed Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) although his family did not have an artistic background.

In his 19 years of residency at the Institute he studied all aspects of the Tibetan performing arts: folk, court and religious music traditions; through the oral teaching tradition used by the venerated Tibetan elders with whom he was honored to study.

He toured with TIPA in its first international tour as a leading child actor in 1975-76 and for many years afterwards. After emigrating to the U.S. he co-founded the San Francisco-based Chaksampa Tibetan Dance and Opera Company in 1989. Under Tashi Dhondup’s leadership as Artistic Director, Chaksampa has performed all over the world often by invitation at prestigious venues such as the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington DC and the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.

The group has performed in all four of the Tibetan Freedom Concerts organized by the Milarepa Fund appearing with such artists as John Lee Hooker, Taj Mahal, Buddy Guy, Pearl Jam, Herbie Hancock, Tracy Chapman, the Beastie BoysU2 and others.

Techung’s relationship with the Milarepa Fund included a position as Education Coodinator and Tibetan Community Liaison. One of Chaksampa’s songs is included in the CD Tibetan Freedom Concert produced by Grand Royal and Capitol Records. Chaksampa made its debut at Carnegie Hall with Philip Glass, REM, Trey Anastasio, Sean Colvin and Patti Smith as part of New York Tibet House’s annual Monlam festival concert.

In 2004 Techung opened for the Dalai Lama’s public talk in Florida and in Costa Rica. In addition to being looked up to as one of the key keepers of traditional Tibetan musical traditions, Techung is also respected for the original solo and collaborative music he creates by drawing on both his own heritage and his familiarity with other world music traditions. He collaborated on his first solo album Yarlung: Tibetan Songs of Love and Freedom (1997) with composer and performer Miguel Frasconi, followed by Sky Treasure (2001) with Windham Hill jazz keyboardist Kit Walker.

His other solo albums were Chang Shae: Traditional Tibetan Drinking Songs Vol 1 and Nyingtop-Courage (2002). His song,Losar” was chosen as the 2003 best modern traditional Tibetan song at the first annual Tibetan Music Awards held in Dharamsala.

Techung’s voice and music have been featured on the soundtracks of the IMAX film Everest, the feature film Windhorse, the documentary films Stranger in My Native Land, Tibet’s Stolen Child, Thsewa: In the Freedom of Exile, and Three Days for Tibet (about a concert in Dharamsala with Joan Osborne Zakir Hussain and other musicians). His music was also featured on PSA’s for the Milarepa Fund (promoting the 1999 Tibetan Freedom Concert) and Amnesty International (soliciting support for the human rights case of Ven. Palden Gyatso) as well as on an audio book by Diki Tsering titled “Dalai Lama My Son.

My name is Techung (also known as Tashi D. Sharzur). I am a Tibetan singer-songwriter I currently live in San Francisco, California but am originally from Dharamsala a small town India.

I have been producing traditional and contemporary Tibetan music for the past fifteen years. Since I grew up in a culture that greatly values personal modesty and frowns upon any behavior that seems “self- interested” I did not actively promote my musical work during the early part of my career. However, after living in the United States I have come to realize that promotion of my music is an absolute necessity if I want to continue to grow both personally and professionally in my musical career.”

About Techung, A Compilation of Tibetan Folk and Freedom Songs.

Most of my music is focused on the nonviolent struggle for the freedom of Tibet which was brutally invaded and occupied by the Chinese Communist government in 1949. In addition, I compose romantic songs of lyrical and melodic simplicity primarily for my younger Tibetan audience. Through my music I strive to honor the musical tradition of my culture that has been threatened for the past fifty years.

My music also expresses my own frustration as a refugee who has been robbed of his land and his freedom but who continues to fight for his own dignity and for the dignity of his fellow Tibetans. I do this with a special emphasis on the fact that such fighting is achieved through non-violence and compassion which are integral aspects of traditional Tibetan culture.”


Songs from Tibet (ARC Music)

Lam La Che (ARC Music0

Sky Treasure (Hunga Records)

A Compilation of Tibetan Folk and Freedom Songs


Artist Profiles: Rajna Swaminathan

Rajna Swaminathan

Rajna Swaminathan, disciple of mrudangam maestro Sri Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman accompanies Carnatic musicians. She started learning Mrudangam from her father Dr. P. K. Swaminathan at the age of 5 and came under the direct tutelage of Sri Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman at the age of 8. She is 14 years old and is studying in Benjamin Banneker Middle School in Maryland. Rajna is only one of a handful of female mrudangam artists and one of a very few female percussionists in the world.

She has performed at many local Thyagaraja utsavams and other programs. Along with her father Dr. P. K. Swaminathan she has accompanied high caliber artists such as Dr. N. Ramani Sikkil Mala Chandrasekhar Rudrapatnam Brothers Charumathi Ramachandran etc. and won their praise.

During Fall 2004 Rajna toured the USA along with her illustrious Guru and performed for one piece on Mrudangam with Sri Sivaraman accompanying on Kanjira and encouraging her. Sri Sivaraman presented her to the Maryland audience for a full two hour concert debut at the auspices of the Chinmaya Mission Maryland on October 9th 24 with Sri Somayajulu on Jalatharangam Sri Nagai Sriram on Violin and Sri E. M. Subramaniam on Ghatam.

Rajna also performs mrudangam for dance programs, most notably the grand Kuchipudi dance ballet Bharata Sambhavam held at Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater.

In addition to mrudangam, Rajna plays piano and has learned Bharathanatyam for some years.


Artist Profiles: Shubhangi Sakhalkar

Shubhangi Sakhalkar

Mrs. Shubhangi Sakhalkar had an early early tutelage with Smt. Kunda Vaishampayan. She spent several years learning from acclaimed artists Dr. Prabha Atre and Smt. Padma Talwalkar.

In addition Shubhangi has brought her own ardent music practice and creative imagination to develop a vibrant yet thoughtful vocal style that remains rooted in tradition while being uniquely her own.

Shubhangi Sakhalkar has performed throughout India, including Mumbai and Pune.

After moving to the United States in 1992, Shubhangi has captivated music aficionados with numerous concerts from coast to coast. A gold medalist with an M.A. degree in Hindustani classical music, Shubhangi teaches Indian classical music in the San Francisco Bay Area.

website: www.shubhangisakhalkar.com


Acclaimed Sitarist Roopa Panesar to Perform Today in New Jersey

Roopa Panesar

Roopa Panesar, one of the rising sitar players in the classical Indian music world is set to perform Saturday September 16, 2017 at Sharp Theater in New Jersey. Her lineup for this concert includes Pirashanna Thevaraiah on percussion and Nitin Mitta on tabla.

Sharp Theater
505 Ramapo Valley Road – Mahwah, NJ 07430
Phone: (201) 684-7844


Artist Profiles: Malkit Singh

Malkit Singh


Malkit Singh was born on September 13, 1962 in Hussainpur, Punjab, India. He’s a Punjabi music icon that was catapulted from virtual obscurity in the early 1980s to this his overwhelming status as one of the pioneers of Bhangra music all within a short musical lifetime. He is probably the leading Bhangra act in the world today the idol of all generations and holder of the unofficial title as the King of Bhangra.

His 17th album “Millennium Mixes” represented a colossal union of the musical and lyrical presence that has kept him at the forefront of the Bhangra music scene. His albums Midas Touch, Forever Gold and Upfront were worldwide hits and reached platinum sales.

Malkit Singh has proved himself in the mainstream with his remarkable debut on the Apache Indian single Independent Girl – taking Punjabi music culture and gospel to realms yet unknown. Known as ‘the Golden Voice of Punjab’ Malkit Singh and his ‘Golden Star’ troop have been touring around the world receiving honors from the former Prime Minister of India and recorded and filmed with Apache Indian.

The album Upfront was the renaissance that Bhangra had been waiting for. It has since become the biggest selling Punjabi album in history and spawned the super hit Tootak (Hey Jamalo). The track was awarded the honor of being The Most Outstanding Track of the Bhangra Era in 1993 justifying its longevity.

Over the years he has accumulated a wide range of awards for his songs his live act sales and for individual services to music. One of the most distinguished accolades was presented in 1997 The Recognition of the City of Los Angeles for Services to the Indian Community. “I wanted to bring back the desi style that originates from real Bhangra. My style is desi…it’s always been desi…my audience has always been desi and my fans want that old music style and powerful lyrics.”




Nach Giddhe Vich (HMV, 1986)
I Love Golden Star (T-Series, 1987)
Up Front (HMV, 1988)
Chott Nigary Lawo (HMV, 1988)
Putt Sardara De (Saga, 1988)
Hai Shava (T-Series, 1989)
Fast Forward (T-Series, 1989)
Dhotakada Bai Dhotakada (OSA, 1990)
Gal Sunja (Saga, 1991)
Ragga Muffin Mix (OSA, 1991)
Singho Ho Jo Kathe (Saga, 1992)
Tere Ishq Nachiyav (Saga, 1992)
Chak Deh Dholia (OSA, 1993)
Midas Touch (OSA, 1994)
Forever Gold (T-Series, 1995)
Agg Larr Gaayee (OSA, 1997)
Millennium Mixes (OSA, 1999)
Nach Nach (OSA, 2000)
Mighty Boliyan (OSA, 2001)
Paaro (OSA, 2002)
Midas Touch 2 (Music Waves, 2003)
21st Chapter (OSA, 2005)
Billo Rani (MovieBox, 2009)
Sikh Hon Da Maan (MovieBox/T-Series, 2014)
Midas Touch 3 (MovieBox/Saga Hits, 2017)


Exploring Raga

Various Artists – Musical Explorers – Colours of Raga

Various Artists – Musical Explorers – Colours of Raga (ARC Music EUCD2730, 2017)

This 2-disc set contains a music CD of field recordings made in India in the late 1960s by the late Deben Bhattacharya, featuring various artists playing ragas. The second disc is a DVD with a very interesting 30-minute film titled Ragas, also directed by Deben Bhattacharya.

In the 1960s many western musicians were “Discovering” Indian music. The ‘Raga’ documentary was filmed in 1969, in the early days of documentary filmmaking, and presented by Yehudi Menuhin.

The album booklet contains liner notes by Simon Broughton, biographical information about Deben Bhattacharya, the documentary and ragas and artists feature don the audio disc.

Overall, a fascinating introduction to raga from an Indian perspective.

Buy Musical Explorers – Colours of Raga


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.


Gayaki Sitar (1997)

website: www.hasupatel.com


Arangetram Featuring Jvalita Krishan in Pune

Jvalita Krishan

Jvalita Krishan, student of Smt. Charanya Gurusathya from Natyashala-School of Bharatanatyam, is set to perform on Sunday, June 18th, 2017 at Symbiosis Vishwabhavan in Pune, India. She will present her Bharatanatyam arangetram.

Arangetram, or ascending the stage, marks the culmination of comprehensive education in dance and the beginning of a dance career of an aspiring artist.

The theme of the Bharatanatyam margam will be on the different aspects of Sringaram, meaning Love:

Bhakti: Love between devotee and God

Vatsalyam: Love between mother and child

Sambhoga: Love between man and woman

Date: Sunday 18th June, 2017 at 6.05 pm
Venue: Symbiosis Vishwabhavan,
Senapati Bapat Road,
Pune, Maharashtra.

All are Cordially Invited.


Debashish Bhattacharya Meets Euro and American Jazz

Debashish Bhattacharya, Anders Lonne Gronseth, Kenny Wessel and Subhasis Bhattacharya – Bhattacharya – Grønseth – Wessel (Pling Music, 2017)

The prolific Indian slide guitar maestro Debashish Bhattacharya loves to collaborate with other musicians. He has released exquisite solo albums as well as remarkable collaborations with jazz and world music artists. On this occasion, Debashish and his brother Subhasis (tabla) team up with two acclaimed jazz musicians, Norwegian saxophone player Anders Lønne Grønseth and innovative American guitar player Kenny Wessel.

The East West fusion works perfectly, especially when the two totally different guitar styles interact with each other. Debashish uses his habitual mesmerizing resophonic guitars while Kenny Wessel uses the electric guitar and the interplay is exquisite.

Anders Lønne Grønseth’s saxophone also blends well with the guitars and tabla, especially when he uses the softer form of playing the sax, when it feels more like a whisper.

The lineup includes Debashish Bhattacharya on chaturangui and National resophonic guitars; Anders Lønne Grønseth on tenor and soprano saxophones; Kenny Wessel on electric guitar; and Subhasis Bhattacharya on tabla and percussion.



Buy Bhattacharya – Grønseth – Wessel