Asia Society Announces CREATIVE VOICES OF MUSLIM ASIA Upcoming Performances

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Asia Society, as part of the 2012 spring season of its series "Creative Voices in Muslim Asia," is pleased to present one of the most outstanding Afghan rubab players of his generation, Homayun Sakhi, in concert with Switzerland-based sarod virtuoso Ken Zuckerman, a leading disciple of the late Ali Akbar Khan and a consummate master in his own right.

Sharing the stage for the first time, the two masters will be joined by the young tabla prodigy Salar Nader, and together they will demonstrate how personal style can perfectly merge with classical patterns. This concert will be held in conjunction with Princes and Painters in Mughal Delhi (1705-1857), a ninety-piece exhibition which explores the artistic influence Delhi had, when it moved from being the heart of the late Mughal Empire to becoming the jewel in the crown of the British Raj (Asia Society Museum, February 7-May 6). The concert is presented in collaboration with the Aga Khan Music Initiative, a program of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.

"In the Footstep of Babur": "Musical Encounters from the Lands of the Mughals" will take place at Asia Society's Lila Acheson Wallace Auditorium on Saturday, March 3 at 8:00 p.m. Asia Society is located at 725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street, New York City). Tickets are $22 for members, $26 for seniors/students, and $30 for non members. The concert will be preceded by a free pre-performance lecture by Theodore Levin (Arthur R. Virgin Professor of Music, Dartmouth College) at 7:00 pm. For tickets and details, please visit or call 212-517-ASIA.

Fusing cultural influences from Persia, Central Asia, and India, the Mughal courts that ruled India and the territory that later became Afghanistan created a brilliant intellectual and artistic efflorescence which resonatEd Strongly in painting and music. Beginning in the mid-19th century, at the sunset of the Mughal Empire, Hindustani musicians were patronized by the local ruling family of Kabul, where they created a Kabuli tradition of raga performance whose principal instruments were Afghan rubab accompanied by tabla. The present-day avatar of this tradition is Homayun Sakhi, whose performance style has been shaped not only by the musical traditions to which Afghan music is geographically and historically linked, but also by his lively interest in contemporary music from around the world.

This event is presented as part of "Creative Voices of Muslim Asia," an ongoing multidisciplinary series that celebrates the many and diverse ways in which Muslims express their creative voices at the beginning of the 21st century. Launched in 2008, the series aims to put art at the center of bridging the cultural divide between Americans and Asian Muslims, one that has too often been misrepresented in the mainstream media. In doing so, it highlights the artistry of individuals while exploring the cultural richness of the Muslim world.

About the Artists:

Since immigrating to the United States in 2002, Homayun Sakhi has established a worldwide reputation as the outstanding Afghan rubab player of his generation. Born in Kabul into one of Afghanistan's leading musical families, he studied rubab with his father, Ustad Ghulam Sakhi, in the traditional form of apprenticeship known as ustad-shagird. Ghulam Sakhi was heir to a musical lineage that began in the 1860s, when the ruler of Kabul, Amir Sher Ali Khan, brought classically trained musicians from India to perform at his court. Over the next hundred years, Indian musicians thrived there, and Kabul became a center for the performance of North Indian classical music. Homayun Sakhi currently resides in Fremont, California, a major cultural center of Afghan émigré life, where he opened a school to teach Afghan music to children.

Ken Zuckerman, internationally acclaimed as one of the finest sarod virtuosos performing today, has also been called "…one of the world's most eclectic masters of improvisation." His training under the rigorous discipline of India's legendary sarod master Ustad Ali Akbar Khan lasted for thirty-seven years, until Maestro Khan's passing, in 2009. He also performed with Ali Akbar Khan in numerous concerts in Europe, India, and the United States. In addition to his extensive performance schedule, Ken Zuckerman directs the Ali Akbar College of Music in Basel, Switzerland and is a professor at the Music Conservatory of Basel, where he teaches both North Indian classical music and European music of the Middle Ages.

Salar Nader is one of his generation's leading performers on the tabla. His parents emigrated from Afghanistan to Germany, where Nader was born in 1981. At the age of three, he came to the United States, and at age seven, he began formal tabla study with renowned tabla master Ustad Zakir Hussain. Nader frequently accompanies Homayun Sakhi and other performers of Afghan and North Indian classical music. He is also active as a performer in world percussion and jazz-fusion groups. A resident of San Francisco, Nader recently appeared as an onstage musician in an American theatrical adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's bestselling novel, The Kite Runner. In addition to his performance activities, Salar is a devoted teacher of tabla.


All programs are held at Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street, New York City). For updates and details, please visit or call 212-517-ASIA.

Friday, March 16, 8:00p.m.
WAYANG KULIT: Javanese Shadow-Puppet Theater (Indonesia)
Asia Society's Lila Acheson Wallace Auditorium
$22 members; $26 seniors/students with ID; $30 non-members

Performed by Ki Purbo Asmoro, dhalang (puppeteer)

Featuring a full Javanese Gamelan Orchestra (members from Gamelan Kusuma Laras, NYC and Mayangkar, Solo, Java)

English translations provided by Kathryn Emerson

This one-night-only performance will offer New York City audiences the rare opportunity to experience a Javanese shadow-puppet drama with one of the most revered innovators in this traditional art form. Ki Purbo Asmoro combines the skill of a master, the voice of a poet, and the energy of a rock star. His performances often attract audiences of thousands in Java, where he is celebrated for his ability to inject ancient narratives with contemporary debates and topical humor. The informal atmosphere of the three-hour performance will invite audiences to move around and see the show from both sides of the kelir or shadow screen. (Preceded by 20 minutes of welcoming music).

Saturday, April 28, 8:00p.m.
New Sufi music of Pakistan Punjab (Pakistan)
Asia Society's Lila Acheson Wallace Auditorium
$22 members; $26 seniors/students with ID; $30 non-members

One of Pakistan's music stars, Arif Lohar comes from a small village in the province of Punjab and followed the footsteps of his father, the famous Pakistani folk singer, Alam Lohar. In 2010, his album Jugni Coke Studio became a smash hit in Pakistan, leading him to be hailed as a top Punjabi folk and pop artists. Lohar captures the sights and sounds of modern Pakistani culture through contemporized versions of traditional Punjabi songs which mix pop and folk styles. For his NY performance he will perform on his beloved chimia (a traditional percussion instrument resembling tongs) and be backed by an ensemble of talented Pakistani musicians.

Major support for "Creative Voices of Muslim Asia" has been provided from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, with additional support from the Malaysian Government, Sapura, and Sime Darby.

Founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Asia Society is a nonprofit nonpartisan educational institution. Through exhibitions and public programs, Asia Society provides a forum for the issues and viewpoints reflected in the work of Asian and Asian American artists, and in both traditional and contemporary Asian art and in Asia today. Asia Society is located at 725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street), New York City.

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