Akshara Music Ensemble:
Akshara is a dynamic music ensemble bringing together world music traditions on the rhythmic and modal foundations of Indian classical music. In 2015, Akshara’s Mohana Blues won the ‘Best World Traditional Song’ award at the 13th Annual Independent Music Awards. Along with NYC’s brightest musical talent, Akshara Music Ensemble’s leader and composer, Bala Skandan, presents surprising and delightful interpretations of traditional ragas like Kamboji, Mohana, Gambira Natai and Shanmugapriya arranged for Carnatic, Hindustani, and Western classical and folk instruments.
Bala Skandan: Mridangam (percussion), Konnakkol (vocal percussion) Initiated into the Carnatic percussion art of Mridangam, and the violin at age six, Bala Skandan is a classical Indian music polymath. Having emerged as a respected Mridangam exponent, he has performed with the doyens of Carnatic music, including Shri TV Gopalakrishnan, Shri N Ravikiran, Carnatica Brothers, Bombay Sisters, and has been acknowledged by the New York Times for his “superb musical accompaniment.” As leader of Akshara Music Ensemble in NYC, Skandan’s orginal compositions embrace Hindustani and Carnatic styles, as well as world music traditions. Skandan is a prolific educator in Carnatic music, teaching students in mridangam, kanjira, solkattu, and violin. Skandan has received tutelage under noted Carnatic gurus including, Guru Karaikudi Mani of Chennai (Mridangam), Smt. T Rukmini (Carnatic violin), Shri Seetharama Sharma (Carnatic vocal) and Shri T V Gopalakrishnan (Kanjira).
Max ZT: Hammered Dulcimer Lauded as the “Jimi Hendrix of Hammered Dulcimer” by NPR, and a “Force of nature” by New York Music Daily, Max ZT is an innovator of the hammered dulcimer. Taking his roots from classical Irish folk music, Max has transplanted his compositional techniques to both Senegal, where he studied the Mandinko technique with the Cissoko griot family, and to Mumbai, India, where he received a grant to study under the Santoor maestro Padmavibhushan Pt. Shivkumar Sharma. Max has shared the stage with some of the most influential international musical leaders of the century including Pt. Ravi Shankar, Karsh Kale, Bela Fleck, Victor Wooten, Tinariwen, Jimmy Cliff, and more.
Shivalik Ghoshal comes from a musical family. From the age of seven, Shivalik has been a student of Sree Kinner K. Seen of Punjab gharana since 1989. Kinner-ji’s father, Pandit Lachman Seen, is the gurubhai of the late Ustad Alla Rakha Khan-Saheb. Presently, he is a student of the tabla maestro Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri of the Lucknow gharana since 1997.
Shivalik has had the honour and privilege of accompanying maestros like Pandit Manilal Nag, Smt Girija Devi, Pandit Jasraj, Pandit Phalguni Mitra and Ustad Ali Ahmed Hussain. Last but not least, Shivalik has performed all the tabla drumming in the Oscar winning soundtrack of the 2004 docu-drama, “Born Into Brothels.” In 2013, Shivalik participated in the "The Jungle Book" Musical with Walt Disney Theatrics, working with, Toni-winning theater director Mary Zimmerman, Toni-winning dance choreographer Christopher Gatelli for Broadway's "Newsies” and multi-talented music director Doug Peck who remixed the Jazz based music of the movie with Indian classical instrumentation for the "The Jungle Book” musical that toured in Chicago’s Goodman Theater and Boston’s Huntington Theater, respectively. Currently, he is a part/member of the Raga Renaissance movement in Brooklyn as part of Brooklyn Raga Massive (BRM) community that is dedicated to promoting Indian Classical/Raga based music throughout the NY area.
THIS PROJECT WAS SUPPORTED BY A GRANT FROM PENN TREATY SPECIAL SERVICES DISTRICT
More Information here: http://firemuseumpresents.com/events/akshara-music-ensemble/