Past events: 2007/2008

This archive page is for reference only.

May 2007

Shehnai Ensemble led by Satish Prakash - on tour throughout the UK     

The shehnai is a reed oboe type of instrument from North India, made famous around the world by the late Ustad Bismillah Khan. The renowned Satish Prakash with his shehnai Ensemble will perform an elevating and powerful tribute to his life and work. Traditionally the shehnai was used at ceremonial occasions; welcoming the king back to his palace, keeping watch from the turrets, in battle - working up the emotions of the fighters - to accompany various kinds of dances for example the famous circle dances of Gujarat, but it is especially used in weddings with which it is most associated. The shehnai became famous as a solo classical instrument only in the last 50 - 60 years or so especially with the world famous Ustad Bismillah Khan. The Shehnai Ensemble comprises of the outstanding Satish Prakash who trained mainly in the vocal tradition of the Delhi Gharana with Ustad Chand Khan, with also some guidance from the great Ustad Bismillah Khan. This meant that Satish developed the difficult technique of playing the shehnai in the gayaki or vocal style with difficult meends (glissandi and gamak) (slow and fast vibrato) and of course fast passages. Apart from the strictly classical music Satish revels in the lighter thumri styles associated with Varanasi - such as chaiti , dadra and dhun . He is accompanied by four of his students who all play the shehnai with him providing in the traditional way the drone and supporting melodic lines. The whole makes for a powerful performance with tabla accompaniment.

Shehnai Ensemble

Pictured above: Shehnai ensemble

Jai Hind

A programme of Indian traditional music and new works written by spnm shortlisted composers for westerns and Indian instruments

Can East meet West without the clichés of fusion? spnm artistic director Rolf Hind has programmed a concert that features Indian traditional music performed by the world's only female player of the sarangi, a beautiful and rarely heard Indian string instrument, and the outstanding tabla player, Hanif Khan. And alongside the traditional, the event also features the cutting edge, as virtuosic ensemble Endymion join the soloists to perform new works written for the unique combination of Indian and western instruments by some of the UK's best up-and-coming composers from the spnm shortlist.

Featuring Aruna Narayan (sarangi), Hanif Khan (tabla) and the Endymion Ensemble: Adrian Bradbury (cello) Helen Tunstall (harp), Stephen Gutman (piano), Richard Benjafield (percussion)


June 2007

Rajasthani Folk Music and Traditional Sufi Music and Dance on tour throughout the UK

Fresh from the colourful deserts of Western Rajasthan, traditional folk musicians perform vocal compositions of the great Sufi poets (such as Buleshar and Shah Latif) accompanied on the beautiful sarangi and kamenche (bowed stringed instruments), a variety of vibrant percussion and also by stunning kalbelia dancers. Rajasthan, the "land of rulers", is considered one of the most romantic Indian states, and is also the home to some of the sub-continent's most beautiful music. Alongside the magical palaces of these princely rulers there developed a rich village tradition, with folk musicians performing for themselves, and also for their patrons, on all occasions. Their songs told of love and war, of longing and separation (such as Laila/Majnun & Heera Ranja), of victory and in praise of God, and of social issues such as the value of their animals (especially camels) to their way of life.

Rajasthani musicians

Pictured above: Rajasthani musicians

Swaraj celebrates its first ten years with the Asian Music Circuit at Ginglik, Shepherd's Bush, London

Since its birth in October 1997, the seminal Swaraj clubnight has made an indelible mark on London clubland with residencies at The Blue Note, Mass and 93 Feet East, as well as forging a high international profile. Swaraj joins forces with the AMC to celebrate a decade as one of London's most pioneering collectives with resident DJs past and present joined by cutting-edge new live residents and guests from across the globe. Featuring The Bandish Project (live), DJs NERM and D-Code (Shiva Soundsystem) and DJ Pathaan (Globetronica/BBC Asian Network).

Nathan Flutebox LeeBandish

Pictured l-r: Nathan 'Flutebox' Lee, The Bandish Project


July 2007

Ravi Shankar assisted by Anoushka Shankar: the Full Circle tour throughout the UK

The world-renowned sitar player and his daughter Anoushka perform at venues across the country. Accompanied on tabla by Bikram Ghosh.

Ravi Shankar

Pictured above: Ravi Shankar

Qawwali: the Nizami Brothers (Delhi), Taufiq Niazi and Ghulam Khusro (Karachi) on tour throughout the UK
The devotional music of the Sufis from the Indian sub-continent has changed a lot in the last 20 years or so to suit audiences in the West especially the world music audiences. What mattered for such audiences was the driving rhythm rather than the beauty of the lyrics or the melodies woven out of beautiful ragas.  In the Nizami brothers from India Ghulam Sabir, Waris and Akbar and their cousins from Pakistan Taufiq Niazi and Ghulam Khusro we have the very best of traditional Qawwali in which improvisation is not just in melodic terms but also on the lyrics. Ghulam Sabir is the principal singer and entertainer par excellence - who can make you laugh or cry, make you feel like a prince or otherwise with his superb command of language and poetry. Akbar his brother has a fantastic voice. Taufiq Niazi and Ghulam Khusro join the Indian artists but bring a different style and tradition to the performance. There is no doubt that this group is one of the best in the world and they have not yet succumbed to the temptation of changing their style to suit Western audiences. Yes, you can have tremendous rhythm and vocal pyrotechniques but you also have wonderful music based in the traditional ragas of Indian music and poetry. This is their third visit to the UK with the AMC and it is a pleasure to be promoting them again this year.

Nizami BrothersNizami Brothers

Pictured above: The Nizami Brothers

Pandits Rajan and Sajan Misra with Pandit Birju Maharaj at Brighton Dome

Rajan and Sajan MisraMaharaja Birju

Pictured l-r: Pandits Rajan and Sajan Misra, Pandit Birju Maharaj

Ustad Ghulam Ali with Pandits Rajan and Sajan Misra and Pandit Birju Maharaj at Barbican Centre, London

Ustad Ghulam Ali is one of the biggest names in the music of the South Asian sub-continent. A dynamic tour joining the fabulous duo of pandits Rajan & Sajan Misra with the master of Kathak dance, the great Pandit Birju Maharaj. Accompanying on tabla they are joined by Kumar Bose, a leading exponent of the Benares gharana of tabla playing. The exceptionally gifted Pt. Jai Kishan Maharaj hails from the renowned family of professional dancers and is Pt. Birju Maharaj's son.  He will be accompanying on pakhawaj and is well known for his flair with rhythm and is an excellent multi-talented percussionist who is today regarded as the torch bearer of an ancient tradition coming from a great lineage. It is mainly Mime that this very special tour aims to explore. This is a rare occasion where Pandits Rajan & Sajan Mishra will sing compositions to which Pandit Birju Maharaj will perform the expressive aspects of Kathak, bhav and abhinaya in delivering his music. These three iconic legendary artists will be sharing the same stage for the first time ever in Europe.

Ghulam Ali

Pictured above: Ustad Ghulam Ali

Summer School 2007: Japanese Taiko Drum Concert

Featuring Hiroshi Motofuji and members of Mugenkyo. A concert in the Duke's Hall at the Royal Academy of Music.

Hiroshi Motofuji

Pictured above: Hiroshi Motofuji

Summer School 2007: North Indian and Thumri Concert

A concert in the David Josefowitz Recital Hall at the Royal Academy of Music. Featuring Uday Bhawalkar and Sunanda Sharma.

Uday BhawalkarSunanda Sharma

Pictured l-r: Pandit Uday Bhawalkar, Sunanda Sharma

Summer School 2007: Chinese Guqin and Erhu Concert

A concert in the David Josefowitz Recital Hall at the Royal Academy of Music. Featuring Prof Zeng Chengwei (guqin) and Hu Bin (erhu).

Hu BinZeng Chengwei

Pictured l-r: Hu Bin, Zeng Chengwei

Summer School 2007: North Indian Abhinaya in Thumri and Sarod Instrumental Concert

A concert in the David Josefowitz Recital Hall at the Royal Academy of Music. Featuring Bireshwar Gautam (vocal) and Anindya Banerjee (sarod).

Bireshwar GautamAnindya Banerjee

Pictured l-r: Bireshwar Gautam, Anindya Banerjee

October 2007

Pandit Shivkumar Sharma and Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia on tour throughout the UK

Pt. Shivkumar Sharma (santoor) and Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia (flute) are both legends and giants of Indian music. Shivkumar Sharma has made an enormous contribution by taking the essentially folk instrument of Kashmir - the santoor - into the world of classical music as a solo instrument. Having altered the instrument a little, he developed a very special technique of playing it and has set the benchmark standard for all those who have followed him learning the santoor . To speak of Hariprasad Chaurasia can only mean one thing and that is the flute. A brilliant flautist, technician, musician and artist, he has thrilled audiences worldwide. They have both played all over the world as soloists as well as in duet. For this tour they play each in one half of the concert as soloists accompanied by tabla . This is a tour not to be missed as they rarely appear on the same evening together.

Hariprasad ChaurasiaShivkumar Sharma

Pictured l-r: Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pandit Shivkumar Sharma

Bombay Jazz featuring Pandit Ronu Majumdar (flute), George Brooks (sax), Larry Coryell (guitar) and Vijay Ghate ( tabla) on tour throughout the UK

A brilliant collaboration between superb and highly talented musicians from India and the USA, who are enjoying the success of their recent tours in India (2003) Europe (2004) and USA (2005). Grammy nominee Ronu Majumdar the wonderful flautist from India who is equally at ease in his pure Indian classical music as he is in jazz with fantastic bamboo flute technique and huge experience having performed with Ravi Shankar, George Harrison and Ry Cooder. Vijay Ghate is an extraordinary tabla player in demand to play with just about all the big names in the field of Indian classical music as well as world music. Larry Coryell - the great guitarist is no stranger to working with Indian musicians and has done a lot with Zakir Hussain and L Subramaniam. Combining superb technique with sensitivity and artistry he has performed with all the great names of Western jazz and world music and his name is firmly embedded as one of them. George Brooks the saxophone player is also no stranger to working with Indian music and adds a very special element to this ensemble. The Telegraph, Kolkata called his CD NIGHT SPINNER " one of the finest Indo-jazz albums ever". CD Baby gave his SUMMIT CD 5 stars, denoting it" a beacon of jazz excellence, among the best in our warehouse. New works alongside traditional compositions make for an excellent concert.

Bombay Jazz

Pictured above: Bombay Jazz

Asima by Devissaro on tour throughout the UK

A male choir from South India performing Vedic chants. The word Asima means without boundary in Sanskrit and defines the life of the composer of this wonderful music - Devissaro. It is very difficult to describe something which has evolved from one man's sincere and passionate interest in India, Indian culture and music and is at the same time a wonderfully talented artist in his own right. His recent work for Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream in Stratford-upon-Avon, which is soon to go on a world tour, was highly acclaimed. In Asima we have a male vocal ensemble, which uses ancient sanskrit texts as the basis for the music. Moving from recitation to almost a modern pop song, the music is totally charming and beautiful. Superb voices singing in harmony as well as in the traditional single melodic line.


Pictured above: Asima