“It’s really an honor to continue to share Hindustani music of this caliber in King County,” commented Priya Diaz, ACIT educational director. “It’s a great opportunity for music students of all styles and the public to experience something ‘out of the box’, as this musical tradition is vibrant and complex, improvised and structured at the same time, with some similar structural elements of Jazz, but painted by the musical colors of the ancient taala (rhythm) and raga (melody) system.”
ACIT Seattle is one of a 52 recipients nationwide who were awarded $1.2 million in Art Works grants in the Folk and Traditional category by the NEA; these awards were part of $25 million in NEA grants in its first 2018 funding announcement. The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts.
“Musicians, music lovers and music students all over Seattle will benefit from the continued support of the NEA said ACIT Executive Director and Co-founder Ravi Albright, who is also a professional tabla player and percussionist. “For the third year in a row, the Access to Ustads Project will bring some of the best musicians of the Hindustani genre from around the world to the Pacific Northwest. The sustained support of the Art Works grant feed these important cultural traditions that enrich our diverse communities and bring us together through learning and experiencing art.”
The Access to Ustads Project will take place in between April and November 2018, in King County. Four master guest musicians will demonstrate, engage and share techniques of their art form in the oral tradition with the public, including student and professional musicians of all ages. Each performance will feature one of the artists on Southeast Asian instruments like sitar, sarod, bansuri and tabla. In addition, each master will also give a lecture and interactive workshop to engage children, musicians and the general public.
“It is energizing to see the impact that the arts are making throughout the United States,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “These NEA-supported projects, such as this one to ACIT Seattle, are good examples of how the arts build stronger and more vibrant communities, improve well-being, prepare our children to succeed, and increase the quality of our lives. At the National Endowment for the Arts, we believe that all people should have access to the joy, opportunities and connections the arts bring.”
Founded in 2010, the Anindo Chatterjee Institute of Tabla Seattle (ACIT Seattle) works to support and promote and support the art of classical Hindustani music and tabla drumming through educational concerts, programs and classes in western Washington. It was founded by a small group of tabla students, teachers, musicians and tabla enthusiasts who came together in 2009 with the idea of creating a learning community in Seattle. In 2010 ACIT launched its website, held its first workshops, tabla solo performance and master class at the University of Washington. The majority of its activities, including its website, are organized and produced entirely through volunteer hours and other donations. For more information, visit www.ACITSeattle.org
Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.