Sitar - Kinnar Seen
Tabla - Samir Chatterjee
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Kinaar Kumar Seen is the eldest son of the well-known musical authority Ustad Lachhman Singh Seen of the Punjab Gharana. He started learning music from his father at an early age in the traditional style of Punjab Gharana. Kinaar completed a Master’s degree in music with a Sitar major and was awarded gold medals for his proficiencies in Sangeet Visharad examinations in both tabla and vocal music.
Kinaar Seen gave his first solo performance at the age of fourteen. Since then he has been performing in major music festivals all over the world including the famous Harvallabh Sangeet Sammelan in India in 1979 and 1980. He has had numerous performances all over the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa and the West Indies. Kinaarji has performed at the Festival of Asila in Morocco by invitation from the governor and represented India in Jamaica and Trinidad, being invited by the governors of those countries as well. He performed for the Virasat foundation in Canada and was honored with the Award of Indian Classical Music for 2002. Kinaar Seen played with the Beatles Magical Orchestra in 2005 conducted by David Amram and performed at the residence of John Lennon on his request. Princeton University produced an album with Kinaar Seen under the name of John Lippicote & Friends. He also scored music for Peter Seal’s album Type O Negative. His performance at the Festival of Sacred Music in New York along with Samir Chatterjee has been recorded and is awaiting release.
Kinaar Seen has given numerous lectures and demonstrations at prestigious institutions such as Harvard University, Princeton University, Brown University, State University of New York in Stony Brook and the Julliard School of Music.
He is recipient of several prestigious awards and recognitions in India and abroad. Famous painter S. Sobba Singh honored him at Guru Nanak Dev university of Amritsar for his artistry. He has been reviewed and featured in New York Newsday, India Tribune, The Times Herald and many other newspapers. Most notably, The New York Times named him as “a leading artist of India”.
Kinaar Seen opened a branch of Sangeet Vilas, Kinaar School of Music with his wife Payal, an expert vocalist, in 1986. As a family, they collectively pass on their knowledge to many students in the Metropolitan-New York and Tri-state areas in a traditional Guru-shishya form.
Samir Chatterjee is a virtuoso Tabla player from 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 non-Indian musical traditions. Samir performed at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway in 2007. He 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 and all aspects of his work reflects this conviction.
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 is rated ‘A’ as an artiste of Indian national radio and television. 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, Pt. Manilal Nag, Ud. Ali Ahmed Hussain, Ud. Aashis Khan, Dr. L. Subramanium, U Srinivas, Ud. Naseeruddin Sami, Smt. Veena Sahashrabuddhe, Ud. Shujat Khan, Ud. Saheed Parvez, Pt. Ajoy Chakraborty, Ud. Nishat Khan, Ud. Rashid Khan, Pt. Tejendra N. Mazumdar, Pt. Debashish Bhattacharya, Smt. Arti Anklekar, Smt. Kaushiki Chakraborty, to name only a few.
Samir Chatterjee lives in the New York-New Jersey area, 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, Joshua Bell, Yoko Ono Lenon, David Liebman, Oliver Lake, Dave Douglas, Ned Rothenberg, Mark Dresser, Mark Feldman, Jerome Harris, Eric Friedlander, Steve Gorn, Glen Velez, Boby Sanabria, Jin Hi Kim, Min Xiao-Fen, 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 also collaborates with Sufi-Rock singer Salman Ahmad of Junoon from Pakistan. He is the composer and director of Indo-Flame – a blend of Indian and Flamenco dance and music, Chhand-Anand - a world percussion ensemble, RabiThakur – a ballet on the life of Tagore, Meghadootam – a feature program of music and dance on an ancient Indian poem, and Dawn to Dusk and Beyond – on the effect of music on humans and nature. He 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, a guide book to Indian music titled Music of India and Those Forty Days, a journal of an austere practice regimen. He is on the faculty at Manhattan School of Music, University of Pittsburgh and New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. He also taught at the Yale University, Columbia University, New York University and Princeton University, among many other major institutions in the USA, Europe and India. 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.
Since June 2008 Samir started working relentlessly towards the musical revival of Afghanistan. He made several trips to the country working with different levels of the society and administration and within a very short period of time was able to make a remarkable difference in the cultural life of the country. He is the recipient of several awards such as the Sunshine Award, Jadu Bhatta Award and Acharya Varistha Award.