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Robert Browning Associates Presents Four Part Free Online Concert Series

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Robert Browning Associates will presents a four part free online concert series featuring international music.

Each online concert will be premiered on a Saturday and will be available for viewing for 6 days on their website,

Saturday, October 24, 2020 at 8 pm Masters of South Indian Percussion

Three generations of virtuosic musicians come together to provide rhythmic fireworks in this celebration of South Indian percussion. The group is led by the legendary Vikku Vinayakram, who has popularized the ghatam (clay pot) over his long career, was a founding member of the acclaimed Shakti ensemble with John McLaughlin and Zakir Hussain, and received India's most prestigious titles and honors. He is joined by his two sons, V. Selvaganesh (hybrid drum kit), a leading musician in the world of rhythm who was a member of Remember Shakti, and Umashankar (ghatam), who is known for his meteoric rise in the classical Carnatic music field; his grandson, the dynamic Swaminathan Selvaganesh (kanjira - small frame drum, konakkol - vocal percussion), who has been lauded as one of the top kanjira players of his generation; and A Ganesan (morsing - jaw harp), who has performed in ensembles with Zakir Hussain and toured with Vikku throughout the world.

Saturday, November 7, 2020 at 8:00pm Sacred Music of Kurdistan

This ecstatic and trance-inducing concert of Kurdish music from western Iran brings together two of Iran's most renowned musicians: Ali Akbar Moradi, the extraordinary virtuoso of the tanbour, an ancient 2-stringed long-necked fretted lute traditionally used in religious ceremonies, and Pejman Hadadi, the innovative percussionist (tombak, daf) who has been a member of the Dastan Ensemble for over 20 years and collaborated with countless master musicians in Persian and world traditions. Their program features meditative improvisations based on the repertoire of the Yarsan people - followers of a mystical faith associated with Sufism, and the beauty and complexities of the art of this region. The program marks a rare NY appearance for Moradi and Hadadi.

"Love, spirituality, intoxication with the divine and the power of music... With one string providing a drone, everything else rides on a single string of the tanbour, and in Mr. Moradi's hands, that string encompasses an expressive universe." - New York Times

Co-presented with Lotus Music & Dance

Saturday, November 14, 2020 at 8:00pm Music of North India - Sitar/Vocal Jugalbandi (duet)

This jugalbandi with virtuosos Debapriya Adhikary and Samanwaya Sankar, two of India's foremost young artists, is unusual in that it is a duet with vocal and sitar (lute) instead of the more common duets with two instrumentalists or two vocalists. Both artists trained with Padmabhusan Girija Devi and have traveled worldwide with their brilliant renditions of Hindustani (North Indian) music. They are joined by accomplished tabla (drums) player Tanmoy Bose, who has accompanied many major artists, including Ravi Shankar and Amjad Ali Khan.

Co-presented with Sneh Arts and Lotus Music & Dance

Saturday, November 28, 2020 at 8:00pm Gnawa Soul of Morocco

Born in Marrakech, Hassan Hakmoun is the premier exponent of Moroccan Gnawa trance music in America and a commanding figure in world music circles. While punching out a groove on the sintir, a bass lute, his ecstatic vocals invoke the spirits of healing through chants of praise to the Prophet Mohammad and the saints. His music is a spellbinding blend of North African and Arab melodies with West African rhythms. Accompanists to be announced.


Artists appearing on October 24, Masters of South Indian Percussion:

Vikku Vinayakram, one of the most celebrated percussionists of South India, began performing at the age of 13. Son of the noted percussionist T. R. Harihara Sharma, he was a child prodigy who went on to accompany many famous Carnatic artists, including M.S. Subbulakshmi, G.N. Balasubramaniam, Mani Iyer, and Maharajapuram Santhanam, and perform his virtuosic rhythms with the Shakti fusion ensemble. For his contributions to Indian music, he has received India's major honors honors, including the Hafiz Ali Khan Award for "unmatched contribution in the field of music" (2000), the Padma Shri Award (2002), the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship - the highest award in the performing arts in India (2012), and the Padma Bhushan (2014). He also was the first South Indian musician to be awarded a Grammy for Best World Music Album for his participation in Mickey Hart's Planet Drum, in which he played ghatam and morsing. He is Principal of Sri Jaya Ganesh Tala Vadya Vidyalaya in Chennai, India - the academy established by his late father and teacher in 1958 that continues to produce new stars of Carnatic percussion.

V. Selvaganesh, one of India's leading kanjira players, has been mesmerizing audiences with his rhythmic genius since making his debut at the age of 10. He had his initial training at his grandfather's school in Chennai, and then studied with his uncle, T H Subashchandran. In addition to performing Carnatic music, he has appeared in many fusion, jazz, blues, flamenco, symphony orchestra, Celtic, Latin and jugalbandi (duet) concerts throughout the world. He has played in music festivals with such renowned Indian artists as L. Shankar, Dr. L. Subramaniam, Pandit Jasraj, Shivkumar Sharma, and Hariprasad Chaurasia, and toured the US with Zakir Hussain's Masters of Percussion and Remember Shakti with John McLaughlin and Zakir Hussain. He has also worked with many leading music directors in India, composed and produced albums, and played with the Swedish bass virtuoso Jonas Hellborg and American guitar player Shawn Lane. In the field of Indian film music, he can be heard performing in Life of Pi and Mira Nair's Vanity Fair and Monsoon Wedding.

Umashankar, the only one amongst his siblings to follow in his illustrious father's footsteps by taking ghatam as his main instrument, gave performances at the age of five at his grandfather's school. When he was only 12 years old, he accompanied the legendary T. V. Gopalakrishnan in Kanchipuram, which led to his role as a popular accompanist in classical Carnatic music. He has accompanied such artists as T. M. Krishna, Vijay Siva, Sanjay Subramaniam, Unni Krishnan, Ganesh Kumaresh, Nithyashree Mahadevan, the Priya Sisters, and Sudha Raghunathan.

Swaminathan Selvaganesh, who has mastered the intricacies of kanjira, is from a family of virtuoso musicians that has been referred to as the "first family" of percussionists in Carnatic music. The grandson of Vikku Vinayakram and son of V. Selvaganesh, he started learning kanjira when he was four years old under the guidance of his grandfather and father and gave his first performance at the age of 13 accompanying his grandfather. Like his father, he is known for popularizing the kanjira through cross-cultural collaborations. He has toured widely with his grandfather and father, and composed music for films. He has shared the stage with such major artists as Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pandit Jasraj, Balamurali Krishna and Zakir Hussain.

A Ganesan has established his own style of playing the morsing and won accolades and honors for his dexterity and dynamism. He started learning morsing from Vikku Vinayakram's father Harihara Sharma and later on from Vikku. He has toured with Vikku throughout the world and performed in percussion ensembles featuring Zakir Hussain.

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