Musical Performance: An Evening of Hindustani Classical Music

Sat, August 9, 2008 8:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

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An Evening of Hindustani Classical Music

$20 ($15 Students with Valid ID)

House Opens 7:30 PM Soloists:

Pandit Samar Saha, tabla Shrimati Madhumita Saha, vocal Accompanist: Andrew Shantz, harmonium

Two halves with intermission for tea and Bengali sweets.

Hindustan is an extension of the highway of cultural exchange stretching from the Middle East to Greater Bengal. The Hindustani Classical tradition grows from ancient Vedic roots in the Indus Valley and has been cultivated over the millenia by the many peoples that have passed through and remained in Northern India. It was fundamentally influenced by Middle Eastern and Persian culture during the centuries of Islamic rule under the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire. Samarji Saba and Madunita Saha will present a wide spectrum of the classical and light classical styles that have developed throughout the history of this music including Khayal, Ghazal, Thumri, Bhajan and Dadra, ending with Tabla Solo by Pandit Samarji.

Smt. MADHUMITA SAHA: Born in a music loving family of Kalyani, West Bengal, Smt. Madhumita Saha was exposed to music early in life. Initiated into Hindustani Classical music by Smt. Ira Roy, her latent talent was subsequently recognized by the faculty at the Sangeet Research Academy (SRA), in Kolkata where she matriculated in 1989 as a General Class student under the guidance of Pandit Arun Bhaduri. Madhumitaji’s voice and musical mind have always been versatile and dynamic.

As a student she loved to gauge the heights and depths of a wide range of musical idioms - in keeping with the restlessness of her generation of musical colleagues. Enticed by the lilting beauty of Ghazal, Thumri and Dadra, she came under the tutelage of Smt. Shipra Bose at SRA. At the same time, the magnetic combination of literature and melody of Nazrulgeeti compelled her to learn this popular idiom of light classical music from her native Bengal region. Very soon she mastered the subtle nuance of this style under the tutelage of Shri Biman Mukherjee. Madhumitaji is presently a faculty member of Sangeet Piyasi – an organization founded by her husband Pandit Samar Saha- where she teaches both local and international students. An All India Radio artist, Madhumitaji has given classical as well as light classical recitals throughout Northern India. She regularly lends her voice to Bengali television productions as well, always to an enthusiastic response from viewers. Over the years, Madhumitaji has toured widely including appearances in North America. Her debut recording was Pratham Prem followed by Chena Achenar Majhe. Her newest album of Bengali songs, Morning Dew was released this February.

PANDIT SAMAR SAHA has long been established as an eminent tabla player in Kolkata –Hindustani music’s capital- Pandit Samar Saha continues to be an influential soloist, sought after accompanist, beloved guru and distinguished exponent of the Benares tradition of tabla. Trained first under his father Sri Sudhansu Bhusan Saha and brother Sri Tarak Saha, Mr. Saha began formal talim briefly under Sri Satchidananda Goswami before devoting himself to studies under Sri Krishna Kumar Ganguly (Natubabu) until his guruji’s passing. A dynamic and insightful soloist, Saha draws on a deep and diverse repertoire of compositions to fuel his improvisation. His performances are both unpredictable and uplifting. In 2005 Mr. Saha released Follower, an album of tabla solo on the Bihaan Music label. While Saha is highly valued by soloists for his subtle yet propulsive accompaniment, he is never at a loss for fireworks when the moment is right.

The late music critic Prakash Wadhera of The Hindu wrote: “Effortless and unobtrusive, Samar seems to have attained the very perfection in the art of rhythmic accompaniment.” Mr. Saha has had the honor of accompanying the late Ud. Ali Akbar Khan Saheb and Ud. Bismillah Khan Saheb on several occasions. He also frequently accompanies Pdt. Hariprasad Chaurasia and can regularly be found onstage or in the studio with the senior most artists of our time including Pdt. Ajoy Chakraborty, Ud. Rashid Khan, the late Pdt. Bhimsen Joshi, Pdts. Rajan and Sajan Misra, Bgm. Parveen Sultana, Ud. Amjad Ali Khan, Ud. Shujaat Khan and Smt. Girija Devi.

Saha has toured extensively in North America and Europe both independently and as a faculty member of the ITC Sangeet Research Academy –where he has taught since its inception. He performed with Ud. Rais Khan at London’s Royal Albert Hall and was a part of the festivities held at Carnegie Hall in New York to celebrate the 50th anniversary of India’s Independence. A short list of other major cities where Mr. Saha has performed includes Chicago, Toronto, Dallas, Montreal and Detroit. In India he has performed at nearly all major venues and festivals including North India’s flag-ship festival Dover Lane -where he has been onstage every year since 1989- and the Indo-Occidental Symbiosis at Kolkata’s prestigious Kala Mandir. Saha will be touring the US and Canada this summer performing solo as well as in accompaniment to his wife, vocalist Madhumita Saha. For further information, performance media and a partial discography, please visit:

ANDREW SHANTZ: Originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Andrew is a pianist, improviser, composer and long-time friend of Alwan who began studies in Hindustani Classical voice with Smt. Madhumita Saha and harmonium with Sri Hironmay Mitra this January in Kolkata. He completed a B.M. in Jazz Performance at William Paterson University in 2003 and has performed on piano throughout the New York area since his arrival in 1999.

Last updated: 2008-08-04 17:06:06

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