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Brooklyn Raga Massive

Ragini Ensemble Winter Solstice Celebration

Hero Image for In Concert: Brooklyn Raga Massive

About the Performance

A Winter Solstice/Holiday Celebration with Ragini Ensemble, a gathering of artists illuminating the plurality of the South Asian.

Bandleader and tabla player Roshni Samlal crafts an improvisatory musical narrative that is equal parts a songbook of Indo-Caribbean mythos and dream memory and futurist reframing of the art of the traditional tabla solo. Presenting songs from the deep, personal waters of her Trinidadian childhood enmeshed within percussion-forward electronic beats, Roshni seeks to trace musical threads from the South Asian continental traditions of ghazal, thumri and Bhojpuri folk to their morphed pop and folk iterations across oceans of forgetting and remembering. Joining her will be vocalist, Shweta Pandya, sarangi player, Rohan Misra and oud player, Kane Mathis.

The opening set of the night will feature excerpts from Naina: A Window into the World of Kathak and Thumri by dancer and choreographer Veronica Simas de Souza Rosas. This Kathak piece unveils the intricate art of allusion and gesture as depicted in South Asian miniature paintings, intricately interwoven with eloquent poetic meters, rhythmic cycles, and musical modes.

The two sets are each prismatic interpretations and responses to moments of musical innovation and diasporic departures of 15th-17th centuries around genres of thumri, folk music and miniature paintings.

Roshni Samlal is a New York-based Trinidadian tabla player who has studied within the Farukhbad, Benares and Punjab gharanas or schools of classical percussion. She is a prolific local teacher and performer, both in traditional tabla solo and classical accompanist contexts as well as a variety of jazz and chamber ensembles. Roshni also explores creating sound design landscapes and beat production as a context for presenting tabla solos. She is the lead curator and producer of the Ragini Festival which focuses on spotlighting the work of artists engaged in traditional folk and innovative arts within the further reaches of the South Asian diaspora, focusing on Indo-Caribbean heritage.

Veronica Simas de Souza, a Brooklyn-based kathak dancer, choreographer, and educator, is a disciple of Sunayana Hazarilal, a prominent figure in Kathak dance. Starting her artistic journey with ballet and Peruvian folkloric dances, she later devoted a decade to middle eastern dance, specializing in Egyptian classical and folk styles.

Shweta Pandya is the founder of Sur Sangat LLC, an educational institution that focuses on the teaching and promoting of Indian classical arts and culture. As a teacher at Sur Sangat, she currently teaches both Hindustani vocal and instrumental music to students of all ages.

Rohan Misra is a promising young musician, specializing in the unique Indian bowed instrument called the Sarangi (translation: An instrument with a hundred colors). As the son and disciple of great Sarangi virtuoso Pandit Ramesh Misra, Rohan has inherited many of his father-Guru’s specialties, including tonal quality and aesthetic approach.

Kane Mathis performs on the 21-string Mandinka Harp and the Turkish Oud, Kane Mathis rendering compelling interpretations of these traditional musics. Years of study with generous masters have given Kane a rare opportunity to share these traditions with other cultures. Kane began taking trips to The Gambia, West Africa in 1997 and has continued rigorous study of the Mandinka Kora. Over the past ten years his performances have earned him recognition by the Gambian president, The Gambian minister of culture, and both national television and radio of The Gambia.