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The Gundecha Brothers Perform as Part of Cornish Music Series Tonight

The Gundecha Brothers Perform as Part of Cornish Music Series Tonight

The Gundecha Brothers are the most active, world-renowned performers and teachers of the ancient Indian musical vocal genre known as Dhrupad on the global musical scene today. They will perform as part of the Cornish Music Series tonight, May 30, at 7 PM at the Cornish Playhouse. The Cornish Playhouse (formerly Intiman Theatre) is located at 201 Mercer Street, on the grounds of Seattle Center, just north of downtown Seattle.

Tickets for this concert are $25-45 for adults, $20 for seniors (62+), and $20 for students and alumni (with ID). Tickets are available online at www.brownpapertickets.com and by phone at Brown Paper Tickets, 800-838-3006.

Among the signature achievements of the Gundecha Brothers has been their ability to conduct intensive workshops of Indian music abroad. In a brief period of only ten days to two weeks, they prepare a small group of students-with no previous background in Indian music and often with little or no common language-for an accomplished short performance of Dhrupad vocal music, accompanied by the pakhawaj (the North Indian barrel drum). While in Seattle, the Gundecha Brothers will participate in the Summer at Cornish Program, conducting intensive Dhrupad workshops in the week prior to their concert. For more information about the workshops, visit www.cornish.edu/summer/programs/music/ .

The workshops and performance are also part of Dhrupad Days, a music festival organized by The Dhrupad Music Institute of America. For a full schedule of Dhrupad Days events, visit www.dhrupad.com.

About Dhrupad: Dhrupad is the most ancient form of Indian classical music. It is based on the raga (melodic) and tala (rhythmic) systems shared by later Hindustani (northern) and Carnatic (southern) musical genres. Dhrupad is intended to be a deeply spiritual exploration of music, rather than pure entertainment. The distinctiveness of Dhrupad lies in its unique sequential improvisational framework for the melodic, rhythmic and lyrical exploration of a raga. Dhrupad has a very strong emphasis on precision of pitch throughout the performance. A quote attributed to the late Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar illustrates this: "To handle a raga is like walking on an oily surface; your each and every step should be firmly grounded. Correct note positions give you the ability to walk on raga without falling off." Ornamental glides between notes also have a special emphasis, inspired by the most ancient of Indian stringed instruments, the rudra veena. Finally, the use of special syllables during the initial stages of improvisation distinguishes Dhrupad from other forms of Indian classical music.

Due to these characteristics, Dhrupad performances tend to be extended presentations of ragas and talas, using a strictly structured framework that nonetheless provides virtually unlimited opportunities for improvisation. The Gundecha Brothers demonstrate an impressive mastery of this form, earned over three decades of performing and teaching throughout India as well as abroad. Their precise command of pitch and the power of their voices-individually and together-set the stage for a dramatic and absorbing performance.


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