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The story of the sitar's introduction into Western musical consciousness is by now a familiar one. When Beatle George Harrison immersed himself in Indian culture and religion, he also introduced the drones and melodic shimmer of the sitar into the Fab Four's recording and championed the music of his mentor, the great Ravi Shankar.

The many traditions of classical Indian music are ancient, however, passed down from guru to disciple. A leading modern exponent of the North Indian Hindustani Maihar Gharana school that Shankar followed is sitarist Indrajit Banerjee.

Banerjee will perform with tabla master Gourisankar at White Horse Black Mountain on Sunday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 advance/$15 door.

Banerjee was born into a musical family, and took early inspiration from his sitarist mother, Manju Banerjee, a disciple of the late Nikhil Banerjee and Santosh Banerjee. Indrajit's initial training began with his maternal grandfather, Bankim Kumar Pal, and continued with Pandit Manilal Nag of Bishnupur Gharana. Later, he undertook intensive training from his uncle, Pandit Kartick Kumar, a senior disciple of Pandit Ravi Shankar.

Indrajit absorbed a strong  foundation for his music, along with a creative individuality. He commands a clear, fluid sweetness in his sitar playing, combined with technical virtuosity and sensitivity. He performs at music festivals in India and around the world.

The tabla, a pair of tuned drums, is an indispensable parter in Hindustani performance practice, and Gourisankar is an expert player. He began studying  at the age of three under the guidance of his father, Sri Shib Shankar, a respected disciple of the late tabla maestro Ustad Keramatulla Khan. Sri Gourisankar is noted for his virtuosity, musicality, and deep grasp of the intricate rhythmic cycles of Indian classical music. He’s conducted many tours of Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the U.S.

 

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