Tag Archives: Indian Classical Music

Neel Murgai Ensemble’s New Album Will Reorient You on Love and Loss

With a unique amalgamation of traditional Indian Raga with chamber Jazz sound, the well known Brooklyn based music band, Neel Murgai Ensemble has come up with its new creation, ‘Reorientation’. A magical combination of ethereal overtone singing, slow-moving psychedelic-soundscapes with alluringly irregular time signatures and resonant scales, the new album boasts of an exotic musical experience for all music lovers across the world.

Recorded at Eastside Sound in Manhattan, Engineered by Sam Crawford and Lily Wang with mastering by Kane Mathis, the album is partially funded by the American Composer’s Forum, with additional funding provided by the Spark Plug Foundation. More than a new album, the musical compilation signifies a reorientation of both self and music that describes a story of loss and eventual recovery with a newfound love for the composer, overtone singer, sitarist and teacher Neel Murgai.

“The album is very close to my heart as it incorporates my journey of self-healing after I lost my old partner. Most of the compositions, especially the ensemble ones, were created in the past when I was with her and recorded them nearly 5-6 years ago. Music helped me to self rejuvenate myself, overcome the loss of someone special and move on from the tragic past. This album is dedicated to all those who are struggling from a personal loss and it is to convey to them that we can definitely move on from these tragic experiences. If I can do it, then it is a medium to inspire others too,” said Neel Murgai, the ensemble leader. “For some reason, I sat on these recordings for a long time. But just recently, my new partner and I had a baby. So it felt like it was time, like I needed to really just finish this up and move on from it in a way.”

Though the older ensemble pieces rooted in Indian classical instrumentation make up the backbone of the album, the nine tracks of Reorientation also includes recent work of solo overtone singing and looping pieces, resulting in elaborate aural explorations. The entire album is an artistic dialogue with Murgai’s older music and newer creations, providing realignment for heart and mind after devastating loss. 

“Reorientation is a combination of older ensemble tracks and newer tracks of solo overtone singing like the Mongolian throat singing using looping technology. Though they are divergent and so different in many ways, it’s like they’re talking to each other like my new self and my old selves are having this existential conversation,” the composer added, who had been working on this newer project of overtone singing and looping to concoct sublime sonic landscapes for over the last four years. 

One of the older tracks in particular, “Sunflower” was written for and dedicated to Murgai’s previous partner. This second track of the album is based on Raga Yaman. Raga, the form of Indian classical music, literally means “that which colors the mind”. The name for the final track on the album “16251”, actually represents the chords played. 

In contrast to the tradition-steeped in virtuosity that characterizes the foundation of the ensemble pieces, the more recent contributions are improvisational, self-reflexive, and inherently psychedelic.  “Music can always be used for healing,” opined Murgai, “but especially this overtone singing has been great for my own self-healing and for helping others because it is spontaneous and allows practitioners to facilitate a sound meditation experience.”

Many of the compositional ideas for Murgai’s overtone singing on tracks like the lead “He’s Got a Pulse,” came out in the spontaneity of improvisation. He developed a kind of improvisatory language, singing random vowels, syllables, and consonants while at once examining how they shaped the overtones. 

For another track, “Moom Moom Gong Bong,” Murgai utilized this language, along with Mongolian vocal techniques, as well as techniques pioneered by Timothy Hill of the Harmonic Choir, a seminal group in modern overtone singing who systematized the use of vowel sounds to elicit overtones.  Yet, sometimes real words emerged out of that process too, like in the track “Speak True,” a song in which words just kind of emerged spontaneously, partially because of the way that the vowel sounds elicit certain overtones that he was going for. 

Though Neel Murgai entered the world of music by playing tambourine in school in New York City and then learned Jazz music, it was his acquaintance with Indian classical music in Varanasi as an adult that helped him gain a new direction in music. Combining Raga with jazz sound, incorporating different talas and creating own versions of different talas, it paved the way to create a signature style for the Indian American musician internationally. After the worldwide release of his new album, he is also looking at exploring new opportunities, presenters and promoters in India for next year. Reorientation’s live emanation, performances will also feature ensemble members who are also connected with the Brooklyn Raga Massive, including Trina Basu on violin, Arun Ramamurthy on violin, Marika Hughes on cello, and Sameer Gupta on tabla.

Murgai is also the co-founder and co-artistic director of the Brooklyn Raga Massive (BRM), a NYC-based artist collective dedicated to creating cross-cultural understanding through the lens of Indian classical and Raga inspired music. The collective, which has a dedicated following community who love Indian classical music, not only organizes weekly concerts but performs at bigger venues like Kennedy center and has an annual 24 hours music festival as well. 

“I want to continue experimenting with Indian classical music through our collective. We were one of the first bands to bring Indian classical influence to western minimal pieces and now we have performed nearly 80 concerts in a year. Right now Indian music just involves 3-4 musicians playing at a time and I want to experiment it with having a repertoire with over 20 people performing together, expanding and exploring the loneliness of Indian classical music,” said Murgai. Further adding on his future plans he concluded, “I have already started planning for my next record that would be completely focused on solo performance based on overtone singing. I have a new idea of presenting raga as a kind of abstract expressionist, using raga phrases with minimal music. My direction is currently headed in that way, which is also known as yamanism.”

Suchithra Pillai comes with over a decade’s experience in the field of journalism, exploring and writing about people, issues, and community stories for many leading publications in India and the United States. In her spare time, you would either find her scribbling down some thoughts in the paper trying to find a rhyme or story out of small things or expressing her love for dance on stage.

Wrestling to Become a Flautist

Every life is a story waiting to be told, if somebody is ready to listen. 

The life stories of men and women we admire and seek inspiration from, help us find life’s lessons and solutions to our own problems. 

The little I had read about Hariprasad Chaurasia told me that his was a story that, if unravelled, could help show the way for many who wished to chase a dream, regardless of age or calling. Chaurasia is considered one of the world’s most loved flautists. In India, he has been given the title of Padma Vibhushan, the country’s second highest civilian honour. I had yet to know that his journey had not been an easy one.

All I knew about Hariji was that he had played the flute in countless Hindi film songs spanning the 1960s and ’70s. And that today, he is well known for his classical performances, which enthrall audiences from India to Japan, California and Brazil; once a year he vanishes to Europe and holds classes at a music school, where he teaches Indian classical music on the flute to groups of Western students. 

I decided to write his biography but to my dismay I discovered, there were already two books on the flautist. One of them by a student who had moved closely with Hariji and recorded facts and milestones in great detail. 

So, what could I write that was new? 

Turning a perceived disadvantage to my advantage I realised I could use the published biography as a background. It was like having a thorough research assistant’s notes presented to me. Realising that biographies of classical artistes have limited appeal among younger people, I staked my hope on a new format for the story. A format that, in keeping with the shorter attention spans, the power of the visual over the written word, and the newly rediscovered love for listening to stories, would entertain and beguile with pictures to tell the tale. It was a risk, a format that may come apart if not held together well, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

The story itself was fascinating, I realised. Unlike many of his contemporary musicians, who were born into traditional gharanas where the musical heritage was passed down through generations, Hariji’s legacy was wrestling. A skill that his wrestler father, renowned for the power his limbs could wield, wished his son to follow. Destiny led him to music – from learning vocals to taking up the flute. The radio became his teacher. And so, step by secret step he moved up the scales of musical learning, secretly playing, listening, even as he exchanged the thrashings he suffered in the wrestling pit to the tedium of a clerical job.

How he joined All India Radio and went on to becoming the Hindi film industry’s highest earning flautist and why he decided to give it all up to learn classical music from the reclusive wife of Ravi Shankar, Annapurna Devi, forms the rest of the story. But the taste of every pudding is in the eating. Here is an excerpt from my book, Breath of Gold: Hariprasad Chaurasia.

*****

An Interlude

London. 1966. It is a strange world he finds himself in. For one, he is cold. His hands are cold, his fingers too, as is the tip of his nose. Worst of all, his flute is not warm and responsive to his touch, but feels cold. He lifts it to his lips, blows tentatively; the sound comforts him, it is almost clear as always, except for the slightest hint of a hiss. Perhaps if he wraps the flute up in a woollen scarf, it will feel better . . .

He looks around at the hall he is to perform in. It is huge, and impressive. He has already been awed by the building’s façade, but the semicircular seating inside, with tiers that rise one over the other in a widening arc, is like nothing he has seen before. He does not know if all the plush seats will be filled—there seem to be so many! He supposes it must be some thousands. (The actual number is 5267.)

His recital is part of an evening of dance and music. He has been asked to play for twelve minutes.

When his turn comes, the audience welcomes him with applause, as is the custom in the West. It warms his heart. He has decided to play a simple raga, knowing that the time allotted is not enough for anything complex. He looks into the dim interiors of the space before him, settles down, signals to the tabla player accompanying him, and closing his eyes, blows into his flute.

‘When I play, I close my eyes, because then I am playing only for God.’

For the stretch of time that follows, he is aware of nothing except his music. He could well be sitting by Draupadi Ghat in Allahabad. Tabla and flute play in tandem, then together, in perfect sync, and listening to the music, the audience is in thrall. It knows it is in the presence of a true master.

When the recital ends, the clock shows that it has lasted twenty minutes. But the audience does not mind. It calls for an encore.

Flushed and happy, Hariprasad stands in the wings, waiting for the applause to stop. Someone pushes him on to the stage, telling him to take a bow. He stumbles out; then, walking up to centrestage, bends low in a namaste.

It is much later that he realizes the magnitude of his achievement. Not only has he performed at the Royal Albert Hall, London, coveted venue of every performing artiste across the world, but the audience of British and Indian listeners boasted celebrity performers, including Yehudi Menuhin, the world- famous violinist.

He celebrates by buying gifts for Anuradha. Perfumes, which, in those days, were not available as easily as they are now, in India. 

*****

I rest my case. In these times that test us sorely, it is possibly a good idea to immerse oneself in another time and space. Music and books offer that. This book combines the joys of both. 

Sathya Saran edited Femina for 12 years. She is now Consulting Editor with Penguin Random House and a full time author. Her books include fiction, essays, and biographies of cinema greats linked to music. Her most recent publication is ‘Breath of Gold: Hariprasad Chaurasia’.

The Light Side of Music

‘Looking for Miss Sargam: Stories of Music and Misadventure’ (Speaking Tiger Books, 2019) is Hindustani classical musician Shubha Mudgal’s first attempt at fiction. The book is a collection of seven heartwarming stories about Indian classical music set against a contemporary backdrop. In the acknowledgements, Mudgal summarizes that “humor camouflages the inevitable sadness that often casts a shadow over the lives of artists.”

While the stories talk about the music business from the perspective of the media, diplomacy and the diaspora, it also addresses it from the country’s heartland—its small towns and villages. The stories subtly delve into how classical music in India has evolved over the years due to various external influences and the struggle among its practitioners of  traditional and modern schools of thought. 

The following is a short summary of five of the vignettes from ‘Looking for Miss Sargam: Stories of Music and Misadventure’.

‘Aman Bol’ is a spoof on The Times of India’s real-life 2010 campaign with The Jang Group. This story involves musical collaborations between artists from two neighboring countries. The story presents a humorous side to all that went on behind the scenes to put together this publicity stunt–a ‘concert of peace.’ 

‘Foreign Returned’, on the politics of foreign tours in the music industry, shows how Indians living in the US perceive Hindustani classical music. The story also touches on some delicate, modern-day challenges that the art is facing, such as clashes between gurus and their shishyas. 

‘Taan Kaptaan’ focuses on a small-town musician who gets into the big, bad world of showbiz once he enters a partnership with a big businessman during a musical talent hunt. When he is duped, he has to, literally, ‘face the music’. 

‘A Farewell to Music’ is about a music label looking to reestablish itself as the country’s number one label. The story highlights how Hindustani classical music is being distorted in the present day, due to a conflict in ideologies between the traditionalists and young musicians, who are experimenting with music and altering it to fit the tastes of current listeners. 

‘Manzoor Rehmati’ is a story revolving around an average harmonium player who meets an influential Ustad in a quest to receive a Padma Shri award. The story sheds light on the prevailing lobbies that act to push for the prestigious national honor. 

While reading the book, it is evident that Mudgal is writing about so many people whom she may have possibly encountered and worked with during her long and illustrious career as a Hindustani classical musician. They all come together and make up an interesting cast of characters in this witty book that could even make for a fun Bollywood potboiler!

Neha Kirpal is a freelance writer based in New Delhi. She is the author of ‘Wanderlust for the Soul,’ an e-book collection of short stories based on travel in different parts of the world. 

“I See God in My Audience:” Sangeeta Katti Kulkarni

Sangeeta Katti Kulkarni – the name is synonymous with Hindustani Classical music. Various aspects of her life, starting with her auspicious birth on the day of Saraswathi Puja; the many titles and accolades she has received in the field of music, and her vibrant musical virtuosity have been feted, discussed and celebrated over the years. She is a Senior Artist in All India Radio and Doordarshan and serves on the faculty of Hindustani Vocal Music at the Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan, Bangalore.

Initially taught by her father, Dr. H.A Katti, she has been blessed to receive training under well known singers like Sheshagiri Dandapur, Chandrashekhar Puranikmath, Basavaraj Rajguru and Kishori Amonkar.

The recipient of the Suvarna Karnataka Rajyotsava award by the Karnataka state Govt, she has over 2,500 concerts to her credit, both in India and the world over.

India Currents caught up with Sangeeta Katti Kulkarni as she prepares to embark upon a 2019 tour of the U.S, with the opening concert on May 5th, 2019 at the Shirdi Sai Parivaar, Milpitas, California. 

IC: Your musical star first arose as a child of 4. It has been quite a journey! What motivates you as an artiste today?

SKK: The parampara or tradition of music is my primary motivation. Through my singing I can return Nature’s most beautiful gift of music back to where it originates. And of course the blessings of my revered Gurus under whose nurturing care I have been able to pursue my passion is a priceless motivation.

IC: Tell us of your association with the famous composer and music director Naushad Ali sahab?

SKK: I was extremely fortunate to have met Naushad sahab when I was 4 years old, and I rendered the evergreen melody “Avaaz de kahaan hai” which was made famous by the legendary Noorjahan. When he encouraged me to sing some more, I sang his masterpieces from several movies like Mughal-e-Azam, Aan, Udan Khatola etc, recognizing the ragas they were based upon as well. Naushad sahab was thrilled and blessed me! He told my father to make sure that I received training in classical music from a good Guru. “Desh ki bahut badi gaayika banegi yeh ladki (This girl will become a great singer),” he said.

I kept in touch with him, updating him of my progress from time to time. He used to recall and narrate wonderful incidents about Lataji, Rafi sahab and other great musicians and artists. Since his blessings marked the beginning of my journey with classical music, I consider him my very first Guru.

IC: What is your favorite aspect of being a performer?

SKK: A performer creates a beautiful bond with the audience and has the ability to build a bridge between him/herself and the Divine with the help of the “shrota” -the listener. A good performer can explore the techniques and nuances of the notes, getting into the details of the Raag/Raagini paddhati or tradition with years of training and rigorous practice. When the beauty of the Raga finally unfolds seamlessly, that is the ultimate bliss! The energy of music transcends through the listener to the Almighty. This I firmly believe. So, to me, as a performer, I see God in the audience.

IC: Which piece do you enjoy performing in a concert setting?

SKK: Raag Aalaapi in its purest form with Gamak! No second thoughts.

IC: There have been women artists in the classical arts arena over the years. As one yourself, do you see the challenges women artists face today?

SKK: Ours is a male dominated society and however rigorous their “sadhana” or practice, women artists still face struggles claiming their rightful dues, with the exception of a few stalwarts like Kishoritai Amonkar, of course! Most of us have to juggle between family obligations and our performing careers which is a definite challenge. Many singers have lost to this struggle, which is a sad fact.

Women who have the passion, and drive to succeed at all costs should never give up. There are many more opportunities for women artistes in the classical arts fields in today’s world. With self confidence and the blessings of our Gurus, I pray we will be able to face those challenges and pursue our passion.

IC: Who do you look up to as inspiration in the field of music?

SKK: My Guru – Kishoritai Amonkar, Begum Akhtar, Lata Mangeshkar, Mehdi Hassan, Jagjit Singh, Kishore Kumar, R.D Burman, Madan Mohan, C. Ashwath, Ilayaraja… and Naushad Sahab of course! There are so many.

IC: You are a singer who straddles different musical genres: classical, contemporary, folk music / janapada sangeet, bhav geet /light music, film music, etc. Several of these genres are intersecting in today’s world. What are your thoughts about this trend from the point of view of a classical musician?

SKK: As the scriptures state, “Samyaka geetham iti Sangeetam” – a beautiful melody becomes music. There is no need to find fault with any particular style of music. A cuckoo’s kuhu kuhu call is pleasant to the ears… does it have any words? But we still enjoy it. Music is beyond language.

My junoon – passion or madness (if you will) is Indian classical, traditional music. But I have great interest in light, folk and film genres as well. I also enjoy Jazz and Arabic music. Fortunately my Gurus have encouraged me to balance and nurture all the nuances of the musical form.

Over the years, music has evolved to a greater dimension. This is true especially of Instrumental music due to innovative concepts like Fusion, Desi and International flavors. They have gained global recognition because of technology. Audiences get plugged in to the latest trends in music. So naturally the various genres will intersect and intermingle.

As far as keeping the “purity” of styles intact, it is up to the singer or musician and their individual experiences. As a responsible musician, if I am able to convey the feel of any style of music, without inhibitions, then my mission is achieved.

IC: What do you see as the future of the Hindustani musical tradition?

SKK: Music is the universal language of mankind. Music is Divine. I do not have any prejudices about the styles of music because it is a world with 7 notes, with a universal appeal.

No matter what the styles evolve and transition into, I am positive that they will all eventually return to their roots. Because I firmly believe that Classical music has all the answers.

“Maa Saraswathi sabko sambhalti hai”! (Mother Saraswathi takes cares of all)!

Smt. Sangeeta Katti begins her 2019 tour of the U.S with a performance in the San Francisco Bay Area at the Shirdi Sai Parivaar, Milpitas – on May 5th, 2019; from 3:30 – 6:30pm.

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It’s Raining Nectar!

“It will rain when you sing this raga,” said my music teacher encouragingly. I was all of fourteen years old, excited at the prospect of taking on such an intriguing  challenge. In all earnest, I closed my eyes, concentrated on the notes and was prepared to move the rain gods through my voice. With anticipation, I began singing the notes of Amruthavarshini raga.

Once I started singing the distinctive notes, the raga always drew me into its magic and I would soon forget all about the purpose that guided me and I began singing – to bring rain! As the name suggests, Amrutha in Sanskrit means nectar and Varshini means raining, with its name translating to nectar rain.  

A  raga in Indian classical music is a combination of musical notes. But, to me,  Amruthavarshini is not merely a pattern of musical notes that are strung  together in a certain sequence. The raga itself brings forth a host of sensory details in my mind – images that I have not seen in a long time. It awakens my senses, making me feel water splashing against my skin. A ferocious waterfall, the fragrance of earth drenched in the rain, flowers bathed in the first drops of rain, the gush of muddy water on the streets, the perky green trees dripping wet and shaking their heads to the powerful notes, these are  just some of the visuals that my mind conjured up each time my voice brought the raga to life.

If I was singing during the monsoon, it certainly would rain, irrespective of my attempt to do justice to the raga. Nevertheless, I was always delighted and ever ready to try out the experiment. The results of singing this raga never ceased to amaze me. Rain or no rain, Amruthavarshini certainly brought tears to  my eyes with its appealing quality that felt soothing on my vocal chords.

Hearing the well-known anecdote of rains pouring down as an answer to the prayers of the famed composer Muthuswamy Dikshitar gives this raga an added sense of mystical power.  Indeed, this unique raga Amruthavarshini possesses the divine quality to compel the clouds to break open and bathe us in showers of nectar.

Every time I sang Sudhamayi, composed by Muthiah Bhagavatar, I felt soaked in the showers of nectar. Amruthavarshini will always have this  magical effect on me. The more I sing it, the deeper I delve into it, I feel engulfed in it’s notes that ooze nectar.

Listen below for the song Sudhamayi set in raga Amruthavarshini sung by M.L. Vasanathakumari.

 

 

Surabhi Kaushik is an Indian writer, based in Charlotte North Carolina.
Her works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and parenting essays have been published in various websites such as yourstoryclub, halfbakedbeans, writer’scafe, perfection pending, herviewfromhome and India Currents. 

She is part of various writing groups and is closely associated with “Write Like You Mean It”, a writer’s group in Main library, Charlotte. She also leads a monthly Fiction Writing workshop and conducts writing workshops at various libraries across Charlotte.

 

Carnatic, Hindustani, Arabic, International: CHAI for 6!

Carnatic, Hindustani, Arabic, International: CHAI for 6!

CHAI for 6, a music group with members based in four states across two continents will perform on June 17 at the Santa Clara Convention Center. The group traces its origins to the Berklee Indian Exchange founded in 2013 to celebrate and share Indian music and culture with the Berklee student body. Assistant manager Rohith Jayaraman says, “Just because we play Indian music doesn’t mean we all have to be of Indian origin. We have had students and collaborators from 42 countries (and counting!) work with us over the years. Just this past semester, we had students from Australia, Nigeria, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Ecuador, Spain, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, China, Israel, Singapore, Bahrain, the United States and more! The stamp on your passport does not matter.”

A significant item on the Exchange’s agenda is to ensure that there is a cultural connection with India, through the Berklee Indian ensemble. Thus, the group has worked with the likes of A.R. Rahman and Clinton Cerejo, both stars in Bollywood music, working on originals and rearrangements with these masters.

It is at Berklee that Jayaraman, who’s also the voice of CHAI, met up with Layth Sidiq, (violin) incidentally the only musician of non-Indian origin in the group, along with Shubh Saran (guitar), and Sashank Navaladi (sarod). These four musicians first performed a piece called “Shuruaat,” written by Navaladi, which they intend to play in the upcoming show as well. M.T. Aditya Srinivasan (tabla) and Vignesh Venkataraman (mridangam) found their way to Boston briefly and “something just clicked.”

Music, literally, is what brings the group together: Sidiq and Jayaraman live in Boston, Saran lives in New York, Venkataraman in the Bay Area, Navaladi in Los Angeles, and Srinivasan in Chennai.

The Berklee spirit of exchange seems to drive the sound for CHAI as well, as Jayaraman puts it, “I think it’s less of a conscious effort and more of just happy experimentation. We get together and throw ideas around. What comes out is what comes out. If we think too much about it, we would never get there. The key is finding the similarities and using them to highlight the differences.”

One can argue that given the backgrounds of these artists, there is no other way to make music: Navaladi is a film/tv composer as well as a sarod player, Sidiq is a classically trained Arabic violinist, Srinivasan is a tabla player but also a percussionist who has studied in Spain, Saran is a contemporary American/jazz/Indo-world guitarist, and Venkataraman is a Carnatic mridangist extraordinaire. Jayaraman is a Carnatic trained vocalist who claims that he cannot claim an exclusive musical foot in any one world, even though he has had rigorous training from his mother Asha Ramesh, who is an Indian-music brand in the Bay Area.

While the six joke around and are prone to watching funny Youtube videos (even during rehearsals!), they have serious musical chops, as the videos on the Ensemble’s site will prove. Sidiq picked up the violin when he was four and now is a sought-after composer and directs the Arab music ensemble at Tufts University. When asked if the Indian quotient gets overwhelming when they get together, he said, “The more Indians I have around me the more I know I’ll be surrounded by good food, beautiful music, and a profound culture!”

Saran is an official Reunion blues artist and has played alongside several international artists. He confesses that he is somewhere in between a Blues man and a Rock guitarist. He has his own album, Hmayra under his belt and has set his eyes on Bollywood next. Navaladi has been the ensemble’s star composer and released Zikr, a musical, inspired by and based on a Mirza Ghalib poem of the same name. He says, “I started with one tune for the first couplet and kept revising it for days until I finally started feeling a solid melody that worked well with the rhythm of the first two couplets. Zikr taught me how the subtle rhythms embedded within each sentence influence composition and texture.” Srinivasan’s band was the winner in an all-India band hunt organized by A.R. Rahman and in a TEDx session, he talked about how there is a rhythm in everything, “The Rhythm of Intent.”

Jayaraman has a degree in music therapy and co-directs the ensemble. Being introduced to Shakti, (the epic multi-cultural group/album starring Zakir Hussain and Vikku Vinayakram, among others) was a high point in his life. Venkataraman is “Boston Strong” and talks about the city, basketball, and music with equal passion. He would be unable to pick between a game and concert, saying, “If it was an NBA finals game, it would probably be basketball. If not, I might choose the concert!” He is a columnist for the Stanford Daily.

Chai for 6 promises a new sound, maybe even a Shakti-esque sound, given Sidiq’s international flavor, Saran’s jazz tones, and Indian classical from the others. After individual pursuits and success, these musicians are attempting to discover perhaps, live, a sound that they can own. We shall have to see!

CHAI for 6: A fund-raiser for Vibha, June 17th, 8 p.m., Santa Clara Convention Center, 5001 Great America Way, Santa Clara.

Tickets: $25, student $15. http://Vibha.Yapsody.com

 Priya Das is an enthusiastic follower of world music, and avidly tracks inbtersecting points between folk, classical, jazz and other genres.