Tag Archives: Indian classical music

Southbank Centre in the UK Announces Shankar 100, a Celebration of Ravi Shankar’s Centenary

Anoushka Shankar

The year 2020 will mark 100 years since the birth of groundbreaking Indian musician, composer, educator and sitar master Ravi Shankar. Shankar’s association with Southbank Centre in London (UK) started with his first performance in Royal Festival Hall in 1958. Shankar formed a lifelong relationship with the venue, including a number of performances and important premieres over the years. To celebrate his remarkable life and legacy, Southbank Centre will present Shankar 100, a special program of concerts and projects throughout his centenary year, developed in consultation with his wife Sukanya and daughter Anoushka Shankar.

Highlights include:

Gala concert on April 7, 2020, the actual centenary of Ravi Shankar’s birth, with a star-studded line-up of family and friends including his daughters Anoushka Shankar and Norah Jones, Nitin Sawhney and Olivia Harrison;

Akram Khan Company presents Kaash, originally premiered at Southbank Centre in 2002 and revived in tribute to Ravi Shankar;

London Philharmonic Orchestra performs Ravi Shankar’s final work, the opera Sukanya in January 2020, and his only Symphony in April 2020;

Sitarist and composer Anoushka Shankar features as a Southbank Centre Associate Artist throughout the 2019/20 season;

BFI Southbank screens a selection of films scored by Ravi Shankar, curated by Anoushka Shankar;

An exhibition featuring significant archive objects belonging to Ravi Shankar on display from April 2020 in the Royal Festival Hall Archive Studio;

A specially-commissioned film to be displayed in Royal Festival Hall’s public spaces and online, featuring archive footage and interviews with contemporary artists who have been influenced by Ravi Shankar’s work;

Interactive music workshops and performances for primary schools;

Plus more programming to be announced.

Sukanya Shankar commented: “The centenary celebrations for my husband by the Southbank Centre will bring back some of the magic I have experienced at all the concerts of this amazing musician!”

Anoushka Shankar stated: “I feel deeply grateful to be able to begin celebrations of my late father’s centenary year with a series of special events at London’s Southbank Centre, before we continue the celebrations in various cities worldwide. It feels ambitious to the point of being unrealistic, to somehow put together anything that can fully showcase all the varied aspects of his incredible career, creativity, musicianship and humanity. However with the multiplicity of events that Southbank Centre is putting on, we may stand a chance!”

Akram Khan noted: “Pandit-Ji is one of the most iconic artists to have come out of India, and one that has truly inspired many generations of music and dance lovers all around the world.”

More at Southbank Centre

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Artist Profiles: V.G. Jog

V.G. Jog

Vishnu Gobind Jog (V.G. Jog) was a venerated elder statesman of the North Indian violin. A highly respected musician and educator, he toured throughout the world as a soloist and with many of India’s great instrumentalists. His distinctive style won him a special place among India’s great musicians, and his soulful music was praised by Westerners such as John Coltrane and Eric Clapton.

Born in Maharashtra in 1922, he studied with Sri Shankar Rao Athavela, Ganapat Rao Purohit, and Allauddin Khan.

Since 1999, Pandit Jog had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease. The disease had not only disabled the elderly musician by taking away the violin away from his hands, but was also taking away all his assets. Without music, his sole source of income, the high cost of health care became an unsustainable burden for the Jog family. Additionally, the unexpected death of his son added a misfortune to the indisposed violinist and his family. Various benefit concerts were held to provide him and his family with urgently needed financial aid.

Along with the Padma Bhushan, Jog also received the Sangeet Natak Akademi award, West Bengal government’s Rajya Natak award, the Kalidas Samman, the Bhuwalka Puraskar and the Hafiz Ali Khan award.

Jog had a long involvement with the All India Radio’s Kolkata center as music composer and producer, as well as being member of the AIR’s audition board.

V.G. Jog died on January 31, 2004.

Discography:

Bismillah Khan With V. G. Jog (His Master’s Voice, 1962)
Raga Kedara / Raga Chandrakauns (Odeon 1963)
Duets (His Master’s Voice, 1965)
Manik Varma ((His Master’s Voice, 1965)
Shenai & Violin (His Master’s Voice, 1968)
Shyam Kalyan / Raga Des / Dhun (His Master’s Voice, 1970)
Violin & Shehnai – Jugalbandi (His Master’s Voice, 1977)
The Distinctive Two, Violin & Flute Jugalbandi (His Master’s Voice, 1978)
Violin Recital (His Master’s Voice, 1982)
Ragas: Jogkaus Khamaj (Chhanda Dhara, 1983)
Jugalbandi Harmonium And Violin (His Master’s Voice, 1985)
Jugalbandi – Duet For Violin And Guitar – Raga Bageswari (Chhanda Dhara, 1988)
Violin (Moment Records, 1991)
Monsoon Raga Nataraj Music, 1993
Waves Of Ecstasy Vol. 2 (All India Radio, 1995)
Waves Of Ecstasy Vol. 3 (All India Radio, 1995)
Indian Classical Duets Vol 1 (ITC Limited, 2009)

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Artist Profiles: Habib Khan

Habib Khan – Photo by Ujjwal Kumar

Pandit Habib Khan is regarded as one of the best sitar players in the world today. He was born into a family of musicians and can trace his lineage back several generations to when classical music enjoyed the patronage of the nobility and royalty of India.

He began his training at the tender age of five under the strict eye of his accomplished father, Hameed Jaffar Khan. The Jaffar Khan family was from Indore and were well known for their unique style of playing the sitar, melding the effect of the human voice and the instrumental tone into a harmonious whole.

Habib Khan has carved out a distinct style of his own which is a blend of his father’s traditional techniques and his own imaginative innovations. He is as much at ease with light classical and religious music as he is with pure classical renderings of ragas.

Habib Khan lives and teaches in the San Francisco Bay Area and performs all over the world. He has composed music for several CDs including Fire Dance (With Pat Martino, Zakir Hussain, Peter Block, and Ilya Rayzman), Longing on X DOT 25 Music and music for a yoga video series by Vasanti Bhat.

Discography:

FireDance (Mythos Records, 1997)
Ecstasy (RPG Music, 1998)
Longing (X DOT 25, 2000)

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The Nine Day Navaratri Sangeetothsavam 2019 by Ekata Muscat at Muscat

The Ekata Muscat Team

Ekata Muscat hosted a 9-day Navaratri Sangeetothsavam from September 29 to October 7, 2019 at Al Masaa Hall, Ruwi Muscat which was well organized and well attended by music lovers in large number on all the days. This is the second year of this organization celebrating Navaratri sangeethothsavam.

Artists and musicians from all over Muscat and from India (Chennai and Kerala) performed during these days.

The best feature of the music festival was that it was a success story of fait accompli (done deal) in the effort of Ekata Muscat to explore with young promising artists and not including even one of the top notch branded artist for adding value in the fare like say a Sangeeta Kalanidhi TV Shankaranarayanan or an Aruna Sairam.

The test of the pudding is in its eating and the success of the event was evident in the full house on all the days.

The venue Al Maasa Hall was full of divine vibration with chanting of Lalitha Sahasranamam by ladies from different places in Oman on all the nine day. This was chanted before the commencement of the music concerts. It was very spectacular to see all the ladies attired in colorful saris and dresses appropriate for the days of Navaratri/Dussehra and rendering very well.

The functions were presided over by the high dignitaries from various enterprises in Muscat. The first day was inaugurated by His Excellency Munu Mahawar, Ambassador of India to Oman on September 29, 2019 and the closing day was presided by luminary Shri PK Prakash, Cultural Counsellor, Indian Embassy, Oman.

The programs were scheduled for the evening from 6:30 pm onwards with lighting of lamp (Kutthuvilaku) by the chief guest along with the performing artists of the evening. This was adhered to with utmost reverence and decorum and this with the deep founded belief that Light symbolizes knowledge, and darkness, ignorance.

Day 1

The first day concert was by Konniyoor Suresh from Muscat who is a seasoned musician with rich background in the music field. He was accompanied by Sh. CS Syam on the violin and Sh. Killikurushi Mangalam PK Rammohan on mridangam and Delhi Sh. Srinivasan Raman on the kanjeera.

Konniyoor Suresh & ensemble

The concert began with an AtaTala varnam in Bhairavi- followed by traditional Ganesha stuthi in the raga Hamsadwani. Sh. Suresh is a versatile violinist along with being a vocalist also. He covered the concert paddathi and sang a Ragam Tanam in the raga Sankarabbharanam following by a kriti Devi Jagat Janani – 1st day Navaratri kriti by Maharaja Swathi Tirunal very appropriate for the day. He also rendered a syama sastry kriti in the raga Neelambari – Brovavamma Bangaru vamma which is very rarely heard kriti. He covered compositions by various composers which was well appreciated. Shri Syam gave good support on the violin which was subtle. The percussionists showed their expertise in tani avartanam with good coordination.

Day 2

The second day was again by a prominent musician Smt. Deepa Narayanan from Muscat. She commenced with a Daru Varnam in raga Khamas, a composition of Sh Muthaiah Bhagavatar which was very pleasing to listen to.

Daru varnam is the one with swara, jati and sahitya with usual pallavi, anupallavi and charanam. Her rendition of Purvikalyani had a clear ragalakshanas followed by Swathi Tirunal kriti Deva Deva Jagadeeswara which was pleasing.

The main piece of the concert was in the raga Kalyani- Needu charana Pankaja, a composition of Pallavi Gopala Iyer in Adi Tala. Then the Kamalaambikaya in Punnagavarali was very appropriate for the occasion and was very well rendered. The Sankarabarana Thillana is very rarely heard in the concerts now a days. It was nice to hear. Shri CS Syam gave able coordination on the Violin and Sh. Delhi Srinivasan Raman gave a very befitting percussion support.

Day 3

The third day concert by an artist from India Smt. Rethna Prabha. Every day, each concert was a class of its own and gave a different experience to the audience present there with various varnams, kritis, Thillana etc.

Mrs. Rethna Prabha

Rethna started with a Pada Varnam in the raga Shanmukhapriya composed by Dr. Balamurlikrishna followed by a brisk begada- Vallabha Nayakasya, a Dikshitar kriti. Yedayya gathi in Chalanattai was a pleasing kriti. Rethna has a rich voice which kept the audience spellbound. Rudrapriya kriti – Amba Paradevathe of Krishnasami Ayya followed by Navaratri kriti in Saveri was an excellent selection for the festival.

The Thillana composed by Mavelikara R. Balachandran kept the audience guessing. It was very well rendered. The accompanist on the violin Sh Konniyur Suresh gave an able support. He is a versatile violinist apart from being a vocalist also. On the percussion, Sh Mavelikara R. Balachandran on mridangam and Sh. Aluva R. Rajesh on ghatam gave a rich treat to the ear. Very good coordination and the tani avartanam was rendered with apt synchronization.

Day 4

The fourth day of the Sangeethothsavam featured a young celebrity from India, Sh. Tushar MurleeKrishna who is a playback singer apart from being a vocalist in Carnatic music. He has been doing several music shows and has won various prizes. The august audience present in the hall were excited and eagerly waiting for them to hear Thushar performing. He started the concert with Abhogi Varnam which filled the hall with music vibration. After rendering Vinayaka stuti in Shanmukhapriya and Banturiti in ragam Hamsanadam he elaborately sang raga Sankarabharanam followed by a Tyagaraja kriti Mariyada kadura which was an excellent rendition and exhibited his expertise in handling the presenting of raga alapana, swara prasthara and the clarity of sahithyam in the kriti.

Thushar Muralikrishna.

The able support of the accompanist both on violin by Sh. Vishnu Chandramohan, Maveliara R. Balachandran on mridangam and Sh. Aluva R. Rajjesh on ghatam was very well appreciated by the audience. A perfect coordination of rhythmic nuances. Sh. Vishnu Chandramohan, a seasoned artist from Tirupanthura Kerala, performed his part excellently in sync with the main artist Sh. Thushar. What a scintillating concert it was.

Day 5

The fifth day concert was by Kum. Sreelakshmi and Kum. Sreedevi accompanied by Sh. Aluva R. Rajesh on the mridangam and Sh. Vishnu Chandramohan on the violin. They commenced their performance with a brisk Hamsadwani varnam – Jalajakshi in Adi tala followed by a Nattai Kriti on lord Ganesha.

Kum. Sreelakshmi & Kum. Sreedevi

Their rendition of Mohanam kriti – Sada palaya had a good raga bhavam and esthetics. The main kriti was in the raga Kalyani –a composition of Pattnam Subramania Iyer was well presented. The accompanist gave an able support. The young girls have bright future with their rich voice and dedication in the field.

Day 6

On the sixth and seventh day Ekata Muscat gave exposure to the young talent of Muscat, Oman. Each and every artists exhibited their talents even though it was for a short duration. It was delighting to see the sincere commitment of the young and upcoming artist on the stage. A very hearty congratulations to the teacher/gurus who trained them in Carnatic music in this part of the world. A brief jugalbandi on veena, venu (Flute) was well appreciated by the audience. Though it was for a short period of 45 minutes, the artists had good coordination and kept the audience charmed.

In the evening of the sixth day there was a concert by Shri Saaju Raman, musician from Muscat. He started with a kriti on lord Ganesha in Mohana Kalyani followed by Sri Saraswathi in the raga Aarabhi. Then a Dikshitar kriti Kaaya roha in the raga Abheri. A rare rendered kriti which was handled very well. There was no repetition of any kriti of what we heard from the earlier concerts. A kriti in Shanmukhapriya- Parvathi Nayakane- Papanasam Sivan kriti was the main piece with raga, niraval and swara prasthara. Thani Avartanam by Palakad Gautam was very crisp and bright. Sh. Vishnu Chandramohan was in full support, as usual, and showing his talent very well.

Saaju K Raman

Day 7

The seventh day event was followed by a young and seasoned musician from South India, Chennai: Sh. Aditya Madhav, a disciple of Sangeetha Kala Nidhi Sh. Sanjay Subramaniam. His concert was very appropriate for the august audience present in the venue hall. As per the saying goes, he played to the gallery keeping them spellbound. Aditya started the concert with a Tyagaraja Kriti in Bahudari Raga followed by Nanda Gopala, a Dikshitar Kriti in the raga Yamuna Kalyani.

Raga Alapana in the raga Natabhairavi was an innovative and scholarly rendition and the kriti of Papanasam Sivan was very well presented with niraval and kalpana swaras. His presentation of Ragam Tanam Pallavi in the raga Hamsaanandi was very well enjoyed by the audience. The ragas chosen for ragamalika following the pallavi were pleasing to the ear.

The concert was crisp and audience were mesmerized by his voice modulation. The accompanist Sh. Vishnu Chandramohan on violin and Delhi. R. Srinivasan on mridangam gave an able support to the main artist. The concert concluded with a Thillana in raga Dhanashri of Swathi Tirunal.

Day 8

The eighth day program was a scintillating concert by the Muscat sisters Kum. Sruti and Kum. Sahana. Both the girls are now under the tutelage of Bombay Jayashree, a senior and well known musician from south. The concert commenced with the Navaraga mallika Varnam which was well rendered. The coordination between the two was well presented. Both have bright future to become a seasoned musician. Sh. Vishnu Chandramohan and Delhi R. Srinivasan on violin and mridangam respectively, gave good befitting support to the artist.

Day 9

The ninth day was the closing day ceremony of the music festival. The chief guest of the evening was Sh. P.K. Prakash, Cultural counselor from the Indian Embassy.

Ekata Muscat has been honoring musicians with high contribution to Carnatic music and awarding them with title. This year award was conferred to Dr. Saroja Raman who is a musician and continues her efforts to contribute to the Carnatic music field in various ways. It is a great honor for the persons who are conferred with the title.

Dr. Saroja Raman receives the citation and memeto

This day, the concert was by Shri Mathew Thomas, a senior musician from Muscat, Oman. He commenced with Thodi Varnam followed by a Ganesha Stuti in the raga Hamsadwani, a composition of Papanasam Sivan. Further, a kriti in the raga Ritigowla- Janani Ninnu vina of Subbaraya Sastri was well rendered by the artist. Kritis in the ragas Sarasangi, Sama and then Poorvikalyani was well justified and appreciated by the music lovers present there.

Mathew Thomas

The main piece of the concert was in the raga Sankarabharanam – Swara Raga Sudha of Tyagaraja which was an elaborate presentation followed with a brief and brisk Thani avartanam by Killikkurishi Mangalam PK Rammohan and Konniyur Suresh on mridangam and kanjeera. Sh. Vishnu Chandramohan gave a very good violin support.

Kudoes to the Ekata Muscat who sincerely made all efforts to bring out the sangeethothsavam in a grand manner.

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Carnatic Music Festival in Muscat

All are welcome to the grand nine day Festival of Carnatic Music presented by Ekata – Muscat, in Oman. It’s celebrated as the Navratri festival commemorating the Victory of Good over Evil.

Aditya Madhavan

Navaratri is a Hindu festival that spans nine nights (and ten days) and is celebrated every year in the autumn with great enthusiasm and fervor. It is observed for different reasons and celebrated differently in various parts of the Indian subcontinent. It is the observed in the honor of the divine nine feminine Devis/Deities.

S&S Kumari Sruthi and Sahana

Basically, it brings out the best of the artistic skills of the Ladies in arranging mind boggling Golus, arranging music and dance shows, and interacting within the society and in short Spreading Bonhomie, sweetness and good will.

Deepa Narayanan

In Muscat, the celebration is with the 9 day Music Concerts. Accomplished musicians from within Muscat and from India will perform.

Artist set to perform at Festival of Carnatic Music Muscat

The Indian Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman H E Munu Mahawar is expected to grace the function and inaugurate the festival on September 29, 2019.

Ekta Muscat also awards the Title “Sangeeta Sudha Nidi” to select musicians, music teachers or musicologists in recognition of their significant contribution to Carnatic Music and allied art forms in this region. This year’s award goes to Dr. Saroja Raman and scheduled on the concluding day, October 7, 2019.

Dr. Saroja Raman

Look at the flyer and grace the occasion.

Venue: Al Massa Hall, Ruwi – Muscat
Date: 28th Sep. to 7th Oct. 2019
Time: 07:00 PM to 09:30 PM

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Artist Profiles: V.K. Raman

V.K. Raman

V.K. Raman, one of the leading flutists in the Carnatic style of Music, started learning flute at the age of 9. At the age of 15, he started giving full-fledged concerts. Since then Raman has performed in many prestigious organizations in India and abroad. Raman has had the privilege of performing flute duets along with his Guru, the great flute maestro Dr. N. Ramani on several occasions.

Enchanting and transcendent music flows from Raman’s flute as he has mastered superb blowing and fingering technique by which the tonal quality is at its peak. He plays the krithis in Gayaki (Vocal) style, combining it with the unique mind-boggling possibilities of his instrument. He has also performed Jugalbandhi, Fusion Concerts and has been very
successful as a Music Composer. He is a Grade I composer of All India Radio and Doordarshan. He has scored music for many Audio / Video Albums,CD’s and Dance/Theatre productions in India and abroad.

‘Surmani’ Raman , an ‘A’ Grade artiste of All India Radio has captivated the audiences in a number of India’s major music
festivals and toured widely in USA, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sri Lanka and Japan.

Discography

Raman has released more than 50 albums,.

Mohana Rama
Swara Raga Sudha
Magic Bamboo
Divine Melodies
Sur Milan (Sagar Music, with Dr. Suma Sudhindra on the Veena)
Sur Sangam (Sagar Music, with Nanda Kishore Muley on Santoor)
Classical Indian Flute (Inner Splendor Media, 2007)
Classical Indian Flute & Violin With Virtuoso Brothers V.K. Raman and Mysore V. Srikanth (Inner Splendor Media, 2008)
Classical Indian Flute and Violin Vol. II With Virtuoso Brothers V.K. Raman and Mysore V. Srikanth (Inner Splendor Media, 2008)
Confluence (Felmay, 2009)
Navarasa – Eternal Emotions

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Artist Profiles: Saraswathi Ranganathan

Saraswathi Ranganathan

Indian American musician Saraswathi “Sara” Ranganathan is an Indian Classical veena performer and cross-cultural musical ambassador. She was born in Mysore and grew up in a musical family. Ranganathan learned veena from her mother Shantha Ranganathan and from Karnataka Kalashree EP Alamelu in Bengaluru (Bangalore). She has been performing and teaching for over three decades.

Saraswathi Ranganathan won the ‘Best Asian Entertainer’ award at the 37th Chicago Music Awards in 2018.

She is passionate about presenting the veena to a diverse audience through concerts at world music festivals, collaborations with artists from different genres, creative workshops at schools, lecture-demonstrations at universities for world music courses, educational performances at museums and other distinguished places of public interest, demos at libraries.

Ranganathan was the first Carnatic veena artist designated to perform in an off-Broadway play, “Jungle Book,” directed by Mary Zimmerman and supported in part by Disney Theatrical Productions.

Saraswathi Ranganathan holds a master’s degree in Sanskrit and an MBA from Loyola University of Chicago. She directs her non-profit music school, Ensemble of Ragas, in Schaumburg, a Chicago suburb, teaching Carnatic classical vocal and veena.

Discography:

The Magic of Veena, Vol. 2 (Ensemble of Ragas, 2011)
Refreshing Raga Blues (2015)

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Ravi Shankar’s Vision of Peace


Pandit Ravi Shankar – Vision of Peace

Pandit Ravi Shankar – Vision of Peace (Deutsche Grammophon/Universal, 2000)

This double CD showcases some of Pandit Ravi Shankar’s international prowess. The first CD has Japanese-Indian collaborative tracks featuring Pandit Ravi Shankar on sitar and Ustad Alla Rakha on tabla, accompanied by Japanese musicians Susumu Miyashita and Hozan Yamamoto on flute and string instruments. Our pick on this CD is the energetic track, Rokudan.

The second CD is more traditional, with Raaga Jogeshwari and Raaga Hameer. In sum, a fine listen for an afternoon of relaxation.

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Invoking the Goddess Saraswati in New York at A World in Trance 2019

Jayanthi Kumaresh

Jayanthi Kumaresh is set to perform on Friday, April 12, 2019 at Roulette in new York city. The concert is part of the A World in Trance series.

Jayanthi Kumaresh is one of India’s leading veena (lute) players. She has captivated audiences around the world for over three decades with her entrancing performances.

A sixth generation musician and niece of the legendary violinist Lalgudi Jayaraman, she began playing the veena at the age of three. Jayanthi seeks to express the true voice of the veena, which transcends the boundaries of language and region.

She will open this program with a long solo rendition of tanam, the repetitive pulse that engenders the ancient art of Vedic chant. Since the veena is attributed to Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of music and learning, this part of the program will evoke the feminine principle – Laasya – through an uninterrupted sequence of ragas.

In the second part, Jayanthi will evoke the masculine principle – Thaandava, where she will be joined by renowned percussionists K U Jayachandra Rao (mrdangam) and Pramath Kira (tabla, morching – jaw’s harp).

Roulette, 509 Atlantic Avenue at 3rd Avenue, Downtown Brooklyn
Box office: 917-267-0363

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Anoushka Shankar Live, a Dazzling Experience

Anoushka Shankar

Last night, March 21, sitar phenomenon, composer and world music star Anoushka Shankar performed at Fletcher Hall in the Carolina Theater of Durham, North Carolina. Anoushka charmed the audience with a remarkable mix of Indian classical music ragas, contemporary world fusion material rooted in Indian traditions and cinematic music.

The concert started with two spectacular ragas that showcased Anoushka Shankar’s talent as a sitarist and her equally impressive ensemble. Later, she performed material from Traces of You, her remarkable collaboration with Nitin Sawhney. The concert ended with excerpts from her first film score, the soundtrack to a silent epic film called Shiraz from 1928. The music for Shiraz reflected the intrigue and passion that occurs during the film.

Throughout the concert there were abundant examples of virtuosity with enthralling call and response interactions between the sitar, tabla, mrindangam and bamboo flute.

The ensemble included Ojas Adhiya (India) on tabla, Pirashanna Thevarajah (UK) on mridangam, Ravichandra Kulur on flute (India), Danny Keane (UK) on cello and piano, and Kenji Ota (Japan) on tanpura. For this concert, Anoushka invited a young Durham woman to join the ensemble on bass tanpura.

Anoushka Shankar will be performing in Washington DC tomorrow, March 23 at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. She will later cross the Atlantic to perform in Dublin on Saturday, April 6 at The National Concert Hall; the Royal Festival Hall in London, United Kingdom on April 9; and she’ll fly back to the USA to perform at Campbell Hall in Santa Bárbara, California on April 17.

Special thanks to Eric Oberstein and King Kenney at Duke Performances for their support.

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