Artists who have performed at Raag-Mala Toronto from 2013
Abhiman Kaushal is an outstanding tabla artist who is known for his sensitive accompaniment and intense solos. He represents the Farukkabad and Lucknow styles of tabla, and was initiated into the art by his father R. B. Kaushal, who was a disciple of the legendary Ustad Amir Hussain Khan. Abhiman continued his training under the famous Ustad Sheikh Dawood of Hyderabad, India, and the Ustad’s senior-most disciple, Pandit B. Nandkumar.
Abhiman has accompanied most of the leading musicians, singers and dancers, and has toured around the world. He has numerous recordings to his credit, and is currently on the faculty at UCLA and UCR.
Aditya Kalyanpur started learning tabla at the age of 5, and has studied under the great maestros Ustad Allarakha and Zakir Hussain. He is a highly accomplished soloist, and has also accompanied classical musicians such as Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, Pandit Jasraj, as well as fusion artists George Brooks and John McLaughlin. Aditya has performed at numerous festivals in India and worldwide.
Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty is one of the most senior vocalistsin India today. Over the course of a brilliant career, he has won numerous awards, including the prestigious “Padmashree” and the Sangeet Natak Akademi award.
A doyen of Patiala-Kasur gharana, he can also portray features of other gharanas like Delhi, Jaipur, Gwalior, Agra, Kirana and even Carnatic music. Besides his early gurus, his father Late Ajit Kumar Chakraborty, Pannalal Samanta, Kanaidas Baigari, he took guidance from the all-time great Guru Jnan Prakash Ghosh and Ustad Munawar Ali Khan, the son of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. Panditji also learnt from other maestros like Ustad Latafat Hussain Khan, Pt. Nibruttibua Sarnaik, Vidushi Hirabai Barodekar, Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna to name a few.
Despite his taalim in the pure classical Dhrupad-Khayal form, Panditji is equally adept in lighter genres such as Thumri, Tappa, Bhajan, and Folk. He has sung in many films and in many languages like Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil, Telegu, Persian and even English!
Panditji is a senior guru at the ITC Sangeet Research Academy in Kolkata, and is the founder of “Shrutinandan”, a renowned music school in Kolkata.
Akhilesh Gundecha learned Pakhawaj from Pt. Shrikant Mishra and Raja Chhatrapati Singh JuDeo.
He has accompanied numerous dhrupad maestros such as Ud. Zia Fariduddin Dagar, Ud. Fahimuddin Dagar, Pt. Siyaram Tiwari, Smt.Asgari Bai and Ud.Bahauddin Dagar. Akhileshji has also played solo at many events such as the Tansen Festival in Gwalior, Haridas Sangeet Samaroh Mumbai and Dhrupad Samaroh Bhopal. He has toured all over the world, and is regularly featured on Radio and Television.
Alam Khan is the son of the legendary Sarod Maestro Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, under whom he started his training at the age of seven. Over the years, he accompanied his father at numerous prestigious venues. Alam has performed all over the United States, Canada, Europe and India, and is featured in the film “Playing Like a Lion” that tells the story of his and his father’s musical journey.
Anand Bhate is recognized as one of the top vocalists of the Kirana Gharana in his generation. He began his training under Pandit Yashwantrao Marathe, and became a disciple of Bharat Ratna Pandit Bhimsen Joshi in 1988.
Anand is a recipient of numerous awards, including National Award for Best Playback Singer for the movie Balgandharva, and has many albums to his credit.
Anirban Chakrabarty was initiated to shastria sangeet by his father, the vocalist Amal Chakrabarty. He earned a post graduate degree in music with first class from the Rabindra Bharati University, and studied the harmonium under Pandit Manas Chakraborty.He has accompanied senior musicians and is a regular performer on television.
Anupama Bhagwat is one of the most exciting sitar players of her generation today. She is a disciple of the late Pt. Bimalendu Mukherjee, the doyen of the Imdadkhani Gharana. Her performance exhibits a superb control over the development of the raag-bhaav, starting from meditative alaap, to thoughtful and creative gat to exciting drut composition with scintillating taans.Anupama has received numerous awards and has performed at major venues including Dover Lane Music Conference in Kolkata, Musée Guimet in Paris and the Southbank Centre in London.
Anwar Khurshid studied vocals, flute and tabla before making the sitar his primary focus. These instruments still permeate his playing, giving it a fluid, lilting quality that has become his signature.
His major influences in the Hindustani tradition are Ustad Nasiruddin, Ustad Vilayat Khan and Ustad Amir Khan. Anwar also plays regularly with musicians from other genres, such as Blues, Jazz, African, Middle Eastern, Japanese and Chinese music.
Arati Ankalikar Tikekar began her training with Late Vasantrao Kulkarni of the Agra Gwalior gharanas, and subsequently received training from many great artists such as Smt. Kishori Amonkar (Jaipur-Atrauli gharana), Late Pandit Dinkar Kaikini (Agra) and Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar (Gwalior).
A favourite of the concert circuit, Aratiji has performed at all prestigious conferences such as Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav and the Dover Lane Festival, and in Canada, US, Europe and the Middle East.
Arshad Ali Khan was born into a family of senior Kirana Gharana musicians. His grandfather is the late Sarangi maestro Ustad Shakoor Khan, and he is the nephew of Ustad Mashkoor Ali Khan and Ustad Mubarak Ali Khan, under whom he trained in the guru–shishya paramparic tradition.
He joined the Sangeet Research Academy in Kolkata as a scholar at the age of six, and is currently a Guru at this prestigious institution. He is an A-grade artist for All India Radio and has won numerous awards.
Aruna Narayan Kalle is the daughter of the renowned Sarangi maestro, Pandit Ram Narayan. Although Aruna began her musical training at the somewhat late age of eighteen, she made rapid progress studying intensely with her father for several years.
Aruna has fully captured her father’s disciplined, serious style and yet has also developed a unique voice for her instrument with a warm and generous musical temperament. Her playing is impressive in its subtlety, precision and grace as well as in its powerful and weighty bowing. Apart from the distinction of being one of only a handful of solo Sarangi players, she is the only woman soloist of this haunting and beautiful instrument.
She has given numerous concerts in India, Europe, Australia, the United States and Canada. Her music has been featured in several international films and she regularly teaches in the school system introducing young people to Indian music and the Sarangi. Presently, she resides in Toronto, Canada where she teaches and performs
Pandit Ashis Sengupta is a dynamic and versatile percussionist who belongs to the Banaras Gharana. He received his initial training from his father Sri Ranjit Kumar Sengupta and was later groomed by Pandit Nanku Maharaj and Pandit Mahapurush Mishra.
A most sought after artist and a recipient of ‘Taalmani’ award, Pandit Sengupta is adept as a soloist, as well as an accompanist of classical and semi-classical vocal music, instrumental music and kathak dance.
He has traveled extensively in India and abroad, and has accompanied well known maestros like Mallikarjun Mansoor, Girija Devi, V.G. Jog, Sunanda Pattanayak, Damayanti Joshi (Kathak Dancer), Rajan & Sajan Misra, Debu Chaudhuri, L.K.Pandit, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and Rashid Khan to name a few. He is currently a member of the Faculty of Music and Fine Arts, University of Delhi.
Sri Ashok Dutta, a virtuoso talented tabla exponent, was initiated in the art of tabla by his father Late Shri Shibendra Nath Dutta. Later, he learnt from Sri Roy Bhadur Keshab, Chandra Banerjee and Ananda Gopal Bandopadhyay. He received intensive training from the Maestro Pt. Shankar Ghosh for over 20 years, and also took special training from Pt.Gyan Prakash Ghosh.
Sri Dutta has been an associate guest lecturer at Rabindra Bharati University in Calcutta for more than 10 years. He has participated in several prestigious music festivals such as the Dover Lane Music Conference, and has performed in several countries around the world, and accompanied many senior artists like Pt V.G.Jog, Smt. Girija Devi, Smt. Lakshmi Shankar and Irshad Khan, to name some.
Ashwini Bhide Deshpande is an outstanding vocalist of the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana. She is widely regarded as worthy of wearing the mantle of the old masters of the gharana. She trained initially under Pt.Narayanrao Datar and later, under her mother Smt. Manik Bhide.
Ashwiniji has won numerous awards, including “Pandit Jasraj Gaurav Puraskar”, which was conferred on the occasion of Panditji’s 75th birthday. She was also awarded the “Kumar Gandharva Samman” by the Government of Madhya Pradesh – the first female Hindustani vocalist to have been decorated with this prestigious national award.
Ashwiniji has numerous recordings to her credit and is the author of “Ragarachananjali”, a much-lauded book of her self-composed bandishes. She has performed at all prestigious music conferences In India and abroad.
Bharat Kamat is a virtuoso tabla player, well known for his sensitive accompaniment. He was the principal accompanist for many years to Bharat Ratna Pt. Bhimsen Joshi. Bharat began his studies under his father, Pt. Chandrakant Kamat, and later studied under the maestro Pt. Samta Prasad. Winner of the Akashvani Music Competition award (1991), Bharatji has several recordings to his credit.
Bhuvanesh Komkali, the grandson of the legendary Pt. Kumar Gandharva and son of Mukul Shivputra, was destined to be a singer. He trained under the late Smt.Vasundhara Komkali and Pt. Madhup Mudgal. He has received numerous awards including the Mallikarjun Mansur Yuva Puraskaar from the Gov’t. of Karnataka and Sangeet the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar.
Bhuvaneshji has composed music for Hindi feature film ‘Devi Ahilya’, and has performed in major festivals across India.
Brajeshwar Mukherjee is a Musician Scholar at ITC Sangeet Research Academy in Kolkata and a senior instructor at Shrutinandan, the music Academy founded by his guru Pt. Ajoy Chakrabarty.
Born into a musical family, he started his formal training under Sri Asit Roy of the Vishnupur Gharana. He has been training under Pt. Ajoy Chakrabarty since the 1990’s, and has traveled extensively with him in India and abroad.
Chetna Banawat was initiated into music at the age of eight by her parents Smt. Madana Banawat and Sri. Ramnarayan Banawat. Later, she received taalimon Tappa from Pt. Bala Saheb Poonchwale, the maestro from Gwalior Gharana. She has been a disciple of Dr. Prabha Atre since 1999 and has accompanied her extensively. She has also performed all over India and has received many scholarships and awards.
Dr. Banawat is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Music at Mumbai University.
Gauri Guha, a disciple of the late Pt. A.T. Kanan and Smt.Malabika Kanan, is currently a disciple of Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty.
In 1977, Gauri was sent by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations Guyana as a Cultural Officer and Music Teacher and performed extensively in Guyana, Trinidad, Barbados, Jamaica, Suriname and Venezuela.
Gauri is a regular teacher at the Sangit Academy, Brussels, Belgium and Integral Yoga Centre, Sitgas, Spain. She has participated in numerous festivals, and is an examiner of Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, Maharashtra and Prachin Kala Kendra, Punjab. She has received numerous grants from the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council and has eight albums to her credit.
Gurinder Singh has been a disciple of the Benaras Gharana through the teachings of his father Sri Sukhdev Singh, his chacha guru Sh. Sukhwinder Singh Namdhari and Pt Ramakant Ji. He is based in Brampton where he both teaches and performs tabla regularly.
Hardeep Chana grew up in an environment in which music was at the forefront of every interaction. He began learning the traditional Gurmat Sangeet styles from his father and elder brother, and began playing the Taus at the age of thirteen.
He has studied under various teachers including Ud.Ranjit Singh and Pt.Vinayak Phatak. At present, he is learning Harmonium accompaniment from Sri Tanmay Deochake.
Harsh Narayan is son of the Padma Shree Pt.Brij Narayan and grandson of the legendary Pt. Ram Narayan. He has had the great fortune of studying under his grandfather since the age of 6. His talent has been shaped and nurtured in-house in an environment that enhanced his musicianship and musical perception. His well-rounded training is evidenced in his concert presentations. Harsh has a growing concert schedule, performing both in India and abroad. He has accompanied Pandit Ram Narayan in his concerts in the UK, Spain and Portugal. More recently, he performed to an enthusiastic response at the Theatre of Le Forum, Blanc Mesnil, Paris.
Harshad Kanetkar began his initial training at the age of five with Shri Mukhade. For the past many years he has had intensive training under Shri Ramdas Palsule and Pt. Suresh Talwalkar.
Harshad is equally adept in the art of accompanying vocals, instrumental or dance. Crispness and clarity of his technique and a total command of rhythm are the classic hallmarks of his style.
Harshad has accompanied leading artists like Pt.Birju Maharaj, Pt.Ulhas Kashalkar, Ustad Shahid Parvez, Veena Sahastrabuddhe, Shama Bhate (Kathak), etc.in prestigious music conferences all over India as well as abroad. His recordings include solo works and fusion of musical traditions of the East and West.
Hidayat Husain Khan began his formal training in vocal music from his legendary father Ustad Vilayat Khan at the age of 4 and continued it until he was 14. He learned to sing Khayal” among other genres. At the age of 14, Vilayat Khan Sahib initiated him formally into sitar. This was followed by intensive sitar training which consisted of hours of riyaaz and taleem every day. His vocal music training helped him develop as a sitar player and quickly catapulted him onto the stage.
Hidayat has performed all over the world. This includes major performances in Europe, Japan, USA, Malaysia, Indonesia, Canada, Singapore and India. He has also taken part in musical compositions for films including Mira Nair’s Kamasutra. In 1999, he completed a background track for the Discovery Channel program on tigers titled “Tracking a Legend”. Hidayat Khan has a very engaging style and presence on stage that leads the audience to be enraptured with his performance.
Hindole Majumdar trained under Sri Shibsankar Karmakar, a disciple of late Ud. Keramatullah Khan, and has been taking advanced taalim from the Maestro Pandit Sankha Chatterjee of the Punjab Gharana.
Hindole is a regular artist of the All India Radio and Television and has accompanied eminent musicians like Ustad Shahid Parvez, Ustad Shujaat Khan, Pandit Vishwamohan Bhatt, Pandit Tejendra Narayan Majumdar, and Veena Sahasrabudhe.
Indranil Mallick was born into a family of music connoisseurs. He received his initial training at the age of five from his uncle, Sri Montu Mallick. Later trained under Prof. Dhabol Bandyapadhaya and Sri Uttam Chakraborty, and is currently a disciple of Pt. Swapan Chaudhuri. He holds a “Sangeet Visarad” in Music from the University of Chandigarh, and has received numerous awards. He is a grade ‘A’ artist of All India Radio, and is featured regularly on programs aired throughout India. He has also performed at many major festivals including the Dover Lane Music Festival, Kolkata.
Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan was adopted and groomed at an early age by his maternal grandfather Sangeet Martand Ud.Chand Khan.He was 6 years old when he gave his first recital at the All India Music conference in Jaipur. After the demise of his guru, Khansahab was anointed as the Khalifa (doyen) of Dilligharana in a traditional “Dastar Bandi” ceremony in 1981.
Khansahab is also a renowned composer, having created raags such as “Chand Kalyan”, “Chand Kedar” and “Chand Bhairav”. Most recently he created “Tirangee Malhaar”- a combination of Megh, Surdasi and Miya- ki- Malhaar as a tribute to Sri Pingali Venkayya, the designer of the Indian national flag. He has composed the music for serials for Doordarshan TV.
Khansahab has performed at major festivals in India and abroad, and is a recipient of many awards including the Sangeet Ratan, Gayan Acharya; in 2015 he received the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award from the President of India.
Jasmeet “Jammi” Chana began learning Tabla and Jori from Ustad Avtarjit Singh, of the Punjab Gharana. After the sudden demise of his guru, Jasmeet continued studying under his guru’s father, Ustad Ranjit Singh, and is currently learning under Ustad Sukhwinder Singh (Pinky)of the Punjab and Benaras Gharana. Jasmeet, who lives in Brampton, has played extensively in North America
Kaushiki Chakrabarty is doubly blessed having been born into a musically aristocratic family, and also endowed with a mellifluous voice. She started her training under her mother Smt.Chandana Chakraborty and continued her training under her father Pt. Ajoy Chakrabarty. Her father’s illustrious mentor Pt. Jnan Prakash Ghosh accepted Kaushiki as a “Ganda Nandh Shagird”, his youngest ever disciple.
Today, Kaushiki is highly adept at all styles of singing, ranging from Khayal and Thumri to Bhajan and popular songs. She has performed at all the major festivals in India and internationally, and has numerous recordings to her credit. Her talent and charming stage presence have made her one of the brightest stars in the galaxy of young vocalists.
Kedar Naphade is a much sought after Harmonium performer, both as a soloist and as an accompanist. He received preliminary training from his grandfather Shri Dadasaheb Naphade and from Shri Arvind Gajendragadkar. For the past 15 years has been a disciple of Pt. Tulsidas Borkar, one of the leading harmonium player in India. He also trained under Smt. Padmavati Shaligram-Gokhale, the veteran singer of the Atrauli-Jaipur Gharana. Kedarhas accompanied many luminaries such as Smt. Padmavati Shaligram-Gokhale, Pt. Jasraj, Pt. Ulhas Kashalkar, Pt. Swapan Chaudhary and Dr. Prabha Atre. He has performed at prestigious festivals and venues including the Alladiya Khan Smruti Samaroha, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Smithsonian Institute.
Kiran Morarji started learning tabla from Sri Sanjay Divekar, at the age of 4, and is currently a disciple of the tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussainifrom whom he receives extensive training in the Punjab style of tabla playing.
He is also adept at playing all other gharanas of tabla such as Delhi, Lucknow, Farukabad, Ajrada, and Benares. He has performed extensively in Canada and the US.
Kishore Kulkarni began his formal studies at 14 under Late Pandit Hattangadi, an exponent of the Farukhabad gharana. During his extensive stay in Doha, Qatar, Kishore accompanied leading visiting Indian artists, as well as Arabic singers and orchestras. He has performed in many cities in India as well as in North America. Kishore taught tabla when he was in Doha, and continues to do so in Toronto.
Milind Kulkarni performs regularly for All India Radio and Doordarshan andhas performed with renowned musicians such as Dr. Prabha Atre, Smt. Ashwini Bhide-Deshpande and Pt,Ulhas Kashalkar.
He studied under Pt.Vasantrao Gurav and Pt. Anna Diwan of Sangli, and is currently under the guidance of Shri Pramod Marathe.
The Monsoon Trio consists of saxophone playing brothers Jonathan & Andrew Kay, and Bass Veena artist Justin Gray. The trio was initiated into the Guru-Shishya Parampara learning system under their Guru Pandit Shantanu Bhattacharyya in 1997, and has been studying raag music in Kolkata, India.
Mushfiq Hashimi has a Master’s degree in music from the Rotterdam Conservatory. His training in Eastern classical music began in Kabul under Rubin Chatterjee and Krishna Chatterjee; he has studied under many other teachers, including Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty. Mushfiq has lived in Ottawa since 2001 and runs the School of Music and Visual Arts Center. He has performed extensively in Canada and overseas.
Moheb Hashimy studied Tabla under Pandit Anindo Chatterjee from the Farukkabad Gharana in Kolkata, the Afghan Tabla Master Mohamad Aref Chishti and Pakistani Tabla Master Ejaz Hussein, both of the Punjab Gharana.He has performed extensively in North America, Central Asia, Pakistan and Europe.
Neelesh Nadkarni was initiated into music during his school years in Bahrain under Shri Vasant Marathe of Pune. He subsequently trained under Pt.Sudhakar Deoley, a disciple of late Pt.Jitendra Abhisheki. While at medical school in India, he learnt the style of gayaki ang – harmonium solo performance under late Pandit Rambhau Bijapure.Neeleshji has accompanied many renowned vocal and tabla artists, and has performed harmonium solos in Bahrain, India, and North America.
Niladri Kumar is one of the world’s finest instrumentalists. He began his training from his father, the sitar virtuoso Pt.Kartik Kumar, at the age of 4. Over the years, he has honed his understanding of diverse gharana styles, and is the creator of the “Zitar”, a five stringed electrical sitar.
Niladri is a recipient of numerous awards including Sangeet Natak Akademi’s Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar and the Sanskriti Award. He has recorded over 20 Classical, Fusion and International Albums, and was an integral part of the Grammy winner “Global Drum Project” by Ustad Zakir Hussain. He has also contributed sound tracks for many films.
Nitin Mitta is an acclaimed accompanist who has performed with some of India’s most celebrated musicians including Pt.Jasraj, Pt.Rajan and Sajan Mishra, Pt.Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Ud.Nishat Khan, Ud.Shahid Parvez and Pt.Nayan Ghosh.
He has also made a mark as a versatile musician in other spheres, his most recent collaboration with 2010 Grammy Nominee Vijay Iyer and Guitarist Prasanna on their new Album titled “Tirtha”.
Pandit Partha Bose is a widely respected sitar player in Hindustani shastria sangeet today. He was initiated to the Sitar at the age of six and underwent intensive training with Pt.Monoj Shankar in the tradition of the Maihar Gharana, known for having produced musical geniuses such as Pt. Ravi Shankar, Ud.Ali Akbar Khanand Pt. Nikhil Banerjee. Parthaji has been a distinguished performer on radio and television and was invited by the Government of India to lead a cultural delegation to African countries on the historic occasion of the Golden Jubilee celebrations of India’s Independence.
Partho Sarothy began his training under his father, the late Sudhamoy Chowdhury, a disciple of the great Sarod maestro Pt. Radhika Mohan Moitra. He subsequently took lessons from Ud.Dhyanesh Khan, son and disciple of Ud. Ali Akbar Khan, and was under the direct guidance of Pt. Ravi Shankar from 1980.Parthoji is the son-in-law of the great vocalists Pt. Prasun and Vidushi Meera Banerjee, both disciples of the great vocalist Ud. Bade Ghulamali Khan. Parthoji is a virtuoso on the Sarod who makes the exploration of raags an exercise in harmony and tranquility.
Dr. Prabha Atre isone of the senior torchbearers of shastria sangeet today. She trained under Pt. Sureshbabu Mane and Smt. Hirabai Badodekar, children and disciples of Ud. Abdul Karim Khan, the preeminent modern day exponent of the Kirana Gharana. She is widely acclaimed for her grace and excellence in performance, and her research into, and teaching of, Indian classical music. She has numerous publications (books and CDs) to her credit and has been a visiting professor at a number of universities in India and overseas. She has established a Foundation to promote the cause of Indian classical music and performing arts.
Dr. Atre has been honoured with many national awards, including the title Padmabhushan and the Sangeet Natak Akademi award, in recognition of her creativity, artistic excellence, outstanding achievement and distinguished service in the field of classical music.
Still vibrant and spry, Dr. Atre is in popular demand at major music festivals across India. Her singular commitment to her art is best summed up by her poem:
I keep on at my music, my meditation eternally;
The struggles of a calcite inside an oyster,
Till I sublimate that note into a dazzling pearl.
Pratap Awad began learning the Pakhawajat the age of twelve under Subhash Maharaj Deshmukh. He has played extensively with Pt.Uday Bhawalkar and has also accompanied many other dhrupad singers in India and abroad. Pratap has also played in many cross-cultural music experiments. He won the First Prize in the All India Radio Competition, 2007, was awarded the ‘Talmani Puraskar’ from Sursingar Samsad, Mumbai in 2008 and was a Gold Medalist at the Rashtriya Mohotsav, Orissa in 2010.
Praveen Sheolikar hails from a family with a rich musical tradition – he started his training at the age of 9 under his grandfather Pt.Rambhau Sheolikar of Raipur, followed by guidance from his father Pt.Vasantrao Sheolikar.
Praveenji’s style of playing is steeped in the gayaki-ang – his violin seems to sing! Praveenji has performed in India and abroad in prestigious music conferences, and is an ‘A’ Grade artist of All India Radio (AIR).
Pandit Rajeev Taranath is one of the world’s leading exponents of the Sarod. A distinguished disciple of the late maestro Ud. Ali Akbar Khan, Rajeevji has received critical acclaim in the Indian and international press for his musicianship. His concerts are distinguished by the discipline with which he develops the melodic patterns of a raag, a texturally rich tone, and powerful and nuanced technique.
Pandit Ram Narayan was born on December 27, 1927 and learned to play the Sarangi at an early age. He studied under Sarangi players and singers and worked as a music teacher and traveling musician. After performing for many years as an accompanist for vocalists in Indian cinema, Pt. Ram Narayan became a concert solo artist in 1956, and gave up accompaniment shortly thereafter.
He recorded solo albums and began to tour Europe and America in the 1960s. Narayan taught Indian and foreign students and performed, frequently outside of India, into the 2000s. He was awarded India’s second highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibhushan, in 2005.
Thanks to the almost single handed efforts of Pt. Ram Narayan over the last half of the past century, the Sarangi now stands firmly on its own as a modern Hindustani classical instrument.
Pandit Ramesh Misra has trained under the finest musicians of the Benaras Gharana, Pt. Hanuman Prasad Mishra and Pt. Gopal Mishra, as well as Pt. Ravi Shankar. He is a recipient of India’s most prestigious arts award, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Puraskar, as well as numerous State and music organization awards.
In addition to performing as a soloist, his highly aesthetic sensibility and mastery over the Sarangi makes him a much sought-after accompanist at vocal recitals. He has numerous recordings to his credit, and is a participant in many recordings including the Grammy nominated “Legacy” by Ud. Ali Akbar Khan, Pt. Ravi Shankar’s “Live inside the Kremlin” and Aerosmith’s “Nine Lives”.
Smt Ramneek Singh is an accomplished vocalist with more than thirty years of intensive training in shastria sangeet. She has a Visharad (degree) from Bhatkhande Sangeet Vidyapeeth, and is a purist from the Indore gharana. A key feature of the gharana is a distinctively meditative and serene style of Khayal presentation, as instituted by Ustad Amir Khan. Ramneekji, who makes her home in Toronto, teaches advanced Vocal Hindustani Music. She has performed extensively in India, the U.K. and North America.
Ravi Naimpally began his study of tabla under the guidance of his uncle the late Padmabushan Pt.Nikhil Ghosh. Ravi has continued to study with Pt. Anindo Chatterjee in Calcutta. He has performed in India, Europe, Canada, and the US with such artists as Pt. Buddadev Das Gupta, Pt. G.S. Sachdev, Acharya Trichy Sankaran, Smt. Arati Ankalikar and Pt. Rajeev Taranath.
Ravi has gone on to explore and perform with many musicians in other music traditions – Iranian, Turkish and Macedonian, as well as world-jazz and New Music. He is currently the leader/ composer of Tasa and is much sought after as a performer, teacher and recording artist.
Raya Bidaye is founding member of Raag-Mala Toronto. He was introduced to Indian Classical music by Mr. Tatya Bondale of Devgad, India.
Raya has accompanied many artists including Dr.Prabha Atre, Smt.Lakshmi Shankar, Pt.Jitendra Abhisheki, Pt.Prabhakar Karekar, and Pt.Firoz Dastur. Raya is also a very talented music composer and has composed many devotional songs.
Ruchira Panda is one of the senior disciples of the late Pandit Manas Chakraborty of the Kotaligharana. She accompanied her guru at many musical conferences all over India, and has also performed solo at many concerts, including at the 60th anniversary Dover Lane Conference in January 2012.
She has numerous recordings to her credit.
Pandit Rupak Kulkarni became a Ganda Bandh Shagirdof the Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia at the age of 9. A top grade artist with AIR, Rupakji’s first solo flute performance was at the age of 11 at Darbar Hall in Baroda. Since then he has spellbound music lovers around the world, and is widely recognized as the most senior bansuri player in his generation.
Pandit Samar Saha is a senior guru at the ITC Sangeet Research Academy, Kolkata, is no stranger to Toronto, having provided brilliant accompaniment to numerous artists over the years, as well as offering tabla workshops for Raag-Mala audiences. Born and raised in Kolkata, Panditji’s formal training started under Sri Satchidananda Goswami and then flowered under the guidance of Sri Krishna Kumar Ganguly (Natubabu) of Banaras gharana. He is featured regularly on Radio and Television.
Samrat Pandit received taalim from his father the late Pt.Jagdish Prasad, a senior disciple of the legendary Ud.Bade Ghulamali Khan.He received the Sangeeta Shiromani Award from the State of Maharashtra in December 2014. Samratha performed all over India, including at the prestigious Sawai Ghandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav in Pune.
Sandip Ghosh was formally initiated into Tabla by Pt.Gobindo Bose, and acquired further taalim from the tabla maestro Pt.Anindo Chatterjee in the Farukkabad style. Sandip is a 1st class honors graduate and has an M.A degree in music from Rabindra Bharati University in Kolkata. He is a graded artist of All India Radio & T.V. and has won numerous awards. Sandip has played at many major conferences including the prestigious Dover Lane Music Conference in Kolkata.
Sandipan Samajpati is a disciple of the late Pandits Manas Chakraborty and Ram Ashraye Jha. He is the first recipient of the prestigious Ustad Bismillah Khan Puraskar (2006) awarded by the Sangeet Natak Akademi. An “A-Grade” vocalist of Doordarshan and the All India Radio, Sandipan has enthralled audiences in India and abroad, and has numerous recordings to his credit.
Dr. Sangeeta Shankar is a disciple and daughter of the violin maestro Dr. N. Rajam.
She started performing publicly at the age of 8, and has been featured at major festivals in India and abroad both as soloist, and as an accompanist. Sangeeta has several recordings and articles to her credit, and is involved in many projects in the fields of education, culture, business, art & music. In addition to her career as a violinist, she is founder and Director of Legendary Legacy Promotions Pvt. Ltd., which promotes classical music recordings and other products.
Sanjay Deshpande was introduced to Tabla by Late Pt. Sabade. Later he took taleem from the renowned Pt. Suresh Talwalkar of Delhi-Farukhabad Gharana, in the traditional Guru Shishya Parampara . He also received guidance in the Punjab style from the Tabla maestro Ustad AllaRakha Khan. He continues his studies under Shri Yogesh Samsi and Pt.Vivek Joshi.
Sanjay is recipient of the “Ahmedjaan Thirakwa Scholarship” for solo performance, and has accompanied senior artists such as Smt. Vasundhara Komkali, Pt.Ulhas Kashalkar, Smt.Malini Rajurkar, Pt. Jasraj, Dr. Prabha Atre, Pt.Dinkar Kaikini, and Smt.Veena Sahasrabuddhe. He has performed at major conferences including Sawai Gandharva Music Festival Pune and and Doverlane Conference, Kolkata. He has numerous recordings to his credit. His fusion album “Wind from Ayuta” with Korean musicians won the best album award of the year South Korea in 2002.
Pandit Sarathi Chatterjee is a leading vocalist of his generation. He started learning under his father, Prof. Arun Kumar Chatterjee, a highly accomplished vocalist of the Kirana Gharana. He has since continued his sadhana under the celebrated vocalists Pt. Rajan and Sajan Mishra of the Benaras Gharana. This has resulted in a unique musical expression in his singing.
Pandit Shantanu Bhattacharyya is foremost among the young maestros of Hindustani classical vocal music. Hewas groomed in music by his mother Smt.Ira Bhattacharyya and then Sri Amalendu Pal, Sri Bhismadev Bhattacharyya, Sri Sukhendu Goswami and Sri Sudhir Banerjee. In subsequent years, he learned expansively from worshiped names of the Patiala-Kasur Gharana, Pt.Prasun Banerjee, Vidushi Meera Banerjee and Pt. Ajoy Chakrabarty. Shantanuji has performed in numerous countries around the world, and at most major music conferences in India and abroad. A Top graded artist of All India Radio and Doordarshan, he is featured regularly on TV and radio, and has numerous recordings to his credit.
Shreyas Ambikar has studied the Santoor under Pt. Dhananjay Daithankar, and is currently under the guidance of the Santoor maestro Pt. Shivkumar Sharma. Shreyas’staalim in music began at the age of six – he has received vocal training from Pt.Harishchandra Gawahire and Smt. Alka Deo Marulkar, and studied under the Harmonium maestro, the late Pt. Appasaheb Jalgaokar.
Ustad Shujaat Khan’s musical pedigree extends seven generations, and he is the son and disciple of Ustad Vilayat Khan, one of the greatest sitar players of the modern era. Shujaat Khan belongs to the Imdad Khan gharana, the special feature of which is gayaki ang baaj, a style of playing the sitar that is imitative of the subtleties of the human voice.
Shujaat Khan has performed at all the major music festivals in India and at prestigious venues throughout the world. Audiences are captivated by his unique style of playing, his exceptional voice, and his intuitive and spontaneous approach to rhythm. He has also collaborated with different genres of music, and has over 100 CDs to his credit – his CD “The Rain”, performed with the Indo-Persian Ghazal ensemble, was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2004, and many others have made it to critics’ lists of best CDs in past years.
Subhajyoti Guha started his taalim with his father Dr. Smriti Ranjan Guha, a disciple of the Tabla maestro Ud.Keramatullah Khan of Farukhabad Gharana, and continues his training under Pt. Sankha Chatterjee, also a disciple of the great maestro. Subhajyoti has accompanied many illustrious artists, both vocalist and instrumentalists, in India and overseas.
Sumit Mishra started his musical studies under his father Pt. Sohan Lal Mishra and Uncle Pt. Mohanlal Mishra. He is a graduate from St. Xavier”s College of Kolkata and has won many awards in cultural festivals. He has accompanied senior artists like Pt Rajan & Sajan Mishra, Smt.Girija Devi and Pt Ajay Chakraborty.
Suyog Kundalkar has accompanied senior artists such as Smt. Kishori Amonkar and Ud. Rashid Khan as well as younger artists like Manjiri Asanare and Jayateerth Mevundi.
He started his studies under Smt.Ranjana Godse, and is now a student of the renowned Dr. Arawind Thatte. Suyog is recipient of numerous awards and is a graded artist of the All India Radio and Doordarshan.
Tanmay Deochake started learning Harmonium at the age of five and has been accompanying senior musicians from the age of eighteen – artists such as Pt. Ulhas Kashalkar, Pt. Suresh Talwalkar, Smt. Ashwini Bhide, Smt.Aarti Ankalikar, Pt.Yogesh Samsi, Pt.Ramdas Palsule and Pt.Vijay Ghate. He has performed at most major classical music festivals in India and has performed in USA, UK, Holland, Belgium, Dubai and Thailand.
Pandit Uday Bhawalkar is among the leading proponents of dhrupad in India today. He spent over 12 years studying in the guru-shishya Parampara tradition under Ud. Zia Fariduddin Dagar and Ud. Zia Mohiuddin Dagar, the towering pillars of the dhrupad.
Panditji has said: “The magnanimous tradition of dhrupad is an innate part of Indian culture and heritage, that has given much to every generation of artists, as well as to listeners. To see it thrive is my calling and a responsibility” To that end, he has established a Gurukul in Pune, and he is also a senior guru at the Sangeet Research Academy in Kolkata.
Udaya Kulkarni started learning Harmonium from Sri Ravindra Ghangurde and later from Pt. Pramod Marathe and Pt. Sudhir Nayak.
He has played in many prestigious concerts all over India and abroad with artists such as Pt.Shounak Abhisheki, Smt.Devaki Pandit, Ragunandan Panshikar, and Smt.Shruti Sadolikar.
He is also a graded musician of All India radio, Pune.
Vikas Naregal received training from Pt. Hire Gowdar, Pt. VishwanathNakod, Pt. Sheshagiri Hangal, and Pt. M. Nagesh. For the past 12 years, he is learning the Usad Tirakhwara style of Tabla playing under Pt.Ravindra Yavagal.
Vikas has accompanied several prominent performers: vocalists Pt. Vinayak Torvi, Pt. Venkatesh Kumar, Pt. Jayateerth Mevundi, and instrumentalists: Pt.Vasanth Kankapur, Pt. Narasimhulu Vadivatti, Pt. Ravidra Katoti and Pt. Shylesh Bhagawath. Vikas has been a Tabla instructor at Infosys Limited in Bangalore for the past year and a half, and worked as an instructor at Sarala Birla Academy, Bangalore for 3 years prior to his current position.
Dr. Vinay Mishra is a much sought after Harmonium played. He studied under the maestro Pt. Appa Shaheb Jalgaonkar, and has a PhD from University ofDelhi, where he now teaches. Vinayji has accompanied leading vocalists including Dr.Prabha Atre, Pt. Ulhas Kashalkar and Pt. Rajan Sajan Mishra. He has performed at major festivals in India and traveled extensive abroad.
Pandit Vinayak Torvi has trained under two legendary artists, Gyanacharya Gururao Deshpande of the Gwalior Gharana and Bharat Ratna Pt.Bhimsen Joshi of the Kirana Gharana, under whom he studied for 20 years in the Gurukul system. He has also received taalim under other great musicians like Pt. Mallikarjun Mansur, Pt. Basavraj Rajguru and Padmavibhushan Gangubai Hangal. In addition to maintaining a busy performance schedule, he is an active promoter of shastria sangeet as a teacher (many of his students have gone on to become professional musicians) and an organizer of highly regarded festivals such as the annual all night Sangeet Sabha in Bangalore.
Vineet Vyas is one of Canada’s young and dynamic musical talents. He is a disciple of the legendary Tabla maestro, Pandit Kishan Maharaj.
Vineet has performed with some of India’s eminent artists such as Ud.Amjad Ali Khan, Pt.Rajan and Sajan Mishra, Ud.Aashish Khan, Ud.Shahid Parvez and Dr. L Subramaniam. He has been featured on CBC television and radio. His solo CD, Taal works, was a breakthrough album featuring tabla at the forefront, and was released in India through Times Music. He recorded The King of Dhamaar – a Tribute to Pandit Kishan Maharaj, which received an East Coast Music Award nomination for Best World Recording in 2010.
Vyasmurti Katti trained under Late Pt. Ramachary aBagewadi of Solapur. He is presently learning vocal music Pt. Indudhar Nirody of the Agra Gayaki. Shri.Katti is adept in harmonium accompaniment and as well as a soloist. He has accompanied senior artists such as Dr. Gangubai Hangal, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, Begum Parween Sultana, Smt. Veena Sahasrabuddhe in India and abroad.
Warren Senders has studied Hindustani vocal music since 1977 in India and the US and has been performing professionally since 1991. He has received training in the Gwalior and Kirana gharana styles. His first teacher was Smt. KalpanaMazumder, a disciple of Amir Khan’s Calcutta shagird Pt. Usha Ranjan Mukherjee. After eight years he went to Pune and trained for one year under Bharat Ratna Pt.Bhimsen Joshi. In 1986, Mr. Senders became a disciple of Pt. S.G. Devasthali, a senior disciple of the innovative Gwalior gharana maestro, vocalist/ violinist Pt. Gajananrao Joshi. Pt. Devasthali also learnt from Pt. Anant Manohar Joshi, Pt. Gangadhar Shreedhar Joshi and Ustad Mohammad Hussain Khan, developing an original gayaki which included elements of Gwalior, Agra, Jaipur-Atrauli and Bhendi Bazaar gharana styles, all of which he passed on to Warren in extensive and detailed daily taleem.
An internationally recognized educator, Mr. Senders has given hundreds of lecture-demonstrations, master-classes and clinics, for interested learners from kindergarteners to elders. He is a faculty member of Tufts University and The New England Conservatory of Music.
Ustad Waseem Ahmed Khan comes from a line of senior musicians of the Agra Gharana. His taalim started at the age of six, first under his grandfather Ud. Ata Hussain Khan, and later under his father Ud.Naseem Ahmed Khan and Ud.Shafi Ahmed Khan at the prestigious ITC Sangeet Research Academy, Kolkata, where he is presently a music tutor. He is a regular performer of All India Radio, and has travelled extensively for performances and conducting workshops.