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Spirit & Sound: (Un)Covering Religion in India - Spring Ragas on Sitar
Thu, April 20, 2017, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM EDT
Featuring a Hindustani Classical Sitar Concert by:
Pandit Kushal Das, Sitar
Pandit Ramdas Palsule, Tabla
And conversation to follow with Columbia Journalism School's
Covering Religion Seminar
Spring is here, and what better way to celebrate than with raga music? The evening features a sitar recital by Pandit Kushal Das and Pandit Ramdas Palsule, leading exponents of the sitar and the tabla in the world, performing rarely heard Spring ragas. Pandit Kushal Das rarely performs in NYC. This is a fantastic opportunity for connoisseurs and beginners!
In the discussion following the concert, some of the students from Columbia Journalism's Covering Religion Seminar, who have just returned from a reporting trip in India, will engage with Pandit Kushal Das and his experiences on performing religious and secular music. They will reflect on their own understanding of music’s role in Indian society and Indian religiosity. How has music helped them better understand and unpack Indian life and religiosity? How has music helped them better cover religion?
The concert is hosted and curated by Yogi Trivedi, Adjunct Professor, Columbia Journalism
Religion and Media share an intimate relationship. In India, music has arguably been religion’s primary medium of choice for millennia. Even with the advent of newer forms of media, music has still retained a central role in religious experience and expression.
This concert and discussion reflects on the experiences from a recent trip to India by Columbia Journalism School’s Covering Religion class. Each year Professors Goldman and Trivedi lead a class of students to a different part of the world to see how religion manifests and how it can and should be covered by journalists. The students spend several weeks preparing for the trip before witnessing the role of religion in a particular society.
This year the students traveled to India. They realized that music and religiosity shared a dialectical relationship. Religious experience and expression were still mediated by music despite the advent of newer forms of media. Seasons, festivals, life, death, and even social change are mediated by performance, and more often than not musical experience. Their own journeys as students and journalists were also shaped by music, dance, and theater. As one student put it, music and religion in India sing to each other, sing with each other, and often silently.
In the discussion following the concert, some of the students will engage with Pandit Kushal Das and his experiences on performing religious and secular music. They will reflect on their own understanding of music’s role in Indian society and Indian religiosity. How has music helped them better understand and unpack Indian life and religiosity? How has music helped them better cover religion?
Join us for an intimate Indian classical music performance of Spring Ragas followed by a conversation with Pandit Kushal Das and the students from the Covering Religion class. The discussion will be moderated by Yogi Trivedi, Adjunct Professor, Columbia Journalism.
The Artists and Curator:
Pandit Kushal Das is one of the leading sitar and surbahar players of India. He hails from a family of musicians from Kolkata. He is a top grade musician at All India Radio. His “singing sitar” has become a favorite amongst connoisseurs today. His style is often likened to the Late Pandit Nikhil Banerjee. His ability to play classical, folk, and devotional genres has also earned him great prestige amongst the musician community.
Pandit Ramdas Palsule has been recognized as one of the most senior disciples of tabla maestro Pandit Suresh Talwalkar. He regularly performs around the world with instrumentalists, vocalists, kathak dancers, and as a soloist. He is a guru at the Center for Performing Arts at Pune University and at the newly created Avartan Gurukul in Pune.
Yogi Trivedi is currently an Adjunct Professor at the Journalism School. His latest book, Swaminarayan Hinduism: Tradition, Adaptation, and Identity (2016), is a comprehensive edited volume on the Swaminarayan community. His scholarship is enriched by his training as a lecturer and musical performer of bhakti poetry and classical and devotional North Indian music. He has trained with various internationally acclaimed classical and folk musicians, such as Padma Vibhushan Pandit Jasraj and Gujarati ghazal maestro Purushottam Upadhyaya.
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