Singer’s birthday tour

2010-01-28 00:00

LOVERS of Indian classical music can’t afford to miss the Three Shades of Raga concert at the Durban City Hall on Wednesday, February 10.

The festival is headlined by the ­doyen of Indian classical vocal, Pandit Jasraj, and also features perform­ances by violinist Kala Ramnath, ­tabla maestro Pandit Anindo ­Chatterjee, and Swiss-based sarodist Ken Zuckerman.

BBC presenter, musicologist and author Jameela Siddiqi will present a preconcert talk.

Blessed with a soulful and sonorous voice, Jasraj’s vocals give his music a sublime emotional quality, reaching out to the very soul of the listener. The singer celebrates his 80th birthday in January, and Three Shades of Raga forms part of his global birthday ­celebrations.

Maestro Ramnath, the contemporary torch bearer of the Mewati ­Gharana, stands today among the most outstanding instrumental musicians in the North Indian classical genre.

Born into a musical family, which has given Indian music such violin legends as Professor T. N. Krishnan and Dr. N. Rajam, Kala’s genius with the violin manifested itself at the tender age of three.

Her playing is characterised by an immaculate bowing and fingering technique, command over all aspects of laya, and richness and clarity in sur. She has completely revolutionised the technique of playing the violin by ­taking this instrument so close to ­vocal music that today her violin is called “the singing violin”.

Ramnath is also a founder member of Raga Afrika, the world’s first musical collaboration between South ­Africa and India, fusing the styles of Afro jazz and Indian classical music. Raga Afrika debuted to tremendous ­acclaim at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Cape Town in 2004.

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.”

He has completed 35 years of training under the rigorous discipline of ­India’s legendary sarod master, the late Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, and has performed with Maestro Khan in ­numerous concerts in Europe, India, and the United States.

In addition to performing classical Indian music with some of India’s ­finest tabla virtuosos (Ustad Zakir Hussain, Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri and Pandit Anindo Chatterjee), ­Zuckerman has been at the vanguard of numerous cultural “crossover” projects. These include the Grammy- nominated CD Diaspora Sefardi and Meeting Two Worlds of Modal Music with the medieval-style singer, ­Dominique Vellard.

In addition to his extensive performance schedule, he is the principal of the Ali Akbar College of Music in Switzerland in Basel and a teacher at the Music Conservatory of Basel where he conducts courses in both North Indian classical music and the music of the Middle Ages.

Three Shades of Raga will be staged at the Durban City Hall on February 10. Other concerts will take place at Artscape Opera House in Cape Town on February 12 and at the Lyric Theatre in Johannesburg on February 14. Tickets are available at ­Computicket.

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