ragas of romance

Ragas of Romance

ragas of romanceLovers of Indian Classical Music will treated to an evening of romantic and soulful music in the forthcoming production Ragas of Romance featuring Tarun Bhattacharya (santoor), Rakesh Chaurasia (flute), and Abhijit Banerjee (tabla).

Each one of these artists have made major contributions to the realm of Indian Classical Music internationally. The concert series starts in Cape Town on Friday 15 April at the Baxter Concert Hall, and then moves to the Lyric Theatre in Johannesburg on Sunday 17 April. Ragas of Romance will feature solos by each principal artist accompanied by tabla, and then move on to the much acclaimed jugalbandi (duet) between flute and santoor accompanied by tabla.

Santoor maestro Tarun Bhattacharya has been a pioneering and revolutionary musician who has changed the face of Indian classical music, he has been truly an unparalleled music ambassador of India. He received his talim (music training) from his father Pandit Rabi Bhattacharya, Pandit Dulal Roy and finally from the great Bharat Ratna and legendary sitarist Pandit Ravi Shankar.

The famous Maihar Gharana’s (school / tradition of music which produced luminaries such as Baba Alauddin Khan, Annapurna Devi, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia) only santoor maestro, Tarun Bhattacharya has revolutionized santoor, the instrument, as well as it’s style of play. He displayed for the first time ever (1980) that one could ‘meend’ or glide notes (a technique adapted from vocal music) at the lower octave in a hammered instrument like santoor.

One of the most celebrated torch bearers of Indian classical music he has virtually traversed the globe many times over performing in some of most prestigious venues and cities as Royal Albert Hall, Palais des Beaux (Brussels), Theater De La Ville (France), Apollo Theatre (Spain), Jubilee Auditorium (Canada), and the Kremlin (Russia).

Maestro Tarun Bhattacharya has released over 100 albums. His album “Lovers Conversation” and the “Song of Nature” series are particularly popular in South Africa. He has been the recipient of numerous felicitations and wards in classical and world music. He is Rotary International’s Global Ambassador for Peace & Goodwill. Maestro Tarun Bhattacharya is also a visiting professor at the Nupur Dance Academy, USA.

Rakesh Chaurasia is the nephew and child prodigy of flute maestro Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia. The most accomplished of disciples of his uncle, he shows all the promise to carry the Chaurasia legacy to new heights.

Just like his legendary uncle, Rakesh possesses the right balance of strength and serenity, very critical factors for an exceptional flautist. His dextrous blowing technique coupled with his training of ‘swar’ and ‘tala’ exudes adeptly in his emotions through the hollow piece of bamboo. Rakesh has travelled the world enthralling audiences at classical and semi-classical concerts. He is also an accomplished musician having recorded with most of the leading stalwarts of the Indian film industry.

He has composed music and worked with artists such as the Spanish guitarist Marco Salaun, Indian jazz pianist Louis Banks and percussionist Taufiq Qureshi, amongst others. “VIRA”, is one of his most successful and highly acclaimed albums on which he was accompanied by Talvin Singh on the tabla. Soon after its release, he and Talvin were invited to conclude the 24 hour live music broadcast to a worldwide audience on the BBC radio celebrating Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee. His album “Divinity” is extremely popular in South Africa.

His growing maturity and status has brought him invitations to perform solo at major events within India and abroad such as the Festival of Saint-Denis in Paris with Talvin Singh, Leicester International Music Festival in England, ‘Ashirwadh Sangeet Samaroh’ in Varanasi. At ‘Anubhuti’ in Mumbai history was made when, for the first time ever, Rakesh, Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pt Shivkumar Sharma and Rahul Sharma, all performed together on stage accompanied by the legendary tabla wizard Ustad Zakir Hussain. In 2007 Rakesh received the Indian Music Academy Award from the then President of India Dr. Abdul Kalam and the Aditya Birla Kalakiran Puraskar in 2008. Rakesh accompanied Ustad Zakir Hussain at the opening concert of Celtic Connections 2011 in Glasgow in January 2011. He is indeed, destined to carve a niche for himself in the realm of Indian Classical Music with the simple yet extremely difficult to play bamboo flute, the Bansuri.

Abhijit Banerjee is considered among the foremost tabla players from India and one of the most sought after creative artists in the realm of Indian percussion. With nearly 20 years of professional experience Abhijit has crafted a unique style and creative approach which has brought him accolades and awards from all over the world for his sensitivity, skill and deep sense of musicality. Apart from his contributions to Indian music he has left his mark in a diverse field of crossover music both as a performer and composer.

Recognizing his talent and natural inclination towards music his father steered him to tabla at the age of four. Abhijit also studied vocal music and violin making a complete musician out of him. Now he is accepted as one of pioneering disciples of the illustrious guru, the late Pandit Jnan Prakash Ghosh. Abhijit has accompanied nearly all the senior luminaries of Indian classical music including Pandit Ravi Shankar, late Pandit Nikhil Banerjee, Begum Parweena Sultana, Pandit Jasraj, Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, Dr. Balamurali Krishnan to name a few. As a tabla soloist he has also made his mark in numerous performances and recordings in India and abroad.

In addition to a highly successful career in Indian Classical music his crossover work includes collaborations with musicians such as Ry Cooder, Larry Corryell and Trilok Gurtu. Abhijit founded his own touring ensemble “Tarang” performing his original compositions, and released a CD of the same title. He is also member of the Raga Jazz group, Arohi Ensemble.

Abhijit has founded and established Dhwani Academy of Percussion in Los Angeles, New York, Singapore and Calcutta attracting talented students from around the world. The Academy also works towards the promotion of Indian music and has initiated needy blind children in the art of music.

In addition to the concert schedule the artists will be conducting workshops at schools (as part of Inner Circle’s outreach project), and master-classes aimed at musicians in both Cape Town and Johannesburg. Further information will be released soon.

Ragas of Romance is produced by Inner Circle Entertainment, the premier producer of Indian Classical music concerts in South Africa. Its previous productions include Raga on 200 Strings (featuring the santoor legend Shivkumar Sharma with Grammy award winner Bhawani Shankar and Rahul Sharma), Jagjit Singh Live in South Africa, Raga Afrika (the world’s first musical collaboration between South Africa and India), Two Shades of Raga (with sitar genius Ustad Shahid Parvez and flautist Rupak Kulkarni), and more recently Three Shades of Raga with Pandit Jasraj, violinist Kala Ramnath, and sarodist Ken Zuckerman.

The performance dates are:

Cape Town – Friday 15th April 2011, Baxter Concert Hall

Johannesburg – Sunday 17th April 2011, Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City

Tickets available from Computicket outlets, online or call centre 083 915 8000.


Issued on behalf of Inner Circle Entertainment

Cape Town

27January 2011

For pictures / interviews / any further information please e-mail:

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.