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UMS Playlist: “Bachs” & “Beethovens” of Indian Classical Music

This post is a part of a series of playlists curated by UMS staff, artists, and community. Check out more music here.
ManganiyarSeduction-CommunityPlaylist-FMA
Photo: The Manganiyar Seduction performances kick off University of Michigan “India in the World” theme semester on October 26-27, 2013.

“India has emerged on the world scene in entirely new ways: as one of the world’s most vibrant economies; a key player in geopolitics; the world’s largest democracy; home to the world’s largest “middle class”; the site of one of the world’s largest and most vibrant film industries; a contributor to global trends in art and aesthetics; and “home” to well-established and significant immigrant communities around the world, including the United States.” So begins the description of this winter’s “India in the World” U-M theme semester.

While The Manganiyar Seduction (a “seduction of the spirit” that begins quietly with a solitary desert fiddle, but builds to an ecstatic eruption of sound, light, and color) highlights the folk music tradition of desert musicians from Rajasthan, India, we asked John Churchville, member of Ann Arbor-based Indian classical music ensemble Sumkali, to highlight his favorite Indian classical music picks.

Take a listen to his playlist on Spotify:

johnchurcheville-200x200John Churchville is the founder and tabla player for Indian fusion group Sumkali. He is also the Music director at Go Like The Wind School in Ann Arbor and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in World Music Performance fromCalifornia Institute of the Arts. He is currently persuing his Masters in Music Education degree at the U of M. He hosts a monthly Indian Music Night at Crazy Wisdom Tearoom downtown Ann Arbor and is the music director for the Ann Arbor Kirtan spiritual chanting group is the founder and tabla player for Indian fusion group Sumkali. He is also the Music director at Go Like The Wind School in Ann Arbor and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in World Music Performance fromCalifornia Institute of the Arts. He is currently persuing his Masters in Music Education degree at the U of M. He hosts a monthly Indian Music Night at Crazy Wisdom Tearoom downtown Ann Arbor and is the music director for the Ann Arbor Kirtan spiritual chanting group

What did you think about this playlist? Share your thoughts or song suggestions in the comments below.

[LISTENING GUIDE] Improvised Classical Indian Music – Zakir Hussain & Masters of Percussion

Editor’s Note: UMS is presenting Zakir Hussain & Masters of Percussion on Thursday April 12th. Zakir Hussain is the pre-eminent classical tabla virtuoso of our time. Masters of Percussion, an outgrowth of Hussain’s memorable tours with his father, the legendary Ustad Allarakha, has enjoyed successful tours in the West since 1996.

While there is a set program for this concert, no two performances of Indian classical music are ever the same. Zakir Hussain explains, “The thing about Indian art is that it’s based in improvisation. You take an idea and then you expand it in a spontaneous manner. It’s difficult to tie it down to ‘Okay, so many things will happen’, because you never know what idea will emerge, and what that would lead to, and where it will go. But the fact is that the musicians who are on stage are the best in their genre. They are considered great masters where they come from. So one thing that is for sure is that the music will be of very high quality.”

The following listening guide, curated by Meeta Banjerlee, provides an overview of Indian classical music and is a good representation of the style of music that will be played at the upcoming performance.

Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia: Deepchandi (Bansuri):  

Ustad Zakir Hussain: The Great Indian Desert (Tabla)

Pandit Ravi Shankar & Philip Glass: Passages (Sitar and Orchestra)

Pandit Ravi Shankar: Rag Rasia (Sitar)

Ustad Shahid Parvez: Dhun Bhairavi (Sitar)

Pandit Nikhil Banerjee: Raga Malkauns (Sitar)

http://youtu.be/Ldfk_2yk7AA

Pandit Ram Narayan: Raag Jogiya (Sarangi)

Pandit Ram Narayan:  Raag Darbari (Sarangi)

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan: Raga Bahar (Sarod)

Ustad Rashid Khan: Thumri (Vocal)

— Meeta Banerjee began learning the sitar at the Detroit Institute for Indian Music in 1989. She has performed all over Michigan in venues such as the Detroit Institute of Arts, Ann Arbor Book Festival, and the North American Bengali Conference. In 2005, she was invited as a featured artist for the Michigan Pops Orchestra’s “Pops Around the World.” She is a member of the local Indian fusion music group Sumkali and is a University of Michigan alum.