Raga Fantasy by Inner Circle

HC_InnercircleLegendary Indian flautist Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia will be heading to South Africa in June for a two concert tour. The grand master of the bansuri (bamboo flute) will be headlining two concerts titled Raga Fantasy. Chaurasia will be accompanied on this tour by Subhankar Banerjee on tabla, and Bhawani Shankar on pakhawaj in a concert on Indian Classical music. The concert also features for the first time in South Africa, a professional female tabla player, Rimpa Siva who will present a tabla solo performance.

Chaurasia is known for his outstanding contribution in popularizing Indian Classical Music all over the world. His consummate artistry has distinguished him as the greatest living master of the North Indian Bamboo Flute, acclaimed both at home and abroad.

Born on July 1st, 1938 in Allahabad, he began his musical pursuit at the age of 15, learning classical vocal technique from Pandit Rajaram. Within a year, however, he had switched to flute playing, after hearing Pandit Bholanath, a noted flautist from Varanasi. He learnt from Pandit Bholanath for eight years. In 1957, barely out of his teens, he became a regular staff artiste of All India Radio, Cuttack in Orissa, where he worked as performer as well as a composer. From here began his musical journey that took him all over the globe.

Transferred by AIR (All India Radio) Cuttack to Mumbai in 1960, he received further guidance from Surbahar player Shrimati Annapurna Devi, daughter of late Ustad Allaudin Khan and sister of sarod maestro late Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. Under her guidance his music acquired a new dimension and he left AIR to pursue his performing career.

Since then Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia has been performing nationally and internationally winning acclaim from varied audiences and from fellow musicians like Yehudi Menuhin, Jean-Pierre Rampal, among others. Pandit Chaurasia tours regularly in the US and Europe and is a featured artiste in many major music festivals around the globe.

As a musician Hariprasad Chaurasia is a rare combination of an innovator and a traditionalist. He has significantly expanded the expressive possibilities of classical North Indian flute- playing through his masterful blowing technique and his unique adaptation of alaap and jod to the flute. He is an immensely popular artiste in India and abroad. Pandit Chaurasia’s horizons also extend beyond North Indian Classical music to Indian folk, popular, western, and Indian film music.

The famous “Silsila” which he collaborated on with Pandit Shivkumar Sharma was a platinum disc in India, and the musical duo Shiv-Hari went on to compose soulful music for many successful movies like Lamhe, Chandni, Faasle, Parampara, Sahibaan and Darr.

His other major work with Pandit Shivkumar Sharma is Call of the Valley, a groundbreaking album released in 1967 which is still one of the best-selling and popular Indian Classical albums ever released.

The Youtube Playlist of Chaurasia’s best!

Hariprasad Chaurasia has recorded many albums in which he has tried to combine Indian Classical Music with western music. His album Making Music (ECM Records) with John McLaughlin, Jan Garbarek, and Zakir Hussain is a fine example of his versatility and ability to collaborate.

Chaurasia has won multiple awards in India and abroad, earned three honorary doctorates, and the prestigious Ordres des Arts et Lettres in France in 2008. He still teaches music at the Rotterdam Music Conservatorium, where he is the Artistic Director of the Indian Music Department.

Rimpa Siva is one of the very few female tabla players in India. Rimpa continues to mesmerise audiences wherever she performs. Producer of the prestigious Darbar festival in London, Sandeep Virdee notes that she has earned the fastest standing ovation of all artists he has ever invited to perform at the festival. She was the subject of the 1999 French documentary film Rimpa Siva: Princess of Tabla.

Born to a family of music-lovers in Calcutta in 1986, Rimpa displayed a keen interest in playing the tabla and other Indian musical instruments. Tabla, the classical percussion instrument of the East was never considered a feminine forte in traditional societies of Indian sub-continent – but Rimpa Siva changed that rule.

She received her first lessons from her father Prof. Swapan Siva, himself an acclaimed Tabla player and disciple of late Ustad Keramatullah Khan of Farukhabad Gharana ( tradition ). At the age of nine, Rimpa earned scholarships from West Bengal State Music Academy and Salt Lake City music festival in 1995. Her first big public performance was at the Netaji Indoor Stadium in Calcutta in January 1996, was a huge success. Hailed as a prodigy by maestros like Ustad Zakir Hussain, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Pandit Kishen Maharaj and Pandit Sivkumar Sharma, the young princess of tabla has performed many concerts in Europe and America during her sojourns in the world capitals since 1996. In 1997, she was invited to Netherlands to participate in World Child festival. In 2000 she performed across the USA securing her a place in the hearts of Asians and Americans alike.

Far from being a mere companion to a veteran vocalist or instrumentalist, Rimpa energises her audience singularly with her solo performances. The girl of different strokes begins her ‘tabla lahara’ or expositions in different traditions of Indian classical music, starting with a ‘Peshkar’ or introduction. Thereafter, Gats and Tukra as well as Chakradars create the poetic mood and gradually prepare the audience to redeem their finer senses and be in tune to the cosmic rhythm. Finally comes a crescendo through her Kaidaa and Rela. Tumultuous Tals or rhythmic beats at her fingertips create surreal sounds of horsehoofs and lead the listeners on a roller-coaster aural journey as the humble Tabla turns into mighty drums.

Raga Fantasy is produced by Inner Circle Entertainment, the premier producer of Indian Classical music concerts in South Africa.

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RAGA FANTASY Concert Dates:

  • Saturday 14 June; 7.30pm; at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town;
  • Sunday 15 June; 4.00pm; at The Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City, Johannesburg

Tickets are available from Computicket

For pictures / interviews / any further information please e-mail: or call 072 5000 800

Raga Fantasy is produced and presented by Inner Circle Entertainment, the premier producer of Indian Classical music concerts in South Africa. Inner Circle Entertainment’s productions have been noted and acclaimed by leading UK based world music magazine, SONGLINES.

Previous productions include:

  1. Rakesh Chaurasia and Friends (live at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival 2014)
  2. Ragas of the Desert (with Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt)
  3. Celebration of Sitar (with Ustad Shujaat Khan)
  4. Celebration of Santoor (with Pt Shivkumar Sharma and Rahul Sharma)
  5. Three Shades of Raga with vocalist Pandit Jasraj, violinist Kala Ramnath, and sarodist Ken Zuckerman.
  6. Two Shades of Raga (with sitar genius Ustad Shahid Parvez and flautist Rupak Kulkarni)
  7. Ragas of Romance (with flautist Rakesh Chaurasia and Tarun Bhattacharya)
  8. Raga on 200 Strings (featuring the santoor legend Pt Shivkumar Sharma)
  9. Jagjit Singh Live in South Africa

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.