Roopa Panesar in Chicago for rare performance

Roopa Panesar
Roopa Panesar

CHICAGO: Considered one of the finest sitar players to emerge on the Indian music scene in recent years, England’s Roopa Panesar will perform at Millennium Park in Chicago on September 9 at 5 am in the morning.

This is part of the 19th Annual World Music Festival Chicago and is slated from September 8-24 at different places in the city and is produced by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. This city-wide, multi-venue, eleven-day festival has attracted over 650,000 concert goers and has presented more than 650 artists and ensembles from over 80 countries since it began in 1999.

Roopa has received accolades from peers and audiences alike for her exceptionally soulful style of playing and the emotional depth of her sound have captivating audiences far and wide. Her work has been lauded by many eminent musicians in the world of Indian classical music.

This autumn, the Bristol UK-based Asian Arts Agency is to present this superb young artist and teacher in a rare collaboration with two gifted accompanists – tabla player Nitin Mitta and percussionist Pirashanna Thevarajah.

Her onstage presentation is unusual for a sitar soloist in that she performs with not one but two accompanists. Even more remarkably, on this September tour, one – percussionist Pirashanna Thevarajah – hails from the south, while the other – tabla player Nitin Mitta – is from the more customary northern Indian tradition.

Roopa released her debut album Khoj in 2011. She has toured extensively in the UK and Europe, performing at numerous venues and festivals. Touring India for the first time in 2014 introduced her to vibrantly receptive audiences in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.

Pirashanna Thevarajah is a senior disciple of Mridanga Vidwan Sri. M. Balachandar. A versatile performer, he is among the few percussionists of his generation to master such varied Indian percussion instruments as the mridangam, kanjira, ghatam and morsing, as well as the art of konnakol (spoken rhythm).

He has collaborated and performed with many of the world’s foremost Indian classical and contemporary musicians, including Pandit Ravi Shankar, Anoushka Shankar, Dr M. Balamuralikrishna, Mandolin U. Shrinivas,Talvin Singh, and many more.

Nitin Mitta, based in New York, is one of the most sought after tabla players of his generation.
Apart from being a dynamic soloist, he is a highly sought-after accompanist who has performed with some of India’s most celebrated Hindustani classical musicians, including Pandit Jasraj, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Pandits Rajan and Sajan Mishra, Pandit Janardan Mitta, Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Pandit Budhaditya Mukherjee, Ustad Shahid Parvez and Ustad Nishat Khan, to name a few.

Surendra Ullal

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