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Harmonium and Vocal - Suvendu Banerjee and Swagata Chakraborty

  • Chhandayan Center For Indian Music 4 West, 43rd Street, #618 New York City, New York, 10036 United States (map)

First Part:
Vocal Performance - Swagata Chakraborty
with Andrew Shantz on Harmonium

Second Part:
Solo Harmonium - Suvendu Banerjee

Tabla Accompaniment- Dibyarka Chatterjee

Our facilities are wheelchair accessible

Suvendu Banerjee

Suvendu Banerjee belongs to a “Gharana”(lineage), which is considered to be the pioneer in solo harmonium playing. His great great grandfather Sangeetacharya Montu Banerjee introduced this new style, which created the illusion of Meend (bending of notes), an almost impossible task on a acoustic keyboard. The perfect blend of Layakari (metric modulation) and Raagdari (Raga rendition) got his style of solo harmonium playing recognized at the same level as Sitar and Sarod.

His grandfather Pandit Deb Kumar Banerjee further introduced the Gayaki (vocal nuances) to the gharana, making his style of harmonium playing even more appealing. Suvendu has been learning harmonium from his grandfather since the age of 7. He had rigorous sessions of Talim (training) and Reyaaz (practice) everyday under the strict guidance of his grandfather.

Prior to this, in order to enhance his rhythmic sense, he learned Tabla from legends like Ud. Sabir Khan, Pt. Shankar Ghosh and Sri Bickram Ghosh. He also had vocal lessons from Pt. Kumar Prasad Mukherjee. Since childhood he had the privilege of being in the company of and receiving blessings from musical maestros like Ud. Zakir Hussain, Pt. Ravi Shankar, Ud. Ali Akbar Khan, Padmabhushan Sri Manna Dey, Pt. Ajoy Chakrabarty and many more. Eminent music directors Kalyanji and Anandji invited him to Mumbai to perform under their banner 'The Small Wonders'. He has an MSc degree in Advanced Computer Science from the University of Manchester (2010 -2011). His aspiration is to further establish his ancestral style of solo Harmonium playing and win it global recognition.

Swagata Chakraborty

Swagata Chakraborty (maiden name Mukherjee) is a recognized musical talent from Calcutta, West Bengal. She has performed throughout India and in the US. She has a repertoire that extends from the classical (Khayal) to light classical music such as Thumri, Kajri, Hori, Bhajan and a few types of regional songs. Her talent has won her a few awards such as the National Academy Award, Ministry of Human Resources Development, Delhi in 1996, HMV Golden Talent Contest Award in 2001, W. B. State Music Academy Award in 1996, Bani Basu Smriti Prize and Nirod-Baran Smriti Prize from Rabindra Bharati University and All India Youth Festival Award in 1997. She has performed with the legendary Manna Dey onstage at a few occasions in the USA.

Born with a natural flair for music, she was introduced to classical singing at the age of 10. For more than 20 years she received training under some very distinguished and well known performers. She learned Khayal from Pt. Mohanlal Mishra of the Benares gharana, Pt. Samarash Choudhury, a disciple of Pandit Ravishankar and and Sangit Achariya Pandit Amiya Ranjan Banerjee. Swagata also took training from Bidushi Purnima Choudhury of Benares gharana in light classical singing.

Swagata completed her Master of Arts in Music from the esteemed Rabindra-Bharati University, placed at the top of her class and winning a Gold Medal.

Dibyarka Chatterjee

Dibyarka Chatterjee is a young Tabla player from the Farrukhabad Gharana, and is the son and disciple of Pt. Samir Chatterjee. Having grown up in a musical environment, his natural inclination towards Tabla became apparent early in his childhood. At the age of five he was initiated by his father into the ancient system of pedagogy called the guru-shishya parampara (master-disciple tradition).

Dibyarka was born in Kolkata, where even in his childhood he was already performing in concerts as well as on Akaashbani Kolkata's Children's Section (National Radio - Kolkata Station). At the age of ten he moved to New York City with his family; since then he has continued to perform regularly with both Indian and Western music. Dibyarka has had the honor and privilege of performing with renowned musicians like Pandit Jasraj, Pdt. Budhhadev DasGupta, Pta. Lakshmi Shankar, Utd. Shujaat Khan, Pta. Joya Biswas, Utd. Mashkoor Ali Khan, Pdt. Ramesh Mishra, Pta. Shubhra Guha, Pta. Tripti Mukherjee, Pdt. Suman Ghosh to name only a few.
He has collaborated in world music projects with groups like the Dance Theater of Harlem (in 'South African Suite'), the Battery Dance Co. (in “Songs of Tagore”), and with fusion musician/composers like Salman Ahmad (Junoon), Douglas Cuomo, John McDowell (on the award-winning documentary “A Son’s Sacrifice”), Gary Lucas & Najma Akhtar (on their collaborative album "Rishte") etc. He has composed music for, and performed in, two off-Broadway theatrical productions (Nuraldeen's Lifetime & Lee/gendary). He has also performed in many prestigious venues like Carnegie Hall, the United Nations General Assembly, Lincoln Center & Asia Society in NYC, Place des Arts (Montreal), the Google Amphitheater (Palo Alto), Salt Lake Music Conference (Kolkata, India), Pratishruti Festival (Bhopal, India) etc. He has also appeared on numerous radio shows such as The Leonard Lopate Show and New Sounds on NPR, Raag Aur Taal on WKCR etc.
Dibyarka has a Masters in Fine Arts from Goddard College (VT). His academic pursuits are mainly focused on the history, theory, and philosophy of Indian Music. As a guest lecturer, Dibyarka has conducted classes and lecture demonstrations at numerous institutions such as Columbia University, Dartmouth College, New York University, Manhattan School of Music etc. He also teaches Tabla classes regularly at various institutions and locations in NY & NJ.

Earlier Event: August 26
Santoor Concert - Vinay Desai
Later Event: September 23
Drum Workshop - Daniel Weiss