World’s best Sitar player comes to South Africa

two-shades-of-ragaLovers of Indian Classical Music are in for a treat in June this year when the sitar genius, Ustad Shahid Parvez, graces South Africa with a three city concert tour titled TWO SHADES OF RAGA. Ustad Shahid Parvez will be accompanied on tabla by leading tabla player Akram Khan. The concert is a double bill and also features master flautist Rupak Kulkarni accompanied on tabla by Anubrata Chatterjee.

Ustad Shahid Parvez, descends from six generations of sitarists. He is the leading exponent of the Etawah Gharana, a musical tradition or “family” committed to this most famous of Indian instruments. His family has produced some of the most revered and influential figures in North Indian Classical Music including the likes of Ustad Sahabdad Khan, Ustad Imdad Khan, Ustad Enayet Khan, Ustad Waheed Khan and his uncle Ustad Vilayat Khan.

Few instrumentalists have enjoyed so much of love and admiration as Ustad Shahid Parvez has, from the music loving fraternity worldwide. He is the recipient of numerous national and international awards including the prestigious “Sangeet Natak Academy Award” (2006). His recent concert at the base of the Eiffel Tower drew thousands of people, and he is always a major attraction at South Asian music events like Darbar and the Saptak festival. Those who see him for the first time usually walk out saying, “Why have I never heard of this guy before?” Shahid Parvez is amongst the busiest musicians on the Indian concert circuit. He has released over a 100 titles in the pre-recorded music market, and has had successful concert tours of the USA, Canada, Western and Eastern Europe, Australia, New Zealand, USSR, the Arabian Gulf, and East Africa. With numerous CDs and DVDs, awards and accolades, and a distinguished performance career in India and around the world, he is widely recognized as the greatest contemporary performing sitar-player.

The traditions of the Etawah Gharana have remained vital and productive in his hands. He has worked hard to emphasize the unique capabilities of the sitar itself, introducing highly energized and rhythmically innovative instrumental play (tantrakari) into a tradition heavily reliant on the models of classical vocal music (gayaki ang).

Ustad Shahid Parvez has now entered the peak of his formidable musical powers. He maintains a rigorous worldwide tour schedule and leaves audiences in awe after each performance.

For Ustad Shahid Parvez, the sitar and self are identical entities, and music is not just a discipline but life itself – vibrating and pulsating and full of colour. The power of his music is most immediately encountered in the highly charged sound quality he conjures from his sitar and the sparkling intelligence that is the hallmark of his improvisatory music. By sheer precision and an astute artistic sense he has made for himself a place in the limitless, infinite universe of Indian Classical Music.

“Rhythm and music is so much a part of the people of South Africa. It will be my pleasure to share our music and the traditions of Indian Classical Music, as has been practiced by seven generations of our family, with the people of South Africa. I know that there is a large jazz following and audiences in South Africa will be pleased to discover the many similarities between jazz and Indian Classical Music,” says Shahid Parvez from the USA where he is currently on a two month tour,

Rupak Kulkarni has blossomed as the senior disciple of flute legend Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia to become an outstanding exponent of the Maihar Gharana. Rupak’s first solo flute performance was at the age of 9 where he left a 1500 strong audience spellbound. Since then he has performed all over India and abroad in almost all prestigious music conferences. He is also a very sought after musician on the world music scene and is one of the most popular among the current generation of flautists from India.

Anubrata Chatterjee is the son of the world-renowned tabla maestro, Pandit Anindo Chatterjee (who toured South Africa with santoor maestro Pandit Shivkumar Sharma in 2007). Anubrata was nurtured from day one to be a tabla player. Anubrata started his career performing with Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia and since then, he has been performing regularly with musicians like Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Ustad Rais Khan, Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, Ustad Shahid Parvez, Ustad Shujaat Khan, Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Amaan & Ayaan Ali Khan, Kala Ramnath, Purbayan Chatterjee and many more around the globe. Anubrata made his international debut with a solo performance at the BBC World Radio, U.K.

He has performed in some of the most prestigious festivals in countries including the USA, UK, Greece, Jordan, Egypt, Croatia, Indonesia, Germany, France, Neteherlands, Scotland, Switzerland, Qatar, Trinidad and Tobago, Seychelles, Singapore, Malaysia, Bangladesh, and UAE. He has represented The Govt. of India at the Corfu festival in Greece, Jerash Festival in Jordan, Dubrovnic Festival in Croatia.

Today Anubrata is acclaimed as one of the best young percussionists by the most senior maestros in India as well as connoisseurs of music worldwide.

Indian Classical Music have gained popularity in South Africa over the past five years, much to the credit of Inner Circle Entertainment who have secured and hosted the crème of Indian performing artists. This will be Shahid Parvez’ debut South African tour.

TWO SHADES OF RAGA concert dates are:

Cape Town – Friday 12 June 2009 – Baxter Concert Hall, Rondebosch

Durban – Saturday 13 June 2009 – Playhouse Theatre, Durban

Johannesburg – Sunday 14 June 2009 – Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City

Tickets are available exclusively from Computicket.

TWO SHADES OF RAGA is produced by Inner Circle Entertainment and brought to you in association SABC 2’s Eastern Mosaic and Incredible !ndia.

The Johannesburg and Durban concerts are presented in association with the Aryan Benevolent Home.


Issued on behalf of Inner Circle Entertainment, Cape Town, 28 April 2009

For any queries, questions, pictures, or to setup any interviews, please e-mail or call Simone Heradien on 073 931 0001. Pictures will be emailed on request.

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Inner Circle Entertainment is the premier producer of Indian Classical music concerts in South Africa. Its previous productions include Raga on 200 Strings (featuring santoor maestro Pandit Shivkumar Sharma and Rahul Sharma), Raga on 24 Strings (featuring violinist Kala Ramnath and sitar player Purbayan Chatterjee), RAGA AFRIKA (the world’s first musical collaboration between India and South Africa), Raga on 120 Strings (featuring Rahul Sharma and Purbayan Chatterjee), and Jagjit Singh Live in South Africa.

The Aryan Benevolent Home was established in 1921 by the Arya Yuvuk Sabha to provide residential and developmental care to the indigent, frail and destitute in our community. In 1927 children and youth in need of care were included in the bouquet of services offered by the Home. Today the Home provides care and services to over 1300 people on a day to day basis in 16 projects nationally. It employs over 400 personnel ranging from medical professionals to general assistants. It is a registered non-profit

organization and all its initiatives enjoy the recognition by the various departments of government. The Home has a 30 million rand annual budget. Approximately 48% of this is received from the Department of Social Development and the balance is raised through various funding initiatives, including concerts like these.

About Naufal Khan

Naufal Khan was the Publisher at ADISHAKTI MEDIA and the editor-in-chief of the South African Indian news service Indian Spice. Khan was former Sunday Times journalist and also an occult fiction and non-fiction writer with several published titles.