Concerten fenomenaal slidegitarist Debashish Bhattacharya in Amsterdam (08/12/2012), Utrecht (09/12/2012) en Brussel (10/12/2012)

Begin december 2012 is India’s slidegitaar-fenomeen Debashish Bhattacharya op tournee in Nederland en België: op zaterdagavond 8 december in het Tropentheater in Amsterdam, op zondagmiddag 9 december bij RASA in Utrecht en op maandagavond 10 december bij BOZAR in Brussel. Al eerder besteedde ik op m’n blog aandacht aan deze fantastische ragamuzikant uit Calcutta en ook in enkele van mijn programma’s op de Concertzender en bij de Wereldomroep gaf ik ruim baan aan zijn zingende snarenspel.


Ragaslider Debashish (rechts) en z’n broer Subashish (links) op tabla

Bij zijn optredens wordt Debashish ritmisch ondersteund door z’n broer Subashish, een van India’s beste tablaspelers. De optredens in het Tropentheater, bij RASA en in BOZAR zijn een must voor de liefhebber van de Noord-Indiase raga, maar ook voor muziekliefhebbers die minder vertrouwd zijn met ragamuziek is een optreden van Debashish Bhattacharya absoluut een geweldige muzikale belevenis.

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Bharata Natyam dancer Meenakshi Srinivasan on tour in The Netherlands and Belgium

Beginning of February 2012 multi-talented dancer Meenakshi Srinivasan tours in Holland and Belgium. She’s one of the most prominent performers of the classical temple dance bharata natyam, a dance style originating from South India with its earliest roots dating back to 1000 B.C. The repertoire of this traditional dance style is based on old choreographies depicting the classical myths and legends of Hindu deities.

Meenakshi doesn’t confine herself to tradition only. Based on modern themes and ideas she also creates new choreographies by combining the language of the bharata natyam with modern dance techniques. Meenakshi’s dancing is highly stylised and energetic, but looks playful and effortless at the same time.

Her performances in The Netherlands and Belgium are accompanied by voice, violin, nattuvangam (little cymbals) and mridangam (a two-sided drum). Meenakshi Srinivasan is a must for people interested in traditional and modern dance and in Indian classical music.

Tour Schedule (date – location / time):
Friday 3 February 2012 – Antwerp, Zuiderpershuis / 20:30
Saturday 4 February 2012 – Utrecht, RASA / 20:30
Sunday 5 February 2012 – Amsterdam, Tropentheater / 15:00
Thursday 9 February 2012 – The Hague, De Regentes / 20:15

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In the footsteps of Kumar Gandharva – ragasinger Pushkar Lele tours Holland & Belgium

A not to be missed concert tour of young ragasinger Pushkar Lele in The Netherlands and Belgium from 30 November to 6 December 2011. Pushkar Lele sings in the North Indian hindusthani tradition. Natural curiosity led him to follow in the footsteps of that great innovator of Indian vocal music, Kumar Gandharva. No imitator, however, he performs his own interpretations of ragas and bhajan poetry. Pushkar Lele’s vocal art will be accompanied by Sanjay Deshpande on tabla and Suyog Kundalkar on harmonium.

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Tour schedule:
Antwerpen – Zuiderpershuis 30 nov. 20:30
Utrecht – Rasa 1 dec. 20:30
Amsterdam – Tropentheater 2 dec. 20:00
Den Haag – Regentes – 4 dec. 03:00 PM
Maasmechelen – Schouwburg Cultureel Centrum – 6 dec. 20:15

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Light of Asia – rarely seen Indian epic, screens October 7th 2011 in Amsterdam with a new live score

Light of Asia

Prem Sanyas/Light of Asia (1925, dir. by Franz Osten & Himansu Rai), a spectacular and rarely shown epic silent film, will be presented by the Amsterdam Tropentheater on Friday 7 October 2011. The film will be screened in the Mauritszaal of the Institute of The Tropics at the Mauritskade and starts at 20:30. Not to be missed!

“Two and a half thousand years ago there lived in North India a prince, Siddharta, who renounced his worldly wealth and a position and wandered the land in search of understanding and the secret of sorrow. After many experiences, as he sat one day in meditation, illumination came to him and he became The Buddha, the Enlightened One. Thereafter, through out his life, he taught the law of righteousness, the Middle Way.” (from the book ‘The Light of Asia’ [1879] by Sir Edward Arnold)

The celebrated Rajasthani gypsy ensemble Divana provides live musical accompaniment. The silent film tells the story of Prince Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha), who achieved spiritual enlightenment by rejecting all material wealth.

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IGFA 2010 was een muzikaal feest voor oog en oor!

De afgelopen week verkeerde ik in gamelansferen. Dat kwam door de 2e editie van het International Gamelan Festival Amsterdam – het IGFA 2010 – dat plaatsvond van 2 tot en met 11 september in het KIT Tropentheater. Ik heb alle avondvoorstellingen bezocht.

Was de eerste editie van het IGFA in 2007 al een groot succes, het IGFA trok in 2010 nog meer nationale en internationale belangstelling en alle avondvoorstellingen in de schitterende Lichthal van het Tropenmuseum (met 550 zitplaatsen) waren nagenoeg uitverkocht. Balinese en Javaanse topensembles verzorgden oorstrelende en oogverblindende concerten die je op Nederlandse podia hoogst zelden en eigenlijk alleen maar op dit unieke festival zult aantreffen. Amsterdam mag zeer trots zijn op dit wondermooie festival van wereldformaat. Ik zie al weer uit naar de 3e editie van het IGFA! 🙂

Als bonus hier nog even de Balinese groep Semara Ratih, hier in een laatste repetitie op Bali van het schitterende stuk Lapanbelas, dat zij op 9 september op het IGFA in premiere brachten. Dit is het eerste deel…

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Playing around India : A portrait of Dutch cellist Saskia Rao-De Haas (2002)

Playing around India – A portrait of Dutch cellist Saskia Rao-de Haas, a radio documentary by Pieter de Rooij, produced in 2002. [original Dutch title: Op streek in India – een portret van de Nederlandse celliste Saskia Rao-de Haas]

The documentary is mostly in dutch, but this video offers a transcript in english locked to the timetable, in order to make this production accessible for an international audience. To allow convenient reading of this transcript, you should play the video in HD (1080p).
Production date: May-June 2002. First broadcast by Concertzender on 8 November 2002, also broadcast by Radio Netherlands on 25 and 29 December 2002. Voice narrator: Wim Vriezen.
In the documentary ‘Playing around India’ (produced May-June 2002) programme maker Pieter de Rooij introduces the career of the brilliant 31-year-old (that is, in 2002) cellist Saskia Rao-de Haas. She is one of the very few people, and the only European, to play the classical ragas of North India on the cello. She is considered the only genuine cello soloist by the Indian concert going public. Her virtuosity and deep musicality have introduced a new resonance to Indian music and have been enthusiastically receieved by critics and audiences worldwide. To achieve a proper Indian sound Saskia Rao-de Haas plays on a specially modified cello: smaller (so as to be able to be played sitting on the floor), with five instead of the usual four strings, and with ten ‘sympathetic’ strings. These freely resonating strings give a beautiful Indian sound to the cello and the instrument has quickly become very popular.
For two years (speaking from 2002) Saskia Rao-de Haas has lived in New Delhi with her husband, the famous Indian sitar player Shubhendra Rao. As well as traditional raga improvisations, she and her husband play their own compositions in which they mix classical Indian music with elements from European folkmusic and Western classical music.
In May and June 2002 Saskia and Shubhendra toured outside India when, for the first time, Western audiences were able to hear the combination of sitar and cello in Indian classical music. Programme maker Pieter de Rooij caught up with the couple in Amsterdam where they gave a concert at the KIT Tropen Theatre on 25 May. Saskia talks about her music, her cello and her life in India. Her husband Shubhendra, the violin maker Eduard van Tongeren and her former teacher at the Rotterdam Conservatory, Joep Bor, all have something to say about Saskia’s amazing cello adventure. Recordings from the Amsterdam concert are heard during the documentary.

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Kaushiki Chakrabarty – Een vocaal wonder uit India (artikel uit 2007)

In april 2007 gaf de jonge Indiase zangeres Kaushiki Chakrabarty in Nederland en België een serie concerten. Vlak voor de start van deze tournee sprak ik in Amsterdam met deze winnares van de BBC World Music Award 2005 (voor haar album ‘Pure’) en enkele dagen later bezocht ik haar concert in het Amsterdamse Tropeninstituut.
In het wereldmuziekmagazine Mixed (no.1, zomer 2007) gaf ik in een artikel, Kaushiki Chakrabarty-Een vocaal wonder uit India, mijn indrukken van dit concert, aangevuld met achtergrondinformatie over haar muziek. Klik op de foto hieronder (en daarna nog een keer om verder te vergroten) om het artikel te lezen.

artikel Kaushiki Chakrabarty

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Kaushiki Chakrabarty radio-special, 25 July 2009, with me as studio guest

Hey, that picture… looks like… is it…?… YES! …it’s Kaushiki-ji !!

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On Saturday 25 July 2009, dutch national channel Radio 6 featured a special on Kaushiki Chakrabarty in VPRO’s world music programme De Wandelende Tak. The programme’s host Walter Slosse interviewed me on Kaushiki’s career and music.
I also selected the music that was played in the programme, great music of course! The programme is still available for listening on demand.

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The programme was highligted as ‘radio programme of the day’ – with a photo (see above) of Kaushiki added and with additional info elsewhere on the same page (see below) – in the VPRO-guide (no.30, 25-31 July 2009), Holland’s best TV&Radio Guide.

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The picture shown in the VPRO guide is a cutout from this picture, showing me and Kaushiki in Leicester, during the Darbar Festival 2008.

Two years ago I portrayed Kaushiki in my radioprogramme Gharana and this episode is still ‘on demand’ available on the Concertzender website and I’ve also published a Youtube-portrayal of Kaushiki and some clips of her great Amsterdam concert in April 2007. Check it out, it’s great to hear and see her in performance!

You can still listen online to the special on Kaushiki. Don’t miss Kaushiki at her best in this radio-special!

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