Vande Mataram: A Musical Journey Through India
Vande Mataram: A Musical Journey Through India
Celebrate India's 75th anniversary with a concert journeying across the length and breadth of India, exploring the theme of unity in diversity.
Asia Society
April 18, 2022 | 7:00 pm
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Performance details

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Asia Society New York Auditorium
725 Park Ave at 70th Street
New York, NY 10021

About The Performance

Vande MataramA Journey Through India is a concert journeying across the length and breadth of India through the vehicle of music. Sung in more than ten official languages of India, the concert’s theme is about India’s unity in diversity. This concert is copresented with the Consulate General of India, New York.

This musical journey features renowned singer Aruna Sairam, who is joined by noted instrumentalists Tiruvarur Vaidyanathan (mridangam), Rajeev Mukundan (violin), Amit Kavthekar (tabla and ghatam), and Gaurav Mazumdar (sitar). Hailed for her ability to communicate the expressive essence of a song and her superb technical mastery, Sairam sings a Gurbani (hymns in the central text of the Sikhs) with as much ease as she renders a Bengali pop song. She is equally comfortable vocally interpreting the ancient writings of Narsinh Mehta of Gujarat, Kabir, and Gorakhnath. Among her earliest repertoire, she interpreted the work of South Indian composer Thyagaraja and philosopher Purandara Dasa.

The concert is a rich tapestry of India through music and a celebration of India’s seventy-fifth anniversary of independence. 

Artists Bios

Aruna Sairam is one of the most beloved representatives of Indian vocal music. Acclaimed for her distinctive style and deeply moving performances, she has sold out countless concerts both in India and abroad. She is the recipient of several major Indian classical music honors, including the prestigious Padma Shri award.

Sairam received her early lessons in music from her mother Rajalakshmi Sethuraman and was later trained by T. Brinda, a sixth-generation musician of the eminent Court Musicians of Tanjore. Sairam has performed at the Royal Albert Hall of London, Carnegie Hall in New York, Le Theatre de la Ville in Paris, Opera National de Lyons, Royce Hall in Los Angeles, the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music in Morocco, the Oud Festival in Jerusalem, the Rashtrapati Bhavan (the Indian president’s official residence), and the Music Academy in India.

Regarded as an innovator in Indian music, she has performed with various European and African artists, including the Gregorian chant master Dominique Vellard, tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain, Bollywood singer Shankar Mahadevan, mandolin player U. Srinivas, and dancer Chandralekha.

Grammy-nominated virtuoso of the sitar, Gaurav Mazumdar has been performing Indian classical music, one of the world’s most ancient and sacred traditions, in venues across the globe.  Through his performances and educational initiatives, he is a champion of preserving the art form and tradition. Like his guru, the legendary sitarist and composer Ravi Shankar, Mazumdar is committed to expanding his art through cross-cultural exchanges, such as his performance with violinist Daniel Hope, his work with composer Philip Glass, and his collaboration with the Hesse family on the ballet Siddhartha. He is the only Indian artist to have performed at the Vatican. In 2002, he performed at the “Concert for George” for the late George Harrison in London.

Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee and Kalaimamani awardee Tiruvarur Vaidyanathan has shared the stage with established musical performers such as singers Bhimsen Joshi, Ajoy Chakraborty, Shahid Parvez, M. Balamuralikrishna, Aruna Sairam, and Sudha Ragunathan; and instrumentalist Vishwa Mohan Bhatt. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he has organized online performances through his TTVV Trust and TVP School and broadcast more than eighty virtual concerts.

Vaidyanathan’s early training was under his grandfather, Thiruvarur Kunju Iyer, and his uncle, Thiruvarur Nagarajan. He continued under the tutelage of mridangam maestro Karaikudi Mani.

Amit Kavthekar started his study of tabla at the age of six—first with the legendary Alla Rakha and later with Zakir Hussain. Kavthekar has played with many noted Indian classical musicians, including Zakir Hussain, Sivamani, Amjad Ali Khan, Shahid Parvez, Aashish Khan, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Shivkumar Sharma, and Jasraj. Kavthekar has also collaborated with western classical, jazz, and fusion musicians, including the Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra and Sawaari, a band that explores music from different parts of the world.

Carnatic violinist Rajeev Mukundan began taking violin lessons from N. Govindarajan and has been under the guidance of Sangita Kalanidhi Kum. A resident of Kanyakumari for more than a decade and an A-graded artist from All India Radio, Mukundan has traveled extensively, performing with his guru in several duets and accompanying a gamut of highly regarded artists. He has also participated in many unique musical collaborations.

Image: Aruna Sairam / photo courtesy of Asia Society