The annual L.A. Philharmonic presents the KCRW World Festival which will conclude with “India Calling!,” a celebration of the music and dance traditions of India, from the beauty of the Indian classical and folk legacy to the internationally popular music born from these traditions.
Highlights include “King of Bhangra” Malkit Singh; Kailash Kher’s Kailasa, featuring Kailash Kher and Naresh and Paresh Kamath performing Sufi-folk rock; the Ravi Shankar Centre Ensemble; Shankar’s daughter, Anoushka Shankar, on sitar; and the Rhythm of Rajasthan playing traditional rhythms and melodies.
Malkit Singh has taken music from the Punjabi vernacular from the relative obscurity of a Punjabi village to the heady heights of a world stage. He has toured in over 36 countries, released 21 albums, recorded numerous music videos, and received endless awards and accolades. Malkit’s songs have been featured on the big screen, such as “Jind Mahi” in Bend It Like Beckham, and “Gurh Nalon Ishq Mitha” in Monsoon Wedding. Singh has been recognized by Guinness World Records as the best-selling bhangra solo artist in the world.
Kailash Kher’s meteoric rise from a humble upbringing outside of New Delhi to being appointed a judge for the 2008-09 season of “Indian Idol”—all before the age of 30—has been remarkable. In 2001, Kailash’s the raw and soulful voice caught the attention of many production houses and film composers in Mumbai. Since then, his credits include over 60 different film soundtracks, including Salaam-e-Ishq, Chandi Chowk to China, and Andaaz, and nearly 200 jingles. Kailash began collaborating with brothers Naresh and Paresh Kamath in search of a more satisfying Sufi-folk rock sound. Together they created Kailash Kher’s Kailasa, and have released two critically acclaimed albums, Kailasa and Jhommo Re, and toured worldwide to sold-out audiences.
Sitar player and composer Anoushka Shankar has emerged as one of the leading figures in world music today. She is deeply rooted in Indian classical music, having studied exclusively with her father. She has also flourished as a performer and composer, and is known for a variety of genres including electronica, jazz, flamenco, and Western classical music. Her album Live at Carnegie Hall garnered her first Grammy nomination, making her the youngest-ever nominee in the world music category in 2001 (she received a second nomination for Rise in 2005). In 2007, Shankar collaborated with Karsh Kale to create Breathing Under Water.
Ravi Shankar, the legendary virtuoso sitarist, composer, teacher, and writer, is a singular phenomenon whose artistry crosses all cultural and musical boundaries. He is the foremost pioneer in disseminating India’s rich classical music tradition to the West, and was the first to experiment with mixing Indian classical music with other Western forms. He has curated the Ravi Shankar Centre Ensemble especially for “India Calling!” at the Hollywood Bowl. This historic performance is the first by this ensemble in the U.S. The ensemble is comprised of special guests, and teachers and students from the renowned Ravi Shankar Centre, still run by Shankar in New Delhi.
Rhythm of Rajasthan, conceived by Nitin Nath Harsh, a folklore promoter of Rajasthan, is composed of groups of musicians and dancers of western Rajasthan. The group contains Langa and Manganiar musicians, as well as dancers from the Kalbelia community. Rhythm of Rajasthan creates the exciting fusion of traditional rhythms and melodies of these communities.
Arvind Manocha, the L.A Philharmonic’s chief operation officer, says audiences have responded enthusiastically to past events featuring Indian music. “I hope audience members have a good time while they are exposed to many different styles of Indian music from around the subcontinent, ranging from classical to fusion to bhangra.” Manocha says he also hopes attendees will enjoy the pre-concert activities which feature an arts and crafts fair, live music, and dance lessons.
Sunday, Sept. 20, 7 p.m. Pre-concert fair starts at 4 p.m. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood. $27-$98. Tickets: http://HollywoodBowl.com; (800) 745.3000. Event info: (323) 850-2050.