Tag Archives: Indian music

Bharathi Yaar – Musical Bio Play on the life of Mahakavi Bharathiyar by SB Creations

Mahakavi Bharathiyar

Tamil literature before Bharathi, and then there is Tamil literature after Bharathi,”  proclaims Appaduari, Subramania Bharathi’s  doting brother in law in one moving scene in the play. Never was a truer word spoken.

Mahakavi Bharathiyar, as he came to be known in his later life (alas, a rather short one, for he died when he was just 39), Bharathiyar is undoubtedly the Tamil equivalent of Shakespeare, a true watershed in Tamil literature.

His prolific writings spanned the entire gamut of literary forms. He introduced the Prose-Poetry form of expression, which to this day has not been bettered by any other writer. His passion for various social causes – women’s emancipation, equality of all religions, classes and castes, oneness of India’s peoples, and especially his love for freedom for the motherland, has inspired generations of Indians, across all sections of society, and all corners of the country.

Early in his career, he decided to wear the turban as a mark of respect for Sikhs whose indomitable spirit he greatly admired. His remarkably astute similes, his spontaneous lyrics, and his tenderness of approach to sensitive issues are legendary.

Few writers in any language can come close to his compositions extolling the love of a father for his daughter (Chinnachiru kiliye kannamma). Likewise, his poem about a naughty Lord Krishna epitomizes the love of a family for its mischievous, yet lovable son.

His song “ paayum oli nee enakku” is incomparable as a tribute to the “made for each other” philosophy. And all this in impeccable metre, each time and every time, without any contrived lyrics! This was not just genius – this was Muse in human avatar, although a cruelly short one. The mind shudders at the thought of what he would have achieved had he lived to be 70 or 80; and the heart goes heavy at this irreparable loss. But he himself would have spurned such thoughts – a man who lived life by his own rules till the end, defying the cruel English who battered him to death politically and economically, but whom he defeated with every word he wrote, every song he sang, every motivating speech he gave. In a most inspiring song (“Aaduvome, palli, paduvome”)  he declared many years before his death that India had gained independence, such was his conviction and belief.

 

Mahakavi Bharathiyar

 

As one among the millions of fans of Bharathiyar, I could go on and on about him and his contribution to literature and society, but I started this note as a review of the bio-play “Bharathi Yaar” (“Who Was Bharathiyaar”) by SB Creations in association with Thirukkural Pasarai of Muscat, staged yesterday (20/09/2018) to a packed hall at Al Falaj Hotel in Muscat, Oman. The organisers announced at the start that the play was 2 hours long, and that there would be no interval. They promised the audience wouldn’t notice the 2 hours passing.

When the show ended, the promise was more than delivered – no one left even afterwards for a long time, such was the wholesome experience everyone was treated to. The skillful combination of theater, film backdrops, music and dances was a clever move by the producers – it certainly held the audience’s attention better than a gripping storyline alone could have.  But then, the producers SBS Raman and Bharadwaj Raman, are son and grandson of the great Veena S Balachandar, a perfectionist in everything he did in his life, and those traits shine brightly through in the way the father-son duo have handled their production.

Scenes from Bharathiyar’s life have been strung together craftily, with background score made easy by the abundance of the protagonist’s own creations. The dialogues, written by Isaikkavi Ramanan, are outstanding, even when considering that Bharathiyar had made the task easy with his writings! What was even more impressive was Ramanan’s portrayal of Bharathiyar. His stature and bearing have an uncanny resemblance to the memory of Bharathiyar that generations of Tamilians carry (credit equally belongs to the make up artiste). He was ably supported by Dharma Raman playing Bharathiyar’s wife, and the famous classical musician Vijay Siva with his role as the self-appointed help of the family.

While the regular cast were totally at ease with their lines and histrionics, the many local artistes who chipped in with small but significant roles did remarkably well for themselves. Notable among these were Venkatramani, Savithri,  Sundaresan, and Govindarajan, Muscat’s own regulars in plays and musicals. Of the original cast, special mention needs to be made of the young girl who played Yadugiri, Bharathiyar’s adopted daughter. Her portrayal of Darupadi in the “Panchali Sabadam” scene, enhanced by some intuitive lighting, gave me goosebumps.

 

Mahakavi Bharathiyar

 

The abundant talent of the visitors from Chennai was clear in the concise introductions, the genuine thanksgiving by SBS Raman, and the unique tribute to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos by Ramanan. Oman’s proud expats make it a point to express their gratitude to the country’s  ruler at each and every function, something they do out of true love and admiration for perhaps the world’s  greatest and most benevolent ruler today; but Ramanan raised the bar very high with his honey sweet Tamil, and with his allusion to Bharathiyar’s love for Arabic language and Islam –  an aspect of the Mahakavi’s life I learnt yesterday.

I only wish the producers had enough finances to make better sets, better and less intrusive microphones for the artistes, and a stricter sense of discipline backstage. But for these very passable flaws, this was one unforgettable experience.  I emerged from the hall somewhat of an emotional wreck, and I bet I was not the only one to have felt so happily drained. This is a bio-play not to be missed by any patriotic Indian. And if you love Tamil, this is a feast nonparallel. Full marks to dear Sundar Kaleewaran for his single-minded devotion in bringing this epic play to Muscat.

Share

Ragas Live Festival 2018, a 24 Hour Music Event in New York City

Over 80 musicians will perform at the Ragas Live Festival 2018, including leading-edge projects from Brooklyn Raga Massive, Vijay Iyer, Max ZT & Karsh Kale, and Ganavya Doraiswamy. This year, the festival takes place October 6th starting at 5:00 p.m. to October 7 at 5:00 p.m. at Pioneer Works.

It is produced by Brooklyn Raga Massive, Pioneer Works and the podcast NYC Radio Live, which is releasing a compilation, Ragas Live Retrospective, chronicling its most exciting sets and essential artists.

Vijay Iyer -Photo by Jimmy Katz

The 2018 lineup combines classical masters and innovators. The festival will host the world premiere of Ritual Ensemble of Harvard with Vijay Iyer, Yosvany Terry, Ganavya and Rajna Swaminathan; symphonic explorations from the 20+ members of the Go:Organic Orchestra with Brooklyn Raga Massive; The Arun Ramamurthy Trio and the Coltrane Raga Tribute will show how jazz and classical forms can intertwine and inform one another.

Karavika

Boundary crossing collaborations include dulcimer virtuoso Max ZT and tabla innovator Karsh Kale, a 14th-century Sufi music chamber ensemble (Falsa), a raga-infused chamber project (Trina Basu and Amali Premawardhana’s Karavika), and a Bulgarian trio (Bulgarian Voices) collaborating with a Carnatic (South Indian) choir (Navatman).

Classical lights include sets by Partha Bose and Flute Raman, Samarth Nagarkar, Steve Gorn, and Jay Gandhi.

Notable video artist Nitin Mukul will be presenting the visual element of the experience. The essence of his video pieces, created from melting ice and abstract paintings will intersect with each raga’s specific characteristics and their relationship to the time of day.

Artistic Director Arun Ramamurthy indicates that diversity is the key to the concert experience. “As curators, we honor the ragas’ connections to nature and program classical artists at the opportune times. But what makes this festival so special is that we balance classical sets with innovative raga-inspired projects that interpret traditional material in a highly creative way. This balance over the course of 24 hours allows the listener to traverse a wide spectrum of sound, going deep into traditional ragas while also experiencing more experimental interpretations and reimaginations of the Indian classical form. It’s a cathartic experience.”

There is an incredible synergy between the artists and the audience as we journey through 24 sets of music,” adds associate producer Lauren Crump. “It is a transformative experience for all involved.”

The Full Festival Lineup (subject to change):

5:00 – 6:00 – Pradhanica Dance and Music Company
Michael Lukshis, Jin Wong, Kaumil Shah, Vincent Pierce Smith, Indro Roy Chowdhury

6:00 – 7:00 – V.K. Raman
V.K. Raman (flute), Arun Ramamurthy (violin), Akshay Anantapadmanabhan (mridangam)

7:00 – 8:00 – Mitali Bhawmik
Mitali Bhawmik (vocal), Anirban Chakravarty (harmonium), Dibyarka Chatterjee (tabla)

8:00 – 9:00 – Ganavya
Ganavya (voice), Rajna Swaminathan (mridangam), Max Ridley (bass), Charles Overton (harp)

9:00 – 10:00 – Karavika
Trina Basu (violin), Amali Premawardhana (cello), Perry Wortman (bass), Rajna Swaminathan (mridangam)

10:00 – 11:00 – Aditya Prakash
Aditya Prakash (vocal), Arun Ramamurthy (violin), Abhinav Seetharaman (mridangam)

Anirban Das Gupta

11:00 – 12:00 – Anirban Dasgupta
Anirban Dasgupta (sarod), Mir Naqib Islam (tabla)

12:00 – 1:00 – Samarth Nagarkar –
Samarth Nagarkar (vocal), Rohan Prabhudesai (harmonium), Sandip Ghosh (tabla)

1:00 – 2:00 – Max ZT / Karsh Kale
Max ZT (dulcimer), Karsh Kale (tabla)

2:00 – 3:00 – Arun Ramamurthy Trio
Arun Ramamurthy (violin), Perry Wortman (bass), Sameer Gupta (drumset)

3:00 – 4:00 – Ross Hammond Trio with special guests
Ross Hammond (guitar), Pawan Benjamin (sax/bansuri), Sameer Gupta (drums), Morgan Zwerlein (percussion)

4:00 – 5:00 – Unstruck Sound
Eric Fraser (bansuri), Neel Murgai (throat singing/daf/sitar/electronics), Aaron Shragge (trumpet, shakhuhachi, electronics)

5:00 – 6:00 – Steve Gorn
Steve Gorn (bansuri), Shiva Ghoshal (tabla)

Abhik Mukherjee

6:00 – 7:00 – Abhik Mukherjee –
Abhik Mukherjee (sitar) Shiva Ghoshal (tabla)

7:00 – 8:00 – Jay Gandhi
Jay Gandhi (bansuri), Ehren Hanson (tabla)

8:00 – 9:00 – Andrew Shantz
Andrew Shantz (vocal), Roshni Samlal (tabla)

9:00 – 10:00 – Rajeswari Satish –
Rajeswari Satish (vocal), Radhika Mani (violin), Bala Skandan (mridangam)

10:00 – 11:00 – Partha Bose
Partha Bose (sitar), Aditya Narayan Banerjee (tabla)

11:00 – 12:00 Go: Organic Orchestra with Brooklyn Raga Massive
Improvisationally conducted by Adam Rudolph Arun Ramamurthy – violin; Jay Gandhi – bansuri, Neel Murgai – sitar; Charles Burnham – violin; Trina Basu – violin; Swaminathan Selvaganesh – kanjeera; Sameer Gupta – Tabla; David Ellenbogen – guitar; Mari Tanaka – Tanpura; Michel Gentile – c and alto flute, bamboo flutes; Sylvain Leroux – tambin, flute, bamboo flutes; Ze Luis – c and alto flute, bamboo flutes; Steve Gorn – bansuri flute, hichiriki; Sean Sonderegger – contrabass clarinet; Sara Schoenbeck – bassoon, sona; Julianne Carney-Chung – violin; Sana Nagano – violin; Sarah Bernstein – violin; Richard Carr – violin; Stephanie Griffin – viola; Gwen Laster – viola; Jake Carkey – cello; Leco Reis – contrabass; Kenny Wessel – electric guitar; Alexis Marcelo – electric keyboards; Damon Banks – electric bass; Dan Kurfirst – cajon, frame drums, percussion Rogerio Boccato – pandero, zabumba, percussion; Joe Hertenstein- tiny kit percussion

12:00 – 1:00 – Navatman Music Collective & Bulgarian Voices Trio –
Roopa Mahadevan, Preetha Raghu, Vlada Tomova, Shelley Thomas

1:00 – 2:00 – Falsa

2:00 – 3:00 – Nitin Mitta & Suryaksha Deshpande
Nitin Mitta (tabla), Suryaksha Deshpande (tabla), Andrew Shantz (harmonium)

3:00 – 4:00 – Ritual Ensemble of Harvard
Vijay Iyer (piano), Yosvany Terry (saxophone), Ganavya (vocal), Rajna Swaminathan (mridangam)

4:00 – 5:00 – Coltrane Raga Tribute
Sameer Gupta (drums), Jay Gandhi (bansuri), Trina Basu (violin), Arun Ramamurthy (violin), Brandee Younger (harp), Marc Cary (piano), Rashaan Carter (bass), Abhik Mukherjee (sitar)

More at www.ragaslive.org

headline photo: Unstruck Sound – Neel Murgai

Share

Artist Profiles: Debu Nayak

Debu Nayak

Devapriya Nayak (Debu) was born in West Bengal, India, and began learning tabla at the age of three from his grandfather, Chaudhury Kausalya Nandan, who was an accomplished pakhawaj and tabla player of the Punjab Gharana. Later, Debu became a disciple of Pt. Radhakanta Nandi of the Benaras Gharana. In 1981, Debu came to the US to pursue higher studies and continued his tabla taalim from Maestros like Ustad Zakir Hussain, Pandit Anindo Chattergee and Pt. Samir Chatterjee.

Currently Debu remains a ?Ganda Bandha? shishya of Pt. Samir Chatterjee. Debu is an accomplished soloist and accompanist. He has performed with renowned artists like Pt. Vinayak Torvi, Pt. Ramesh Mishra, Ustad Fahimuddin Dagar, Habib Wali Mohammad, Asif Ali Khan, Shahanaz Begum, Gaurav Mazumdar, Partha Bose, Mitali Banerjee-Bhawmik, Tulika Ghosh and many others.

Recently, his tabla was featured in a collaborative effort of Indian Classical Music and Jazz titled Probe. Debu, along with the members of Probe, have also performed at the Smithsonian Institution.

He is also the director of the Washington DC Chapter of Chhandayan, a tabla school dedicated to the promotion of tabla and Indian Classical Music in the Washington DC metro area.

His new CD is called Tabla Rising where he has showcased his 16 years of concert experience with various artists, vocalists & instrumentalists.

Discography:

Probe

Share

Artist Profiles: Shruti Sadolikar

Shruti Sadolikar

Born in Kurundawad, Maharashtra, Shruti Sadolikar is one of the finest living vocalists in the Hindustani (North Indian) classical tradition. Her name means ‘knowledge transmitted through sound.’

Her guru and mentor was her father, the late Pandit Wamanrao Sadolikar, a well-known exponent of Hindustani classical music. Through meticulous training, Shruti has accumulated a musical knowledge, which she has nourished and expanded by adding her own skill and versatility.

In classical Indian music, the voice is the focal point of the musicthe singer acting as a channel intensifying a shared emotion and bringing the audience into a more intimate relationship with God. Shruti has performed all over the world and has won many awards for her extraordinary talent. She has also formed a foundation in the memory of her father to promote and propagate music, arts and education.

Discography:

In The Jaipur-Atrauli Tradition ‎(Rhythm House, 1984)
Traditional Thumris, Vol. 2 (1986)
Bhakti Varsha – Bhajans (1989)
Rare And Complex “Ragas” The Imaginative ‎(Magnasound, 1990)
Afternoon Ragas Vol 3 (Music Today, 1990)
Bhaktimala – Shiva Vol 1 ‎(Music Today, 1991)
Raga Mian-ki-Todi, Raga Bibhas, Raga Bhairavi ‎(Nimbus Records, 1992)
Evening Ragas Volume One ‎(Music Today, 1992)
Bhaktimala Bhajans (1994)
The Raga Guide A Survey Of 74 Hindustani Ragas ‎(Nimbus Records, 1999)
Bhaktimala – Namastotram, Vol. 2 (Music Today, 2005)
Women Through The Ages Series (Navras, 2006)
Soz-E-Dil (Sony Music india, 2011)

Share

Artist Profiles: Shweta Jhaveri

Shweta Jhaveri

Shweta Jhaveri is one of the most celebrated singers of her generation performing North Indian classical vocal music. Her specialty is the Khayal, the most elegant and technically demanding style of Indian classical music. It is through this unique song form that her innovative artistry and remarkable vocal technique have made her an enduring favorite among audiences in India and abroad.

Born and raised in Ahmedabad (Gujarat), India, Shweta was the first female vocalist to represent the state of Gujarat on an international level in the field of vocal classical Indian music. At the age of 6, she began training under the guidance of the late Pandit Vilasrao Khandekar and for eight years performed and studied with the world renowned vocalist, Pandit Jasraj. She holds a bachelor‘s degree in Literature and a master‘s in Music Composition. In 1985, at the age of nineteen, Shweta made her debut outside of India traveling to Great Britain and the United States, where she now performs annually. Shweta has also developed a strong musical following in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Shweta Jhaveri is the first Indian classical vocalist to publicly perform with westerners and musicians outside of the Indian classical tradition. The music in Anahita is composed in traditional North Indian rags in the form of Drut Khayals, one of the most popular North Indian classical vocal forms. The accompaniment of guitar, bass, violin, and drums is innovative and arresting, lending a modern touch to these traditional musical expressions.

In May 1993, Kavi Alexander, owner of Waterlily Acoustics formed an ensemble called The Court Musicians. During a two day recording session in Santa Bárbara (California), American and Classical Indian musicians collaborated and performed a collection of new works called, At The Court Of The Chera King.

The artists included: Shweta Jhaveri on vocals, Jonathan Kessler on tar, Abdullah Azam on sarod, Charlie Bisharat on violin, Tim Mullins on dobro, Roger Lewbow on cello, Joe Venegoni on dulcimer and Carl Weingarten on dobro & classical guitar.

Shweta Jhaveri is a guest instructor at the Ali Akbar Khan College of Music (AACM).

Shweta Jhaveri is the founder of a music publishing company called Cosmic Khayals (1998) and a recording label ’21st Century Cosmos’ (2003). Shweta Jhaveri has performed extensively in India (frequently at prestigious festivals like Saptak-Ahmedabad, Sankat Mochan-Varanasi, Pandit Motiram Samaroh-Hyderabad, NCPA-Mumbai, Nationwide SpicMacay festival tours,Shankarlal fest.-NewDelhi and more), USA ,UK, Canada, Europe, Argentina, The Netherlands, Bangladesh, Middle East, Mauritious, Singapore.

Besides many national music prizes and trophies, Shweta has been the recipient of – ‘Gaan Kala Bharati’-Ahmedabad at age 14, The Netragaonkar award-Pune 1991, The prestigious Pandit Jasraj award – Pune 1994, The Indo-American Chamber’s award-California 2003, The ASCAPlus awards for her world music English lyrics and Indian classical vocal CD Avishkar, in 2005.

After the released titles Avishkar & Khayal-Saga, Cosmic Khayals/21st Century Cosmos’ next production is the pioneer world vocal music CD release, featuring Shweta’s World music lyrics based on Indian classical ragas.

Discography:

Anahita (Intuition, 2000)
In Various Moods (Biswas Records, 2000)
Hindustani Classical (Biswas Records, 2001)
Avishkar (21st Century Cosmos, 2005)
Khayal-Saga (21st Century Cosmos, 2005)
Music of Teens & 20s (21st Century Cosmos, 2007)
Huge (21st Century Cosmos, 2007)
Awakening (Audiorec Classics, 2011)

Share

Artist Profiles: Ritesh Das

Ritesh Das
Born in Calcutta, India, Ritesh comes from a family of dancers. His parents directed one of India’s leading dance and music facilities and in this environment Ritesh had the opportunity to observe many dance and music gurus. Ritesh began his traditional tabla training with Shankar Ghosh, one of the veterans of tabla.

Ritesh arrived to the U.S. in the late 1970s and continued his studies with Zakir Hussain. In the early eighties he became a student of Swapan Chaudhuri, a legendary figure in tabla, at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, California.

He has been accompanying dance, music and vocal performances from an early age. In the Indian tradition he has worked with Aashish Khan, Krishna Bhat, Aruna Narayan-Kalle, Sabri Khan, Gauri Guha, G.S. Sachdev, Pandit Vyas, Chitresh Das and Joannas Das.

Ritesh’s foremost interest, indeed passion, is the fusion of the North Indian classical rhythms with culturally diverse musical expressions. From 1979-1985, he was the principal percussionist for the Aman Folk Ensemble, an international folk dance company based in Los Angeles, California. Since his arrival in Canada his many credits include performances and recordings with Loreena McKennitt, Jane Siberry, The Tea Party, George Koller, Sonny Greenwich, Don Thompson and Donald Quan.

In 1991 Ritesh founded the Toronto Tabla Ensemble, the first musical group of its kind in Canada. He is also the founding member and artistic co-director of M-DO, a Canadian center in Toronto for cross-cultural music and dance activities. As a composer, he oversees all the Ensemble’s music and has also composed full scores for Firedance, a collective with Joanna Das and Esmeralda Enrique.

Ritesh began teaching tabla when he moved to Canada in 1987. He teaches privately from a studio in downtown Toronto and in the Toronto Metropolitan school system as a recipient of the Ontario Arts Council “Artists in Education” grants, and in programs offered by the Royal Conservatory of Music and the National Ballet School.

Discography:

Toronto Tabla Ensemble (1996)
Second Palla (1998)
Firedance (2000)
Weaving (2002)
Alankar (2008)

Share

Artist Profiles: Ramesh Shotham

Ramesh Shotham

Ramesh Shotham was born in Madras, South India. He began his career as a drummer in a rock band that performed all over the Indian subcontinent, co-leading a group called Human Bondage. During the mid-seventies, he returned to Madras to study the tavil, a traditional Temple music drum,- played throughout South India and Sri Lanka. Later, he studied the other classical percussion instruments, like ghatam, mridangam, kanjira and morsing at the Karnataka College of Percussion under Professor TA.S. Mani.

In 1980 Shotham arrived to Europe with the Indo-Jazz Fusion- group Sangam to participate in various European festivals. Since then Shotham works and lives in Europe and is recognized as one of the most successful percussionists in Europe.

He has worked not only with leading European and American Jazz and Rock musicians, but also with artists from Africa, Australia, China, Korea and several Arabic countries.

Shotham has recorded over 120 LPs and CDs and has worked for all the leading TV and Radio stations in Germany and Europe. In 1984 he was invited as artist-in-residence at the Iwalewa Haus, University of Bayreuth.

In 1986 he was guest teacher at the Conservatory in Rotterdam. He has also conducted workshops and seminars in various cities. Ramesh Shotham has performed at various international festivals.

Shotham’s Work with musicians such as Carla Bley, Chris Hinze, Steve Coleman, Steve Swallow, Jonas Hellborg, Charlie Mariano and a host of others is well documented. He also founded his own bands like Bhavani and Madras Special. These concepts were used to feature Shotham’s own compositions.

Shotham toured with Sigi Schwab’s Percussion Project regularly. He was invited during the 1997 Music Triennale in Cologne to perform with the Carla Bley Big Band. Early 1998 involved work with Steve Coleman in India. Shotham recently appeared in Heartbeat of the Continents, a film by Manfred Waffender featuring different styles of drumming, produced by arte and the ZDF.

Along with Rabih Abou-Kahlil and Zoltan Lantos, he recorded a documentary film for Euroarts to demonstrate the influences of World music on Jazz. Recent activities included a trip to Cuba to play at the Jazzfestival with Steve Coleman, a summer tour with Carla Bley’s Escalator over the hill Project and an invitation to a World Music festival in Tunisia with the well known Oud player Mohammed Zinelabidin.

Ramesh Shotham was commissioned by the WDR to travel to India with his group Madras Special in early 1999 to perform and record new music. The musical concept was based on a quartet format with very special guest musicians, with whom Ramesh Shotham shares a creative friendship since many years.

Zoltan Lantos, the Hungarian violinist who spent several years in India plays a crucial role in Madras Special. His virtuosity and warm sounds coupled with his knowledge of Indian ragas is just right for this music. Sandhya Sanjana, the Indian singer, lives in Amsterdam and easily bridges pop and Indian classical music.

Discography:

Open Hand (Keytone, 1993)
Madras Special (Permission Music, 2002)
Urban Folklore (Double Moon, 2006)

Share

Artist Profiles: RajDhani Quartet

RajDhani Quartet

The RajDhani Quartet combined the improvisational and mystical nature of Hindustani Classical Music with the rhythms of Carnatic Music.

Jay Kishor, who performs on the sitar and surbahar, is a disciple of the legendary performer on the surbahar, Annapurna Devi. He also studied with Pandit Brij Bhushan Kabra, and Dr. Raj Bhan Singh Thakursaheb. Jay has collaborated with guitarists Stanley Jordan and the late Michael Hedges, and has also founded Touching Grace, a sitar-based world music ensemble that strives to combine the ancient and spiritual qualities of Indian classical music with the structure of Western classical, the improvisation and complex rhythm of jazz, the raw emotion of the blues, and the energy and verve of rock. He released his second CD, Amber, an exploration of the rare night melody, Raga Malgunji.

Subhash Karmarkar is the disciple of the celebrated late Padamshri Ustad Ahmed Jan Thirakwa. Subhash has played extensively with vocal, instrumental and Kathak performers in India, West Germany, Canada, the United States and South America. Subhash has performed at the Kennedy Center, the Gandhi Memorial Center, the Smithsonian, the National Press Club, the Noho Art Gallery in New York, and the Artscape and Spoleto festivals. He has also appeared on Good Morning America. He has three CD’s featuring sitar, violin and flute to his credit, and conducts workshops in his spare time.

Subhash Vinjamuri learned Carnatic music on violin from his father Sri Parthasarathi Iyengar, and later studied with Sri Madhala Brahmanamdam Naidu, and with his uncle, Sangeetakalanidhi Dr. Varadaraja Iyengar. Subhash started giving concerts from the age of five. He has accompanied several front-rank musicians from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. He has given several solo concerts in India, the U.S., and Canada. He is an electronics engineer and works for a defense contracting company.

Dr. P. K. Swaminathan had his initial training and further guidance from many renowned teachers in the Tanjore style. Since 1999, he has been studying mridangam with Padmabhushan Sangeetha Kalanidhi Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman. He has accompanied such renowned Carnatic musicians as Padmabhushan Trichur V. Ramachandran, Padmabhushan B. Rajam Iyer, Prof T. R. Subramanian, T. K. Govinda Rao, Neyveli R. Santhanagopalan, Papanasam Ashok Ramani, Smt Sugandha Kalamegam, and Smt. Charumathi Ramachandran. He has provided accompaniment to numerous dance programs as well, in the Bharatha Natyam, Kuchipudi and Mohini Attam styles. He received an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council in 2002. He has established a nonprofit organization to promote mridangam and the unique Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman style. Dr. Swaminathan is a Senior Physicist at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

Discography:

The Gandhi Memorial Concert (Magnatune, 2004)

Share

Multifaceted Indian Musician Babu Kishan Releases 32 Albums on GooglePlay

GooglePlay has just released 32 albums from acclaimed award-winning music composer of Baul, Bollywood, folk, Indian Classical and world music Babu Kishan, also known as Krishnendu Das.

The recordings include 50 years’ worth of music composed and now re-released including world music, folk, Bengali, Baul, Indian spiritual kirtan, bhajans to top Bollywood acts, including Kumar Shanu, Udit Narayan, Anuradha Paudwal, Kavita Krishnamurty, Shaan, Sadhna Sargam, Poornima and many more.

Babu Kishan is a multi-instrumentalist, who plays 15 instruments, has produced 60 albums, composed 150 musical scores for Indian Cinema, and has released more than a thousand albums working for India’s top music companies including manager A&R/ Consultant at India’s popular music & film companies like CBS, Tips music, Gramophone Company, Time, ABCL.

He is the eldest son of the legendary Purna Das Baul who introduced Baul to India and the world more than 70 years ago. Babu been preserving his mystical tradition of Baul from Bengal for 45 years. Others follow him and his lineage, they do not follow anybody. He recorded and composed the music for most of his father’s Baul music and has performed since the early 1970s traveling around the world with his father.

Raised by his grandfather, the legendary Nabani Das Khyapa Baul, who was Rabindranath Tagore’s Baul Guru, what the Bauls are singing today is the music of his renowned family.

Born an oral Sanskritist and musician, he speaks many languages and has composed music in 12 languages, traveling to more than 100 countries and collaborating with Bob Dylan and The Band whom he toured the United States of America 40 concerts in the mid 1980’s. He has jammed with The Rolling Stones, Third World, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, George Harrison of the Beatles and many more. He has toured with Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan, Sultan Khan, and Zakir Hussain.

Babu Kishan is a prolific poet and has written thousands of songs and composed music for most of India’s top legends. The 32 albums released on GooglePlay are focus on some of his compositions.
Babu Kishan’s new book on his world of music be released later this year, Baul to Bollywood to the World, historical Baul, who made a Greatest platform and preserved so can be much easier for new Bauls and the world.

He has a master in Indian Music from Calcutta University and has been a Indian Cultural Ambassador and world music pioneer since the 1970s. Babu Kishan was awarded the youngest Music Composer in Bengal in the 1970s at just 11 years of age. Bollywood lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.

More at www.BabuKishan.org

Share

Artist Profiles: Purna Das Baul

Purna Das Baul

Purna Das Baul, whose real name is Baul Samrat Shri Purna Ch. Das, was born March 18, 1933, in the village Ekchakka in the Birbhum District. He comes from a long lineage of Bauls, a sect of wandering minstrels from Bengal who sing traditional and spiritual folk music. His father is the late Shri Nabani Das Khepa Baul, a celebrated baul singer and a friend and inspiration for philosopher Rabindranath Tagore. His mother is the late Smt. Brajobala Das.

The Bauls are a nomadic sect whose religious philosophy goes back over 1000 years. One of the main tenets of Baul cult is love for humanity irrespective of their caste and creed, faith and religion, color and custom. The Bauls speak about the universal mysteries of life in simple words to touch the heart of common man.

Bauls seek their own person throughout their song. Their sadhana is singing spiritual songs. According to Baul philosophy, the soul or the Maner Manush is nothing but the god within oneself who has to be perceived and realized through inner enlightenment. A Baul is he who searches for god in man.

The Bauls sing in a style both dynamic and sensual, and use very simple instruments (including the ektara , whose single string symbolizes the unity with God), which manage to create peculiar textures and remarkably varied rhythms.

Purna Das Baul is a real folk hero in his country, where he is referred to as “the King of Bauls”. He represents the seventh generation in a dynasty of prestigious musicians. He used to spend most of his time with his father Nabani Das, who used to teach Purna Das the most fabulous Baul songs.

Purna Das, at the age of four, got a job as a singer in an opera part, earning only five rupees per night. There, he contacted laureate Tarashankar Bandhopadhyay. Their association inspired Tarashankar to write novels like Raikamal.

At the age of nine Purna Das went with his father to Rajasthan to a convention, where he earned a thunderous applause and a gold medal from Acharya Binoba Bhave. In 1942 he joined Akashbani (All India Radio) Calcutta as a Class A guest artist on invitation from the Station Director, without any audition.

Since 1960 he has attended nearly 200 national radio conferences covering most of the radio stations through out India.

From 1964 to 1980 he was sponsored by the field publicity department of the Ministry of Broadcasting. Purna Das was invited to perform as a guest artist of the government of India in various locations throughout India.

In 1967 he was awarded the title Baul Samrat (The King of Baul) by the President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, in the year 1967.

Purna Das has also been involved with movie and theater productions, since 1958, as an important playback singer and actor in a number of Bengali films and theater plays.

In the 1960s, Purna Das Baul’s free-spirited nature and amazing vocal abilities found him in the company of prominent Westerners such as Bob Dylan, poet Allen Ginsburg and Mick Jagger. Today he is known as the most popular of all Baul performers, and has many international recordings to his credit. He is passing on his original songs and traditional Baul melodies to his three sons, with whom he actively performs on a regular basis.

Discography:

Spiritual Songs of India (Chhanda Dhara)
The Bauls of Bengal (CramWorld, 1994)
Bengali Folk Songs (Saregama, 1995)
Songs of Love & Ecstasy (Womad Select, 1996)
Songs of the Madmen (Kali Mandir)
Ancient Mother: Kali Puja (White Swan, 2004)

Share