Eric Fraser, Bansuri; Naren Budhkar, tabla – Ragas Live Festival 2013 #13 (Podcast 72)


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Eric Fraser on Bansuri and Naren Budhkar on tabla performed noon-1pm on the 2013 Ragas Live Festival.

Eric Fraser is a disciple of Pandit Gopal Roy of Kolkata, India, a leading exponent of the Padmabhushan Pannalal Ghosh and Pandit Gour Goswami lineage. Eric’s “gayaki ang”or vocal approach to the bansuri flute is unique and rare, deep and sincere. Merging a healing breath with craft and musicality, Eric brings an exciting, meditative and moving performance. While at home in New York, Eric continues to perfect his art under the guidance of master musician Steve Gorn, a bansuri player from the same “Gharana” (lineage). Eric regularly performs Indian classical music on the bamboo flute in India and the USA, including much collaboration as an accompanist for dance and theatre. He has made contributions with his bansuri to music ranging from Hip Hop to children’s music. Besides flute, Eric Fraser is a music therapist (MA-BC), freelance teaching artist and singer/songwriter.  Check out his new album of lullabies,  Raga Bye Baby .


Naren Budhakar was born in Pune, India, and was first exposed to classical music by his father who was a violinist. From his cousin Shashikant Purandare he learned Delhi style percussion and began performing at a young age. He was initiated as a disciple by Tabla Maestro Ustad Shabbir Nisar. Naren has been performing and teaching both in the U.S. and abroad, lending his percussion skills to various forms of world music. He is on the faculty of the East-West School of Music, where he teaches Tabla classes and performs regularly.


Rajeswari Satish, vocals; Radhika Mani, violin; A.R. Balaskandan, mridangam; Arthi Suresh vocals – Ragas Live Festival 2013 #12 (Podcast 71)


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Rajeswari Satish, vocals; Radhika Mani, violin; A.R. Balaskandan, mridangam; Arthi Suresh vocals for the 11am-noon performance on the 2013 Ragas Live Festival.  Rajeswari opened with  Raga Hamsadhwani and Puri Kalyan then most deeply explored Raga Vasantha

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As a performer of South Indian Classical (Carnatic) vocal music, Rajeswari strives to balance both tradition and trend. As a teacher, she strives to impart this art form in all its purity to her students , but with a modern approach.

Rajeswari was introduced to music at early childhood by her mother Vijayam Ranganathan, who is a vainika. She began her formal music education at the age of seven, under the caring and nurturing tutelage of Prof. Sri M.A. Venugopal. In three years, Rajeswari won the Government of India National Talent Search Scholarship and pursued thirteen years of advanced training with the renowned teacher and scholar, Sangeetakalacharya Sri C.S. Krishna Iyer. At present, she continues to receive guidance from Padmabhushan Sri P. S. Narayanaswamy. Rajeswari had the opportunity to learn new repertoire with renowned musicians Sangeetakalacharya Sri Chingleput Ranganathan and Sangeetakalanidhi Smt. R. Vedavalli on various occasions.

Rajeswari has performed extensively in India, USA and the UK. Notable among the venues are All India Radio, December music festival (Chennai, India), Cleveland St. Tyagaraja Aradhana, Milapfest (UK).

Rajeswari’s approach to music is based on the soul of the raga, with bhava and sahitya given utmost priority. She has received critical acclaim for her variety of repertoire and sensitive approach to rendering kritis. Her training with eminent teachers, coupled with a sincere and dedicated approach , has molded Rajeswari into a capable and sought after teacher.

At present, she resides in NJ, USA, where she teaches a select group of students.Many of her students have won top awards in prestigious competitions, and are upcoming concert artists.

Mitali Banerjee Bhawmik, vocals; Indradeep Ghosh, violin; Samir Chatterjee, tabla – Ragas Live Festival 2013 #11 (Podcast 69)


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The stellar vocalist Mitali Banerjee Bhawmik  performed with Indradeep Ghosh on violin and  Samir Chatterjee tabla from 10-11am on the 24 hour Ragas Live Festival. Engineered by Ahmet Ali Arslan


Mitali Banerjee Bhawmik, an artiste of Hindustani Classical vocal music, was born in Nogaon, Assan, where she started her initial lessons in music at a very early age from Sri Ajit Dutta.  Later she had the privilege of receiving extensive training in the different styles of Hindustani Classical vocal music from Sri Biren Phukan in Guahati, Assam.  For further training, Mitali came to Calcutta in 1983 where she initially received lessons from Srimati Meera Banerjee, the noted vocalist.  Since 1984 Mitali is under the tutelage of Padmabhushan Pandit V. G. Jog the famous violin maestro. Pandit Jog’s vast and extensive experience in the different musical styles and traditions have helped Mitali to blend the best of few styles (Gharanas) in her music in contrast to sticking to a single traditional Gharana style.  This has been the essence of Pandit Jog’s philosophy in music and training methodology.Mitali also received training in semi-classical (thumri, dadra, hori etc) music from Smt. Dahlia Rahut, a senior disciple of Smt. Girija Devi.

Mitali has performed in several concerts both in India and USA.  To name a few, in USA, she has performed at the Ali Akbar College of Music in California, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Yale University in Connecticut, Princeton University, Rutgers University in New Jersey, Chhandayan All Night Concert,  other universities in US and also at several locations in New York and New Jersey area. In India Mitali has performed at the Sangeet Research Academy, Salt Lake Music Festival, Bhawanipur Sangeet Samaj, Dover Lane Music Conference periodicals, Calcutta School of Music, World Bengali Conference, SPIC-MACAY concerts, West Bengal State Music conference in Kolkata, Delhi habitat center, IIC Delhi, NCPA Mumbai, Varanasi, Rajkot & Surat & several others. She has also performed at the Nehru Centre and Stratford in London UK.

Her melodious voice and perfect rendition of the “raga’s” have won her numerous acclaims and appreciation from the listeners.  Besides Khayals, Mitali also specializes in semi-classical music like Thumris and Bhajans.

Mitali has a few CDs, one of them is “Vandana”, where her Guru Pandit V. G. Jog has accompanied her on the violin. She has another album, named “Rasiya” where she has been accompanied by Pt Ramesh Mishra on Sarengi and Pt Samir Chatterjee on tabla.

Mitali is the director of Ethnomedia Music Studio where she teaches Hindustani Classical Music to several students in the area.  Mitali along with her students has won the prestigious New Jersey Council of the Arts grant for four years.

Indradeep Ghosh:

One of the most talented young Violinist of India & a torch bearer of Seni – Maihar gharana, Indradeep was initiated in the art of playing Violin at his tender age of six under the able guidance of Sri Anamitra Mustafi. From the year 1991, he is under the tutelage of Prof. Smt. Sisirkana Dhar Chowdhury. He has also the privilege of getting occasional talim from other maestros of Indian Classical Music like Pt. V.G.Jog and Pt. Kumar Bose. Apart from Indian Classical Music, Indradeep has the fondness toward the Western Classical Music too, and he has received his western lessons from late Sri Samir Sil.

He is born with gifted talent of creativity and having such a strong guiding line-up, his performance has naturally became sweet, soothing, fascinating yet thrilling and is full of creative intelligence, excellent bowing technique and melody. His style of playing is a blend of ‘gayki’ and ‘tantrakari’ ang. His fortes are ‘taan’ and ‘jhala’

Along the years, Indradeep has participated in several music festivals and concerts of India and abroad like – Asia Festival in Barcelona, Memorial Concert for Chile in Koln, Biswa Banga Sammelan, Baba Allauddin Memorial Festival, Salt Lake Music Festival, Prativa Utsav organised by EZCC, Dover Lane Music Festival, Kal Ke Kalakar Sangeet Sammelan Mumbai, Kala Prakash Varanasi, Kashi sangeet Samaj, Cultural Exchange Programme organised by Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan in Chennai, IIT Delhi, Delhi Cant.etc and has also performed extensively in USA and several European Countries like Germany, France, Austria, Luxemburg, Spain, Denmark, Netherland etc. Moreover he has participated as a guest violin player in “Evening Live Show” & “Subha Savere” from Doordarshan Kendra New Delhi and is a regular performer from All India Radio Kolkata. He is also associated with several top grade fusion music bands like “Rhythmscape” of percussionist Bikram Ghosh and “Karma” of Subhen Chatterjee. He has composed theme music for the Kolkata Children’s Book Fair 2008.
He has to his credit many Classical and Fusion Music albums. The major among them is “Flames – The passion of Indian Raga”, where he has been accompanied on tabla by Pandit Kumar Bose.

Samir Chatterjee :
Samir Chatterjee is a virtuoso Tabla player of India. He travels widely across the world throughout the year performing in numerous festivals as a soloist or with other outstanding musicians from both Indian and western musical traditions. Samir performed at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway in 2007 and also performed a few times at the United Nations General Assembly. His compositions are widely acclaimed as well as his writings. Samir is a firm believer in the transforming effect of music on the society. Since June, 2008 Samir has been working relentlessly towards the musical revival of Afghanistan. He has made several trips to the country working with levels of the society and administration and within a very short period of time he has been able to make a remarkable difference in the cultural life of the country.

Chatterjee began his studies early with Pandit Bankim Ghosh, Pt. Balaram Mukherjee, Pt. Rathin Dhar and Mohammad Salim. His later formation as a musician occurred under the guidance of Pt. Amalesh Chatterjee (since 1966) and Pt. Shyamal Bose (since 1984). All of Samir’s teachers have been from the Farrukhabad Gharana (school) of Tabla-playing, which he now represents.

Samir Chatterjee is rated ‘A’ as an artiste of the national radio and television of India. He can be heard on numerous recordings featuring as soloist, accompanying many of India’s greatest musicians and in collaboration with western musicians of outstanding caliber. In concert Samir has accompanied many of India’s greatest musicians including Pt. Ravi Shankar, Ud. Vilayat Khan, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, Pt. Jasraj, Pt. Nikhil Banerjee, Pt. V.G. Jog, Pt . Shivkumar Sharma, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, M. S. Gopalakrishnan, Ud. Amjad Ali Khan, Ud. Salamat Ali Khan, Smt. Lakshmi Shankar, Ud. Ashis Khan, Ud. Shujat Khan, Pt. Ajoy Chakraborty, Ud. Rashid Khan, Pt. Tejendra N. Mazumdar, Pt. Debashish Bhattacharya, to name only a few.
Samir Chatterjee lives in New Jersey, and has been a catalyst in the fusion of Indian and Non-Indian music, in his own creations and others as well. He performs with Pauline Oliveros, William Parker, Branford Marsalis, Ravi Coltrane, Dave Douglas, Steve Gorn, Glen Velez, Boby Sanabria, Ben Verdery, Dance Theater of Harlem, Boston Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Ethos Percussion group, Da Capo Chamber Orchestra, Boston Musica Viva and other jazz, classical and avant guard musicians and ensembles. He is member of jazz trio SYNC with Ned Rothenberg and Jerome Harris and quintet Inner Diaspora together with Mark Feldman and Eric Friedlander. He also collaborates with Sufi-Rock singer Salman Ahmad of Junoon from Pakistan. He is also the composer and director of Indo-Flame and Nacho Nacho – both blends of Indian and Flamenco dance and music, Chhand-Anand – a world percussion ensemble and Dawn to Dusk and Beyond – on the effect of music on humans and natureHe performs with Sanjay Mishra on his CD “Blue Incantation” featuring Jerry Garcia as guest artist.

Samir Chatterjee has been teaching for the last 35 years and many of his students are established performers. He is the Founder-Director of CHHANDAYAN, an organization dedicated to promoting and preserving Indian music and culture. He has authored a comprehensive 654-page book entitled ‘A Study of Tabla’ and a guide book to Indian music titled ‘Music of India’. He is on the faculty at Yale University, Manhattan School of Music, University of Pittsburgh, New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and University of Bridgeport in CT. He also contributes to several newspapers and periodicals. He won gold medal for his proficiency in a musical examination and has two master degrees, in English and History.

Roger Lipson, shehnai and sitar; Stephen Celluci, tabla; Andrew Shantz, harmonium – Ragas Live Festival 2013 #9 (Podcast 67)


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images-13Roger Lipson performed raga Malkauns on Shenai and Saraswati on Sitar, with Stephen Celluci on Tabla and Andrew Shantz on harmonium from 8am-9am on the Ragas Live Festival 2013

Roger Lipson is currently playing bass (he’s also on sitar, vocals) with The Truants, a New York City band specializing in early garage and British Invasion rock, blues, and soul, and he also makes regular guest appearances with other musical groups. Roger has played alongside Shawn Pelton, Glen Burtnik, Larry Russell, John Korba, Dan Weiss, The Easy Star All Stars and many others. His performances include such well respected venues as the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival, Symphony Space, Joe’s Pub, World Live Café in Philadelphia, the Count Basie Theater and State Theater of New Jersey, and others around the country.  He was recently named aHofner Artist as an electric bass player.

Roger has played the classical music of India since 1988, and he has toured all over the country. He trained on the sitar under Pandit Krishna Mohan Bhatt of Jaipur, India, and master musician Frank Menusan of New York City. Roger also plays the shehnai (sometimes described as the Indian oboe), an historic instrument which is featured in Indian weddings and temple ceremonies. For the shehnai, Roger studied with Pandit Ustad Fateh Ali Khan, including an intensive residency in Benares, India.

As a classical Indian musician on sitar and shehnai, Roger can be heard playing sitar on The Easy Star All Stars’ #1 Billboard recording of “Lonely Hearts Dub Band” and The Cringe’s “Tipping Point”. He was a consultant to the Weinstein Company to get the Indian oboe (shehnai) into the movie Our Idiot Brother (directed by Jesse Peretz. Roger’s sitar can also be heard in other collaborations: on recent albums “The Tipping Point” by The Cringe, and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band” by The Easy Star All Stars, as well as on the Nova episode “Saved by the Sun” for PBS.

Stephen Cellucci has studied tabla under the guidance of Pdt. Samir Chatterjee since 2000. He was initiated as a disciple of his Guruji in 2005 and has shared the stage with him several times since. He performed at the well-known Chhandayan All Night Concert of Indian Music in New York City in 2004 and 2009. He also has extensive experience playing with kirtans and accompanying dance — both traditional Indian kathak and western modern forms.

Stephen’s background in western classical music and piano complement his ongoing, rigorous study of Indian music. His scope of musical influences gives him the versatility to adapt the tabla to most any musical need. He resides, teaches, and plays in New York City. Contact him at

Andrew Shantz  is an emerging keyboard improviser, vocalist and composer with a background in Jazz and an appetite for musical exploration. Since graduating from William Paterson University in 2003 with a B.M. in Jazz Studies Andrew has continued to develop his musical skill and vocabulary and in 2006 began studies of Hindustani classical music in Kolkata, India with Pandit Samar Saha and Shrimati Madhumita Saha. This year Andrew debuted his group Colors of Tarab at Alwan for the Arts in a concert featuring traditional pieces and original compositions combining elements of Indian and Arabic music and Jazz improvisation.

Indrajit Roy-Chowdhury, Sitar; Ehren Hanson, Tabla – Ragas Live Festival 2013 #8 (Podcast 66)


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Indrajit Roy-Chowdhury, Sitar; and Ehren Hanson, Tabla  performed the raga Nat Bhairav at the Ragas Live Festival 2013 at 7am for the Ragas Live Festival.

Indrajit Roy-Chowdhury is a disciple of the sitar maestro Pandit Subroto Roy-Chowdhury.  Groomed in the Veen-kar style of the Senia Gharana, which maintains the Dhrupadi origins of Indian Classical music, Indrajit strives to innovate while keeping a firm connection with the past.  While completing his undergraduate studies at Duke University, Indrajit received the Bennenson Award for the Arts to further his study of Indian Classical music.  Since then he has taken the profession of a full-time sitarist and has performed on stages across the world including such prestigious venues as Gyan Mancha (Kolkata), Hammerstein Ballroom (New York), Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.) and has had his concerts telecast by Doordarshan (Indian National Television).  During the 2010 Fall semester Indrajit was a visiting faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania and taught the University’s sitar course.


Ehren Hanson began learning tabla when he was 15 years old under Misha Masud of New York City. In 2000, he was accepted as a disciple by the great Pandit Anindo Chatterjee and has developed into an exciting performer and a dynamic teacher. Ehren then went on to teach rhythm as an assistant professor at Bard College in 2002 and in 2005 he received the prestigious Senior Performing Arts Fellowship from the American Institute of Indian Studies. He has had the honor of accompanying great musicians such as Pandit Debi Prasad Chatterjee, Pandit Subrata Roy Chaudhuri, Steve Gorn, and others. In 2012, The Time of India described his tabla solo performance as “enthralling.” Ehren currently lives in New York where he is an active performer and teacher. He is also the director of the Anindo Chatterjee School of Tabla.


Mithun Radhakrishna, mandolin; A.R. Balaskandan, mridangam; Ragas Live Festival 2013 #7 (Podcast 65)


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 Mithun Radhakrishna (mandolin) and A.R. Balaskandan (mridangam) treated the WKCR Ragas Live Audience to Carnatic ragas from 6am-7am

They performed 1) Raga Bhairavi – Viriboni, 2) Raga Kanakangi – Sri Gananatham 3) Raga Mohanam Kapali and finally, 4) Raga Sindhu Bhairavi – Srujana

Mithun has been playing the Mandolin since the age of 10.Inspired and initiated to the instrument by the pioneer of Carnatic mandolin, Mandolin Srinivas, Mithun began performing at the age of 15. Mithun has undergone rigorous training under Vid Sri Prasanna Kumar and from renowned violinist Vid Sri TKV Ramanujacharyulu with whom he is still learning. Mithun has performed throughout India under various platforms and also been performing in New York since 2009.


A.R. Balaskandan is a performer, teacher and composer in Carnatic Violin and South Indian Percussion (Mridangam, Kanjira and Konnakkol).

As a Mridangist, he belongs to the school of Sruthilaya of Sri Karaikudi R. Mani of Chennai, where he has received advanced training from Guru Karaikudi Mani.

As a Carnatic Violinist, he initially trained under Sri Sarweswara Sarma and obtained his Teaching Diploma. He has been under the guidance of Smt. T. Rukmini of Chennai since 2000.

He has also received advanced training in Carnatic Vocal from Sri Seethrama Sharma and in general Percussion Techniques from Prof. T. V. Gopalakrishnan

Balaskandan has accompanied established international artists such as Sri O. S. Thyagarajan, Prof. T. V. Gopalakrishnan, Sri T. K. Govinda Rao, the Carnatica Brothers, the Bombay Sisters, Smt. Sankari Krishnan and others. He has also accompanied senior Bhratanatyma dancers from both India and the US.

He has been performing for over 20 years in prestigious venues around the world including India, Europe and North America. Performance credits include the Lincoln Center, NY, the Lighthouse International Theatre in NY and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.

He also has several large music and dance productions to his credit, including “Urban Kutcheri,” which premiered at the Joyce/SoHo in June 2006, “Pallavi: Exchange of Ideas between Western and Indian Classical Traditions over the Century” presented in London, “Innovation and Inspiration: A Rhythmic Project to Encourage Creativity Among Young Musicians” in London, as well as the dance dramas “Mother Theresa” and “Kastur Bhai” in Canada.

He is a featured musician on several music recordings. He is also a recognized composer of rhythmic segments, known as Jathis, in Carnatic music. He is the founder and lead artist of “Akshara,” a percussion based orchestra.

Balaskandan has worked in the development of organizations promoting South Indian music and dance in Canada and in the UK. He co-founded SIMDA, a promotional organization, in Toronto, Canada. He was a founding member and trustee of Sruthi Laya Seva (UK) Trust, an educational and promotional organization under the auspices of Guru Karaikudi R Mani.

He is currently based in New York, NY, where he teaches and performs regularly.