Chhandayan means the course (ayan) of rhythm (chhand).
Chhandayan was born in 1984 in Calcutta, India; our main activity was to promote young talent, giving opportunities to perform on public platforms together with outstanding veterans. This mission was fulfilled through quarterly sessions of small concerts culminating in an annual festival at a bigger venue with the audience members ranging from 1,000 to 3,000. In 1998 Chhandayan got re-established in the USA as a not-for-profit organization, first operating in the state of New York as a small organization limited to offering classes and occasional small-scale concerts. Soon after that, we started spreading our wings out to neighboring states which included New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania and even down to Florida. The gradual popularity of Chhandayan classes, materialized not only through the increasing number of students, but also through adding more locations and faculty.
Today Chhandayan has a running number of students ranging from 250-300 in our regular classes, and many advanced students now around the world. The annual workshops and seminars draw in at least another 100 students from all over North America. Our concert series started drawing in more audience which led us to bigger venues. The popularity demanded that we present more often and in more locations and the reason behind the popularity is primarily the quality that we have maintained. By presenting some of the best from this country and overseas in the most ideal settings for such kind of inspirational music to manifest, the quality is assured.
The rapid growth of the organization led us to the culmination of presenting an All Night concert in Manhattan, in the traditional manner, every year for the last ten years on the second Saturday of May. This event has in its own course grown to be a global event, drawing people in not only from North America but South America and Europe as well. Thousands of people have been enthralled and elevated by the sublime quality of music that have naturally outpoured from the heart and soul of the greatest maestros from the world of Indian classical music. The musicians, while onstage, have always wondered about the miracle of getting the type of audience that they find with us. The audience clearly has acknowledged these concerts to be a very special experience which they don’t get anywhere else. It is the purity, the unassuming grandeur, and the incomparable level of competence that singles out Chhandayan events from everything else happening today in North America. And most importantly, it didn’t happen only once, it happens all the time. That is because of our hard work and sincerity and also at the same time justifies our presence as the most significant organization of Indian music in North America.
Mission and Vision
Chhandayan, Inc. ~ A true experience of Indian music ~ Chhandayan is a unique organization absolutely dedicated to the promotion and preservation of the rich heritage of Indian music in all possible ways. With our primary mission to create an atmosphere for learning, understanding and appreciating Indian music, Chhandayan's activities cover almost all of the areas essential to such pursuit: information, verification, opportunities for hands-on and practical experiences, and access to archival materials up to the level of advanced humanities research. As the tradition goes, in the practice and presentation of Indian classical music, the musicians compose as they perform. Such is the nature of this music calling for a high degree of improvisation, spontaneity, and openness. This spontaneity is often inspired by the audience who eventually become integral to the process of creation. This fulfills our mission: the direct involvement of the community into the making and maintenance of the music, and to take it to the sublime level of creativity.
From the beginning, Chhandayan has held to our strong belief in the power of music, particularly that of Indian music, which has helped human civilization to sustain itself over the past five thousand years. Because it is arguably the most ancient tradition still alive and vibrant, Chhandayan is committed to create awareness as to the potency of this art form and thereby help humanity across geographical, racial, cultural and religious barriers. Foundational to Chhandayan is that such a treasure is not to be ignored and lost, but to be preserved and promoted all across the globe. Chhandayan has grown year by year in our scope of offerings and impact on the community of creative artists which we serve as well as our impact on the general public.
Plans and Goals
In the next three to five years, Chhandayan's goal is to grow our establishment to a level of great satisfaction to the community, so far as Indian music and the creative artists are concerned. We wants to fulfill our educational and service mission in the areas of education, resources, propagation, archival preservation and advanced research, while working to bring the organization to a fully staffed level operating from our new center in midtown Manhattan. We want to stimulate new works and to enhance the awareness as to the importance of Indian music and music in general in the present day society. We wants to reveal and remind that Indian music is not limited to the entertainment value only, but has a greater significance contributing at a much greater and deeper level towards an improved society with better human beings. We is our goal that Chhandayan classes during the lunchtime will help more and more people to de-stress, unwind, and rejuvenate with eternal qualities of tonal and rhythmic vibrations. Afternoon, evening, and weekend classes will educate people not only in music but about the social context in which it is to be created and experienced. Every Saturday evening when we present a concert of Indian music, it will become an assured link to the sublime.
We aim to always have resources ready for the curious mind. We will be prepared to stimulate and instigate thinking and delving into the inner mysteries of the age-old tradition. All of our programs will open up greater opportunities to create a better quality of life through music and for our creative artists. Chhandayan’s purpose is to preserve and promote the rich heritage of Indian music in the United Sates. In this process we also intend to solidify our connection with World Music. We intend to satisfy, in all possible ways, the interest and enthusiasm for Indian music.