Internationally known Indian tabla musician to perform at RIT
Grammy winner Sandeep Das hopes international sounds build bridges
Sandeep Das, a Grammy-winning musician and internationally known master of the Indian tabla, will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 14, at Rochester Institute of Technology.
The concert, “Delhi to Shiraz,” will be in Ingle Auditorium and is free and open to the public.
Das is the founder of Harmony and Universality through Music (HUM), a nonprofit organization in India that promotes global understanding through music performance and provides learning opportunities and scholarships for visually impaired children with artistic potential.
Nominated for Grammy awards in 2005 and 2009, he won a Grammy for Best World Music Album in 2017 for his collaboration with cellist Yo-Yo Ma for “The Silk Road Ensemble–Sing Me Home.”
And he has performed with numerous symphonies and orchestras around the world, including those in New York City, Boston, and Chicago.
“The tabla makes an incredible sound, unlike any other drum,” he said. “This instrument has a soul. It almost speaks a human language.”
The concert will demonstrate the collaboration between Indian classical/semi classical and Persian music. It will feature voice as well as tabla, santoor, sarangi, and bansuri, some of the most iconic instruments in the Middle East and India.
School of Performing Arts Director Erica Haskell expects the concert will draw students from the sizable Indian community on campus—which includes more than 800 international students from India attending RIT this year—as well as from the greater Rochester area.
Das started playing the tabla when he was 6 years old.
“There was a complaint from my school and my father was called into the principal’s quarters because I was constantly tapping my hands on the desks,” Das said. “I stopped tapping my hands, but started tapping with my feet. So my father went out and bought me a tabla. They say you don’t choose an instrument, the instrument chooses you.”
Das said people who attend the concert will leave feeling happy (“I have a money back guarantee,” he jokes), and he’s grateful they will be supporting live music.
“What I’m purely hoping to accomplish at any concert is for them to see the sheer joy, love, and happiness that we have, without any concerns about who we are, what our given names are, and where we come from,” he said. “Sharing, caring, and loving is what I’m hoping to share.”
Adheesh Ankolekar, a second-year microelectronic engineering major from the Rochester suburb of Pittsford, looks forward to the concert. He is president and last year co-founded RIT Awareness in Music (AIM), dedicated to fostering musical awareness of Indian and South Asian classical styles of music to the RIT community.
“There’s no limit to the breadth of knowledge that exists as far as music goes,” Ankolekar said. “I’ve been fortunate to have grown up surrounded by family and a community that shared elements of my culture. Because of that, I feel I’ve developed an appreciation of the culture and tradition that my family comes from. It’s really nice that opportunity is here for me to experience. And for him to share his knowledge and passion is what I’m incredibly excited about.”
On Saturday, Das will present a master class/workshop titled, “Rhythm of Life: Skills for a Musician,” where he will work with RIT students, including members of the AIM ensemble.
Das has performed in Rochester in the past, and has even visited the RIT campus. His daughter, Sonakshi Das, is a second-year business student at RIT
“We love the campus,” he said.