Snehasish Mozumder and Nitin Mitta Ragas Live Fest # 3 (Podcast 26)

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Snehasish Mozumder (Mandolin), Nitin Mitta (Tabla)

2 pm – 4 pm from our 24 hour Ragas Live Festival.

Snehasish Mozumder and Nitin Mitta performing at WKCR

In accordance with his family tradition, Snehasish Mozumder, born in 1967, started playing the tabla at the age of 4; first playfully, later conscientiously, he learned from his grandfather, Bibhuti Ranjan Mozumder until the age of 14. At the age of 10 (in keeping with family tradition), the mandolin was added as a second instrument. Here, his grandfather, his father, Himangshu Mozumder, his uncle, Ranjan Majumdar, and the latter´s son, Tejendra Narayan Majumdar, equally took care of instructions.

In 1983, Snehasish Mozumder was then to learn a “serious” instrument of Indian classical music, and so he began with playing the sitar under Pandit Ajoy Sinha Roy. Since Snehasish Mozumder never stopped imitating on the mandolin at home what he had learned on the sitar, Pandit Ajoy Sinha Roy agreed four years later to instruct him directly on the mandolin. After Roy´s passing, Snehasish Mozumder continued his education under Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty.

As a mile stone in his decade-long struggle for acceptance of the mandolin as an instrument of Northern Indian classical music, in November 2002 Snehasish Mozumder received an invitation from Pandit Ravi Shankar to the Royal Albert Hall (London) to participate in the George Harrison Memorial Concert (Concert for George). The modifications undertaken on his mandolin by Snehasish Mozumder and his special playing technique are increasingly taken up today by following generations of musicians.

 

Nitin Mitta is one of the most accomplished and distinctive tabla players of his generation, with a reputation for technical virtuosity, spontaneity, clarity of tone, and sensitivity to melodic nuances.

Apart from being a dynamic soloist, he is a highly sought after accompanist who has performed with some of India’s most celebrated Hindustani classical musicians, including Pandit Jasraj, Dr. Prabha Atre, Pandits Rajan and Sajan Mishra, Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, and Ustad Shahid Parvez, as well as many Carnatic musicians, such as Lalgudi G.J.R Krishnan and Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi.

Nitin has also made a mark as a versatile collaborator in other spheres. He recently joined forces with 2010 Grammy Nominee Pianist Vijay Iyer and electric guitarist R. Prasanna to produce a studio album titled Tirtha that blends elements of contemporary jazz with the North and South Indian traditional ragas and compositions. Another collaboration with R. Prasanna can be heard on the soundtrack of the Oscar-winning documentary Smile Pinky. He has also performed and toured with singer and Juno Award nominee Kiran Ahluwalia.

Born in Hyderabad in 1975, Nitin received his early training in Hyderabad from Pandit G. Satyanarayana. Blessed with raw talent, he gave his first solo tabla performance at the age of ten. During his studies he won many accolades, including first prize in the All India Competition held in Calcutta. To expand his repertoire of tabla compositions, he sought the guidance of Pandit Arvind Mulgaonkar of Mumbai, one of the most highly respected mentors of his generation.

Under Mulgaonkarji’s tutelage, Nitin not only broadened his tabla vocabulary, but sharpened his understanding of how to bring the material to life in performances through interpretation, improvisation and respect for the dynamics between instrumentalist and rhythmic accompanist. Both of Nitin’s gurus are disciples of the late Ustad Amir Hussain Khan Saheb, legendary doyen of the Farukhabad Gharana.

After moving to the United States in 2002, Nitin received a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on Arts. He was a member of the faculty at the Learn Quest Academy of Music in Waltham, MA. He maintains a busy schedule of performances and tabla workshops, traveling throughout the U.S, Europe, Canada and India. He has performed at several prominent venues including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Weill recital Hall/Carnegie Hall, the UCLA Royce Hall, the Indian consulate in New York, the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C, the Music Academy in Chennai, and the Habitat Centre in New Delhi.