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INE: Fourth Indian Classical Music Conference Slated

Posted by ElJay Arem (IMC OnAir) on April 6, 2009

Issue Date: April 1-15, 2009, Posted On: 4/6/2009

Fourth Indian Classical Music Conference Slated

By KARA•BECKER

Take some Carnatic music, add an equal portion Hindustani sound, toss in some Indian-Western fusion for flavor and mix thoroughly. The result could only be the fourth annual Indian Classical Music Conference, which will be held April 10-12 at the Regis College Fine Arts Center in Weston.

The music festival is organized by the renowned LearnQuest Academy of Music in Waltham, and will feature a variety of classical Indian and fusion musical styles.

Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia (wearing blue) performs on the bansuri, the north Indian bamboo flute, at LearnQuest's 2008 Indian Classical Music Conference.
Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia (wearing blue) performs on the bansuri, the north Indian bamboo flute, at LearnQuest’s 2008 Indian Classical Music Conference.

“This is something unique we do here; we don’t have a mix of music styles in India,” concert chairman Jawed Wahid said. “Here we have Hindustani, Carnatic and fusion. One goal is to introduce one to the other. There will be top-notch artists from India, and we got them to perform all at once in a very short period of time.”

Among the many performers who will be showcased at the conference are violin maestro M.S. Gopalakrishnan, who performs both Hindustani and Carnatic music; Hindustani vocalists Padma Talwalkar, Arti Ankalikar, Jayateertha Mevundi and the young Anand Bhate; and Carnatic vocalist T.M. Krishna. Hindustani violinist Kala Ramnath, Shehnai maestro Ali Ahmed Hussain and sitar expert Ikhlaq Hussain also will appear. In addition, the Carnatic Pancha Vadya Kutchery, an all-women flute, violin and veena ensemble led by Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi.

Kicking off the festival a week early, on Sunday, April 5, is a video presentation of the two-hour documentary “Raga Unveiled,” an extensive look into the mystique of Indian classical music. The film showing is being arranged by conference sponsor MITHAS, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT Heritage of the Arts of South Asia. LearnQuest Director Pradeep Shukla said the film complements the academy’s mission to educate listeners not just about how music is played, but also about the ancient origins and methodology of the craft.

Gita Desai
Gita Desai

“Raga Unveiled” Director Gita Desai, a resident of Avon, Conn., and avid follower of all things related to Indian classical music, also directed the film “Yoga Unveiled” in 2004. The documentary is still shown regularly on PBS.

The film is chock full of information, with interviews of nearly every major musician on the Indian music scene. “Raga Unveiled” also features Vedic and music scholars, archival footage, live concerts, lecture demonstrations, and even charts and maps designed to make everything clear to the viewer.

“It shows the complexity of the music,” said Desai, who said she worked on the film for four years. “The antiquity goes back 4,000-5,000 years to the Vedas, who wanted to tie together the theme about how everything ties together. “

The film will be shown at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the 10-250 Theater.

The festival will continue the following weekend at The Fine Arts Center at Regis College in Weston, with two concerts on Friday, April 7, seven concerts on Saturday, April 11, and six performances on Sunday, April 12. Crowds are expected to reach up to 400 people in concert halls during peak shows.

“We’ve built up a local following, with audiences coming from all over the nation,” said Wahid. The density of the scheduling, Wahid said, is part of what makes the event unique and authentic.

“Back in India, they have this concept of all-day and -night concerts,” said Wahid. “They let you be fully immersed in the music. It hasn’t quite gotten a hold here in America, for Indian music, anyways. We’re trying to recreate this art form for the Indian community.”

For more information about the LearnQuest Academy of Music’s Indian Classical Music Conference 2009 or to get a complete schedule of events, visit http://www.learnquest.org/conference2009.

(Source: 04/06/2009 – India New England)

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