Posts filed under ‘Asian music’

Round Out Your Week with a Little World Fusion: See What Transpires When Japanese Folk Music Meets Jazz with the Tomoko Omura Quartet: April 26th, Thursday @ 8:30 p.m.

Jazz violinist Tomoko Omura is an artist with a mission. “I want to push the barriers of jazz violin” she urges, recognizing a pronounced absence of string players when it comes to the achievement of true stardom in the world of jazz. Still a young developing artist in the early stages of her career, already she has been haled by the likes of “The Strad” magazine as a creative genius, moving beyond the stylistic advancements made by even the great Stepahnie Grapelli himself. Her latest artistic venture, entitled Roots, involves the fusion of Japanese traditional music and jazz, the music from which will be featured at her Thursday night performance at Ryles with the Tomoko Omura Quartet. As with her earlier project, the “Visions”  cd (2008), Omura shares her own highly innovative, leading-edge original works or arrangements, showcasing her ulta-modern interpretative skills and compositional techniques. However, even though she is truly an experimental jazz artist in her own right, one can still notice the influences of her earlier classical music training which remain ever-present throughout all of her compositions, as cleverly constructed improvisations are well balanced against solidly structured harmonies.  With respect to Omura’s playing style, she is one of a tiniest minority of violinists attempting to solidly establish the presence of standard jazz idioms within her performances not normally associated with a string instrument. So, why not come and see what this exciting young jazz musician and her quartet have to bring to the genre, this Thursday night at Ryles.



Tomoko Omura developed an affinity for jazz early on during her training as a classical violinist. As a young music student attending Yokohama National University, she was one of a very few studying the instrument to take a serious interest in this particular genre. Eager to develop a career in jazz, she came to the United States to study at the Berklee College of Music where she graduated sums cum laude. During her tenure there, she became the very first string major ever to receive the coveted Roy Hanes award for jazz performance. Currently, she is enjoying a well accomplished professional career as a jazz composer and performer, having been featured in both The Strad and Strings magazines. In addition to her numerous recording credits, she is in constant demand as a stage performer, either as a soloist, leading her own small ensembles or as part of various other jazz groups, appearing regularly at top clubs and other major venues and events around New England and in New York City, as well. She also continues to perform in her native Japan where she was a part of J-Pop superstar, Mai Kuraki’s hit song entitled “Be With U”.







Event Details:

When: April 26th, Thursday @ 8:30 p.m.

Where: Ryles Jazz Club  (Mainstage)

Admission: $10.00 (Purchase Online)

               Restaurant Menu

More Info: 617-876-9330                       


April 22, 2012 at 6:22 pm Leave a comment

Experience the Vision of Beauty and Drama that is Classical Indian Dance at Its Very Best with Priyadarshini Govind: April 22nd, Sunday (4:00 – 6:00 p.m.)

Priyadarshini Govind (video)

Priyadarshini Govind is considered to be among the best if not the best in the world at her craft. Performing since the age of 16, she has pushed the art form of Bharatnatyam, one of the oldest styles of classical Indian dance, forward with her progressive approach to both technique and expression. The genre began as a part of the religious rites performed for deities worshiped in Hindu temples over 2000 years ago. Built around an artistic vision of seemless unity between dance movements, often precisely rhythmic in character, and highly expressive drama, this particular style of movement  presents itself as a true challenge to even the most accomplished dancer. It is the their job to achieve an exact balance between whats refered to as the “nritta” or manner of movement that emphasizes purely technique and the “nrithya” which is focused upon the dramatic aspects of dancing.  The latter is achieved through employment of a specified series of techniques associated with abhinaya, an Indian form of artistic expression. These include mudras (sacred gestures), mime, facial expressions, and body movements.    

As a true master of Bharatnatyam, Govind sums up her artistic role thusly, “Dance is such a complete line with visuals, poetry, drama, music … You use your whole body to communicate all of this”. She considers her connection with the audience of utmost importance, aiming to virtually transport them into her world with her as she performs, wherever she happens to be artistically at any given moment.  Although Govind considers the dramatic aspects of her dancing as more personally fulfilling, her technique is most impressive nonetheless. One can truly appreciate her sharpness of body line, intriguing footwork sequences, and overall flexibility, physical extension, and control. Her sense of expression is very precise, intense, and down to earth. No phoniness here. She can change character seamlessly at the drop of a hat and no emotion, idea, or concept seems too abstract for her to handle, dramatically speaking. In keeping with her artistically progressive outlook, she often chooses to portray modern up-to-date concepts, which are unique to her own personal dance repertoire. Govind manages to effectively communicate a vast array of varying emotions within in a variety of differing dramatic scenarios, all during a single performance, literally mesmerizing audiences with her theatrical skill in the process. Her visit to Boston presents a rare opportunity indeed for all of us in the area to experience the ultimate in classical Indian dance.

Priyadarshini Govind  began dancing in the Bharatnatyam style as a young child. In fact by the age of nine she had begun training with the great masters of her native India. Exceptionally talented, she continues to enjoy an international career of the highest order earning herself the most coveted title of “Kalaimamani” in honor of her artistic achievements. You can read more about her many accomplishments here.







Event Details:

When: April 29th, Sunday (4:00 – 6:00 p.m.)

Where: MIT (Kresge Auditorium)

Tickets: $30.00 (General Admission) / $15.00 (MITHAS Members) / Free (MIT Students)

           Online Purchase


More Info: / 617-258-7971

(Area Restaurants)


April 15, 2012 at 2:10 am Leave a comment

Join One Very Special Group of Dedicated and Passionate World Musicians in Their Celebration of Earth Day: Help Some of the Best Flutists on the Planet to Save It

The Playing for the Planet series is now in its 6th installment and still going strong!!! 
As you are probably already well aware, Earth Day is all about honoring our precious environment. In this particular concert setting it is more specifically about reversing the global warming trend and the ghastly havoc it is wreaking upon our environment at this very moment. Yikes!!! This event is part of a very special performance series  that has been successfully joining great world music with a great world cause for over two years now.  At this point, I am going to let the creator of this highly important series describe this musical Earth Day celebration to you  in his own words, as he has already so beautifully done so: “Playing For The Planet: World Flutes Against Climate Change” was conceived as a way for these creative musicians to contribute to the urgent struggle against global warming. Because the climate problem recognizes no national boundaries, the artists represent musical styles from three different parts of the globe. Steve Gorn, Elizabeth Reian Bennett, John Tyson, and Miyuki Tsurutaini and their accompanists may present different melodic and rhythmic concepts, but they share key musical values: listening, honesty, creativity, and respect. And, of course, all three artists and their accompanists are committed to raising awareness of the potentially devastating effects of global warming. Their choice of beneficiary,, is focused on building global consensus on reduction of atmospheric CO2 levels — action which climatologists agree is necessary to avoid catastrophic outcomes. It’ll be an incredible evening of  powerful music- from some of the finest musicians in New England and the world.”–Warren Senders. 
Playing for the Planet” will be:
 Steve Gorn (with Samir Chatterjee, tabla) This bansuri virtuoso has literally created a genre all his own by effectively combining a classical Indian sound with that of other Western and world music genres in such a way that it speaks with a familiar universal appeal to audiences the world over. He has studied with the greatest music masters of India and gone on to establish himself as a performer and recording artist of international renown. He has collaborated with the music world’s biggest and brightest stars including Paul Simon, Anglique Kidjo, Krishna Das, Paul Winter, and Deepak Chopra, to name a few. He has  also participated in the recording of Grammy nominated or winning recordings and has appeared on the soundtrack of an Oscar-winning documentary film as well. (Visit his website)          

 Renaissonics – This energetic and upbeat group of Renaissance music specialists are considered to be among the “best of the best” of early music ensembles. They have done much to popularize the music of this period by infusing it with a renewed sense of energy and excitement, largely through their highly improvisational performance style. Still, in spite of it all, their Renaissance period repertoire is presented in only the most authentic manner, thus remaining true to its ancient roots. Each and every member of the group has earned themselves international merit as a soloist and, as a unit, they have performed overseas in France as well as  with Michael York of Hollywood fame, the Sumaj Chasquis ensemble of Bolivia,  renown jazz artist Bob Moses, and the well-known Latin band Sol Y Canto. They also contributed to the soundtrack of a Ken Burns documentary for PBS. The Rennaissonics currently serve as resident ensemble for the International Early Dance Institute, as well as the Killington Vermont Shakespeare Festival. (Visit their website

Elizabeth Reian Bennett – As the truest of shakuhachi virtuosos, this Tufts University music professor has earned the most prestigious title of Grand Master of her instrument, an honor she earned as the result of years of extensive training in the art of Japanese traditional music. Not only is she one of a very few Westerners to ever have received such schooling, but she is the first female ever to have attain a professional career as a shakuhachi player. Known throughout the world for her impeccable technique, she was considered to be the very best in all of Japan for over 30 years. Although Reian Bennett is no doubt considered a leading authority on traditional playing styles, as is evident in her exquisite renditions of Japanese monk songs and classical chamber music, she also experiments with her own  improvisations and various modern world fusion genres.            


In October of 2009, I had the fortune of attending an earlier concert, the first, also put on by Mr. Senders for the same wonderful cause, this time in recognition of “International Climate Change Awareness Day.” As an ardent lover of world music, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire evening. Here is a summary of some of the highlights of that event, complete with photos. As I have said so many times before, it is truly a wonderful thing when world music can be employed as a catalyst in support of global well-being in any form. Kudos to Mr. Senders for giving us, the audience, yet another opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful project, complete with such exquisite music!

Event Details:

All proceeds of this event go to benefit the mission of

When: Saturday, May 19th @ 7:00 p.m. 

Where: Emmanuel Baptist Church (Boston)

Tickets: $20.00 (General Admission) (Online purchase) / $15.00 (Seniors and Students) (Online purchase)

Advance purchase options for tickets are available until 3:00 p.m. on the day of the concert   

More Info: 781-396-0734 OR OR Facebook

(Area Restaurants)

April 7, 2012 at 6:16 pm Leave a comment

Follow Along with Vocal Sensation Kiran Ahluwalia as She Takes Ancient Indian Musical Traditions to a Whole New Level: November 20th, Sunday @ 9:00 p.m.

With her exquisitely lyrical, yet emotionally charged vocal style, international singing star Kiran Ahluwalia has been intriguing and captivating  audiences worldwide with her own originally composed versions of traditional ghazals and Punjabi folk songs. Her compositions have been known to possess a distinct unearthly quality, making them all the more compelling. Coming to Canada from India, as a child, Ahluwalia was naturally drawn to more “serious” music normally thought to be far to sophisticated for someone her age. In fact by the age of 7 she was actually capable of singing ghazals, despite their characteristically poetic lyrics of advanced literary quality centered around the most passionate of subjects. Naturally following her destiny to become a classical musician, she studied diligently for 10 years under the tutelage of her Indian mentor and soon was on the rise to fame. In addition to her popularity as a performer on the international stage, she has also achieved monumental success as a composer, eventually becoming a key factor in the developement of the ghazal as an evolving art form. Ahluwalia loves to embrace the challenge of effectively blending diverse musical elements together that would otherwise appear to be totally incompatible. Her compositional style thus lends itself naturally to that of world fusion and she incorporates a wide range of styles and elements from various cultures into her finished products including: Portuguese fado guitara, sub Saharan percussion, Celtic fiddle, Pakistani qawwali vocals, the rhubab of Afghanistan, and African blues, to name a few. Although she definitely brings a contemporary flair to her own originally composed ghazals and Punjabi folk songs, it is her intention to create music that is progressive yet still somewhat characteristic of its old original style and therefore appealing to various generations of listeners both young and old, and thanks to its globally diverse nature, from various regions of the globe as well.

Kiran Ahluwalia has enjoyed success as an award-winning recording artist for the past decade. Starting in 2001, her cd entitled “Kashish Attraction” was nominated for the prestigious JUNO award and just two years later her release “Beyond Boundaries” was a winner. Yet again in 2005, she received another JUNO nomination for her cd “Wanderlust”. In 2009 she won top honors in the highly prestigious Songlines Music Awards contest in the newcomer category.  As a result of her world fusion interests Ahluwalia has formed successful performance partnerships with some of the leading names in the music industry representing a wide range of genres including classical, jazz, indigenous folk, and electronica. Her latest  collaborative effort, featuring flavorings of African blues, is a new cd release entitled “Aam Zameen” on which she performs with Malian superstars Tinnariwen and another international success, the band Terakraft. Ahluwalia’s audience at Johnny D’s will be both intrigued and inspired, to be sure, as she shares her latest groundbreaking interpretations of Indian folk song genres.



Event Details:

21+ (In some cases minors can attend with an adult and a dinner table reservation – please call and inquire)
When: November 20th, Sunday @ 9:00 p.m.

Where: Johnny D’s Uptown (Somerville)

Tickets: $12.00  (Online purchase highly recommended – $3.00 fee)

                           Dinner/Appetizer  Menu

More Info: 617-776-2004 OR 617-800-9720          

November 6, 2011 at 7:09 pm Leave a comment

Spend a Very Special Evening with India’s Highly Revered Sitarist Master Sri Shujaat Khan: November 13th, Sunday @ 4:00 p.m.

Sri. Sujaat Khan is quite possibly northern India’s most highly regarded classical musician of this era. And it should come as no surprise as he comes from a long rich ancestry of India’s most highly-prized musicians, going back as far as 400 years or so. The Khan family established the most prestigious Imdadkhani gharana sitar school which has thus far produced seven generations of players, each of whom has made a monumental developmental impact upon the art of southeastern Asian classical music. Sujaat’s father, the late Ustad Vilayat Khan, is heralded as an absolute musical icon to this day. The younger Khan, also a virtuoso vocalist of great renown, is most known for his ability to bring a distinctive “singing-like” quality to the sound of his instrument, a style referred to as gayaki ang. His instinctive sense of rhythm allows him to improvise in a most intriguing manner, astonishing the crowd every time. He has most definitely firmly established his very own original trademark classical style.

Already performing his own concerts at the tender age of six, Sri. Sujaat Khan has gone on to share both his singing and playing talents on stages of all of the major entertainment venues throughout his native India to many of those located abroad including Carnegie Hall (NYC), Royce Hall (Los Angeles), Royal Albert Hall (London), and Congress Hall (Berlin). One of the high points of his touring career thus far was his participation in 50th year celebration of India’s independence. He travled the US as a featured artist, eventually being honored as the repesentative performer from India in a special United Nations concert held at Geneva’s renowned Assembly Hall. He is a multi-award winner on both a national and international scale and was nominated for a Grammy as a participant in the 2004 world fusion recording “Rain” by the Ghazal Ensemble. He has demonstrated his musical versitility in collaborative performances with the world most renown musicians from New Age star Karsh Kale to classical virtuoso Usted Rashid Khan. As a recording artist, Sri. Sujaat Khan’s output has reached over 60 cds, one of which made’s “100 Greatest World Music Albums of All Time” list.

This world class virtuoso has already taken local audiences by storm. In the year 2000 his performance was  named by the Boston Herald as one of the “top 25 up-comming cultural events for the year”. Now he returns to the area for what promises to be a hugely successful repeat performance. 







Event Details: 

This concert is a part of the South Asian MITHAS series.

When: November 13th, Sunday @ 4:00 p.m.

Where: MIT (Wong Auditorium)


Tickets may be purchased online

MITHAS members / MIT students (Free) 

General admission / Non-members ($30.00)

Seniors ($20.00)

Non-MIT students ($10.00)

More Info: (website) OR (email)

(Area Restaurants)                           

November 5, 2011 at 4:48 pm Leave a comment

Experience the Ancient Folk Art of Korea in an Electrifying Spectacle of Percussion and Dance with the Ensemble SamulNori: November 11th, Friday @ 8:00 p.m.

SamulNori is an ensemble with a mission. They are steadfastly dedicated to the preservation and promotion of ancient Korean folk music and dance, most specifically with respect to the 5,000 year old genre of nongak. As Korea’s #1 folk ensemble, the group has already enjoyed great success in reaching their goal, managing to capture the favor of countless audiences both in their native homeland and in numerous countries abroad. Their performance consists of purely percussive music played on gongs and drums and shamanistic ceremonial dances in which the participants create unique and engaging displays of swirling visual patterns with long ribbons and feather plumes worn upon their heads. Under the most capable leadership of changgo master Kim Duk-SooSamulNori adds a whole new dimension of musical expression and intrigue to nongak an other centuries old traditional Korean folk genres, through the incorporation of new and original rhythmic patterns, sharp musical contrasts, and dramatic crescendos that rise at times from periods of complete silence only to culminate in passages of feverish musical activity. The complex and challenging choreography displayed within the dances only continues to add to the excitement of the overall performance as the artists showcase their highly  athletic leaps and spins, while playing their instruments simultaneously. The rave reviews attest not only to the quality of the showmanship but also to the production’s totally unique character as well.

Nongak is considered to be the fundamental basis  of all of  Korean culture as a whole. Although the genre is generally performed by percussionists who play and dance simultaneously, the members of SamulNori opt to present only the music so that it receives a maximum of artistic focus. The music itself is often referred to as farmer’s band and was originally performed as part of the harvest celebration throughout rural communities. Twice a year, in May when seeding their crops and again in October when reaping them, the villagers would celebrate 24/7 with group singing and dancing which involved hand clapping and foot stomping of specially prescribed rhythmic patterns. SalmulNori’s repertoire is characteristic not only of nongak, but also of shamanistic celebratory and religious prayer music, as well as additional ancient Korean folk styles. The group’s name actually translates to ” the playing of the four things”, in this case, referring to the quartet of musicians which serves as the core group of performers for most of the show. The “four things” more specifically include the K’kwaenggwari, ching, changgo, and buk.

SamulNori has developed an international reputation in a wide variety aspects. They have toured extensively world-wide appearing at major concert venues, joined artistic forces with some of world’s top musicians, recorded both cds and DVDs, and have also authored their own publication, while being featured in others. To attend one of their performances  is not only an opportunity to experience Korean folk art at its finest, but also to walk way with a most valuable education in Korean folk culture in general. 



Event Details:

When: November 11th, Friday @  8:00 p.m.

Also free lecture/demonstration: November 12th (1:00 – 2:30 p.m.) 

To be held @ Harvard University’s Holden Chapel in Harvard Yard  

Where: Sanders Theatre (Harvard Square)

Tickets: $28.00 – $40.00 (Purchase info)

More Info: 617-876-4275

(Area Restaurants)            


October 26, 2011 at 1:59 am Leave a comment

See What Transpires When Carnatic Indian Music Traditions Meet Jazz in an Evening with World Fusion Artists Garuda: September 19th, Monday @ 7:30 p.m.

Berklee professor Bruno Raberg has been an accomplished scholar in the area of South Indian Classical, or Carnatic, music traditions for over a decade. As as both a talented performer and composer, he has concentrated his efforts as of late towards the expression of this most ancient genre in a jazz setting, which is then further enhanced with African and other world music embellishments. Raberg showcases this unique brand of world fusion jazz through his own original compositions as well as re-arrangments of traditional Carnatic works which feature the mridangam, a drum widely used in South Indian music repertoire. His overall compositional style is largely improvisational, a characteristic which he firmly believes lies at the very center of musical development in all its various forms.

Such sets the musical stage for Raberg’s latest musical venture, world fusion ensemble Garuda. The group stands as an explicit expression of his latest compositional developments as they relate to this new and rather intriguing version of jazz. This highly accomplished acoustic and electric bassist has earned himself international notoriety both as a performer and a composer since arriving in America from Sweden 30 years ago. Performing or recording with such well-known names as Jerry Bergonzi, George Garzone, Sam Rivers, and Mick Goodrick, to name a few, Raberg has, in the process, participated in the making of no less than 36 cds, often as a featured artist. His highly valued contributions to the evolvement of contemporary jazz have been duly noted in such well-regarded publications as Jazz USA, Double Bassist, Jazz Matazz, and All About Jazz. He has also expanded his horizons as an educator, sharing his knowledge in classroom settings overseas in Europe, Mexico, and Central America. In addition to leading Garuda, he acts as director to the ensembles the Lifeline Quartet, the Bruno Raberg Nonet, and Ascensio, as well. Joining him as Garuda are collegues Fugan Dineen (mridangam, drums, and composition), Noriko Terada (percussion), Andrew Halchak (soprano/alto saxophone), Jussi Reijonen (guitar, fretless guitar, and oud), and Duncan Wickel (violin). (Additional Bios) So whether you view Garuda’s output as Carnatic Indian music in a new light or as modern jazz with a new twist, these world fusion jazz pioneers are guaranteed to provide you with a totally unique and enlightening musical experience.  






Event Details:

When: September 19th, Monday @ 7:30 p.m.

Where: David Friend Recital Hall  (Back Bay)

Admission: Free

More Info: 617-266-1400

(Area Restaurants)       

September 15, 2011 at 4:51 am Leave a comment

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