SANGEET MARTAND PANDIT JASRAJ
Recipient of Padma Vibhushan
Indian Classical Music today, is one of the greatest gifts of India to the world.
And a blessed few, much beyond their fame and fortune, have devoted their lives to bolster this claim far and wide.
While renowned instrumentalists have done it through their chosen instruments, like the Sitar and the Sarod, Pandit Jasraj has done it through that one God-gifted instrument: His Voice.
Pandit Jasraj’s achievements are beyond compare more so because vocal music is the most intimate and direct medium according to India’s musical treatise and tradition. And almost beyond belief is also the fact that he has carved out his monumental global following without depriving his many million domestic admirers. He has been passionately loyal to his soil, while his music has scaled ethereal heights all over the planet. He has single-handedly paved the way for Indian vocal classical music to resonate across the world.
Born in a family of outstanding musicians over four generations, Pandit Jasraj was initiated into music by his revered father, Pandit Motiram, until the age of three, when his father passed away. Thereafter he underwent intensive tutelage under his elder brother and Guru, Pandit Maniram. Later, along his turbulent path of hard-earned maturity, he was guided by his spiritual Guru Maharaja Jaiwant Singh.
Blessed with a soulful and sonorous voice, which traverses masterfully over all four and a half octaves, Jasraj’s vocalizing is characterized by a harmonious blend of the classic and opulent elements projecting traditional music as an intense spiritual expression, at once chaste and yet densely coloured. This gives his music a unique and sublime emotional quality, reaching out to the very soul of the listener. Perfect diction, clarity in sur (musical notes), and gayaki (creative musical progression), command in all aspects of laya and rhythm, depth of composition and an unmistakable interplay between notes and words to evoke the desired mood and emotion, are the hallmark of Panditji’s music. This sensitivity, added to the pure classical approach, has given his singing a lyrical quality, the quintessential of the Mewati tradition of singing.
As a mentor and guru, Pandit Jasraj has already presented to the world an impressive number of illustrious disciples whom he has nurtured and trained in accordance with India’s rich tradition of the Guru-Shisya Parampara, the ideal teacher-student relationship. Today, his frontrunner disciples too are zealously carrying the flag of Indian music to every corner of the world.
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.
Samir 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.
Pandita Tripti Mukherjee
Pandita Tripti Mukherjee is an illustrious Indian classical vocalist with global performance credits and discography. A torchbearer of the Mewati Gharana, Tripti Mukherjee is a devoted disciple of Padma Vibhushan honoured, Sangeet Martand Pandit Jasraj. She is a true cultural ambassador of Indian Classical Music to North America and the World, an institution and community builder, and a Guru to hundreds in keeping with the treasured Guru-Shishya Parampara. Widely acclaimed and honoured for her performing artistry, creative brilliance, teaching and service, she has fulfilled her faith that 'Music is a universal language of the soul that can unite humanity by transcending barriers of country, race and religion.'
Born in Kolkata to Mrs. Indira and Mr. Rajat Mukherjee, Tripti Mukherjee trained under Smt. Bharati KarChaudhury, Shri Sunil Das, Pt. Prasun Banerjee, and Vidushi Sipra Bose. She met Pandit Jasraj in 1976 and soon after moved to Mumbai for further 'Talim'(study). Thus began her lifelong dedication to her Guru and the Mewati Gharana. In 1995, fulfilling the vision set by Pandit Jasraj and dedicating her services as 'Gurudakshina', she became the founding director of the Pandit Jasraj Institute for Music Research, Artistry and Appreciation, U.S.A.
The artiste -Tripti Mukherjee, is especially acclaimed for her mellifluous voice, purity of swar and soulful compositions. She is one of the first 'Jasrangi Jugalbandi' performers, a male-female duet sung simultaneously in two different ragas and scales, based on the Murchhana Paddhati - a novel and unique creation of Pandit Jasraj. She holds the distinction of performing in both Rashtrapati Bhavan (1992 & 2014) and the White House USA (2007). Tripti Mukherjee has performed in all of India's prime music festivals, and in six continents, including Antarctica.
The creator - Tripti Mukherjee, has revived and documented works of Shri Pandit Jasraj, Smt. Madhura Jasraj and other eminent musicians, artistic directors and poets of India through creative projects such as Kanh Kahani, Sapta Ras Sindhu, Geet Govind and Kabir. Her discography includes Geet Govind, Thaat Samhita, Kanh Kahani, Melodious Bhajans, Mira Bhajan, Raga Symphony, multiple Raag-based classical albums and PraNamamyaham.
The Guru - Tripti Mukherjee, has touched innumerable lives, instilling values of the 'Gurukul' traditions of India and adopting the 'Service' to Music as the essence of her life. Under her stewardship, currently, the entire Institute is creating the 'Archival Anthology of Mewati Compositions', a significant contribution in heritage preservation for future generations. Pandit Jasraj Institute's classes and the one-of-a-kind 'Sur-Laya-Chhandotsav Shibir', the publication 'JasRangi', research projects by the students, examinations and certifications, were specially recognized by the New York State Board of Education.
Tripti Mukherjee is a Gold Medalist in Sangeet Visharad and Sangeet Prabhakar, is a Grade-A artiste on All India Radio and Television and winner of National Scholarship for Hindustani Classical Vocal Music. Her prominent honours and awards include 'Pandit Jasraj Gaurav Puraskar'(Pune), 'Lalit Kala Sangeet Ratna' award (Kanpur, 2012), 'Pandita' honour (University of Karnataka), 'Amir Khan Memorial Award' (Kolkata) and 'Yugantar Patrika Award' (Kolkata). On June 1, 2008, Triptiji was honoured by the "India Association of Long Island" for 'outstanding contribution in making a difference in the society by spreading Indian Classical Music - a noble service to the community.' She has also received the 'Outstanding Women's Achievement Award' by the Indian American Forum, US Congress, US House of Representatives and New York Senate (2014), 'New York State Honour' for highly significant contribution and service to community through music,'Jyotsna Award' (New York) and 'Acharya Shiromani' (Pandit Jasraj Institute of Music) for her contribution as Guru. She had the great honour of being the first Indian Classical vocal artiste to perform in the White House (Washington D.C.,USA 2007) and in the continent of Antarctica (2012).
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