This performance provides a rare opportunity to experience India’s opulent tonalities and intricate rhythms through a duet form called ‘Jugalbandi’. This unique classical interplay between performers has excited audiences since the legendary Ravi Shankar first introduced Indian classical music to Europe and the United States in live performance in the 1960’s.
Traditional music in India is strongly entwined with religion or devotion having its origin in the form of ancient Vedic chants. Around the 12 th century, under influences such as regional folk music idioms and the Persian music prevalent in the Mughal courts, a divergence began to occur in Northern India resulting in what came to be known as the Hindustani tradition. The older or original classical tradition, now identified as Carnatic music, remained South Indian in character and temperament.
In the Hindustani tradition, sitarist Shahid Parvez is a sixth generation of one of India’s primary musical families. His great grandfather, the eminent Imdad Khan introduced a number of modifications to the sitar, and created new techniques and choices of ragas that furthered the popularity of the instrument throughout the 19 th and 20 th centuries. Shahid Parvez, demonstrating prodigious talent at the age of three, was first trained in classical vocal music by his father and guru in the belief that the emotional directness and tonal nuance required in vocal music transfers to any instrument, forming the foundation of a truly accomplished musician. Now at the peak of his formidable musical powers, his novel and evolving music has captivated audiences worldwide with its virtuosity and eclectic repertoire, and his relentless quest to redefine his instrument’s boundaries.
One of the more discernable ways Carnatic music differs from Hindustani is
through the ornamental configurations that are used the modal or scale patterns and phrasing. This emphasis on melody is the hallmark of Lalgudi Krishnan’s performance in the South Indian tradition. Born into a family in the lineage of the saint and composer of modern Carnatic music, Thyagaraja, Lalgudi was raised in an atmosphere rich in music. His talent and innate brilliance was recognized early and musical training was undertaken by both his illustrious grandfather, Lalgudi Gopala Iyer and father, Lalgudi Jayaraman. Musical expression closest to the gayaki or singing style is thoroughly internalized in Lalgudi’s violin improvisation. It is this enormous esthetic sense that delights audiences and has elevated him to the upper-most rank of performer.
Abhijit Banerjee will accompany Shahid on the tabla. One of the most sought-after creative artists in North Indian classical drumming, he has crafted a unique style and creative approach that brings him accolades throughout the world for his sensitivity, skill and deep sense of musicality. In addition to his early in-depth training on the tabla, Abhijit also studied vocal music and violin, resulting in a wide-ranging understanding of music. Marking a distinguished career in performing Indian classical music, he has collaborated with a cadre of Jazz musicians and has earned distinction as a composer in film and television.
V.R. Ventakaraman will accompany Krishnan on the mrdangam. Well known to local audiences, Vinod is highly esteemed for his extensive appearances worldwide with legendary Carnatic instrumental musicians as well as collaboration with some of the greatest Jazz artists of today.
Percussion virtuoso, Vaikom Gopalakrishnan plays the fascinating clay pot instrument, the ghatam, as well as the mridangam, and has accompanied several leading artist in his trips abroad. Completing the Carnatic percussion ensemble is Sriram Ramesh performing on the kanjira, a small-framed drum that primarily supports the mridangam in complex rhythmic patterns. Both are recognized as distinguished accompanists to many of the leading South Indian musical artists performing today.