Adam Duncan & Ravi Singh
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Adam Duncan & Ravi Singh

Band World Jazz


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The best kept secret in music


"Cultural group strives to keep Indian arts alive for youth"

A new Winnipeg cultural group is aiming to keep traditional Indian arts alive among its youth.
Gharana Arts, formed by representatives of the Indo-Canadian community here in the city, will present its first event, an evening of classical Indian music, on Friday.
"Our focus is to bring an awareness of classical Indian music, dance, art and literature, particularly to our young people of Indian origins," says Gharana Arts president Ravi Singh.
"Many of them have lost touch with their roots. so through concerts like this we want to give them some awareness of Indian traditions and, hopefully, interest them in classical Indian arts."
Gharana Arts is a not-for-profit group that includes Winnipeggers from the north, south and west Indian communities, as well as East Africa.
The organization is named after a Hindi-Urdu word, gharana, which means family. And it is through families, Singh explains, that music, dance and other arts have been passed down through the generations in India. The organization's first concert, titled An Evening of Sarod and Tabla, replicates the traditional intimate setting and format of a classical Indian recital.
Instead of an auditorium or hall, the concert will take place in the ballroom at the Royal Crown Banquet and Convention Centre.
"We want to create a similar experience for the audience as they would find at a classical show in India," Singh says. "The audience is up close to the artists, so that the musicians can speak to them throughout the show."
The concert features Ranajit Sengupta, an acclaimed musician and composer from Calcutta. He plays the sarod, a stringed instrument similar to a sitar and with a mellow guitar sound.
"A sarod is a common instrument in India, but while many kids of Indian background here in the city may have heard of it, many do not know what it looks like or sounds like," says Singh.
Singh himself will accompany Sengupta on north Indian drums, called tabla. Singh, who lives in Winnipeg and was born in Trinidad, studied at the India School of Dance Music and Theatre here in the city. In 2003, he was awarded a senior arts fellowship from the Shastri-Indo Canadian Institute to study in India under a famed tabla maestro.
Sengupta and Singh will also lead a free workshop today where they will discuss Indian music theory and instruments, such as the sarod, and how they compare to western instruments like the guitar.
"Mr. Sengupta has a great deal of experience with jazz and playing with guitarists," Singh explains. "Anyone is welcome to come. We are trying to reach a younger, western music audience, to expose them to the instrument (sarod)."
- By Cheryl Binning


Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


ADAM DUNCAN, born in 1979, started playing music at a very young age of six. He has explored many musical realms and has continued his exploration with a degree in composition from the University of Ottawa. INDIAN CLASSICAL MUSIC (ICM) Adam Duncan has sat on stage with the greatest living sitarist of our generation. Adam Duncan taught himself to play the sitar in 2002, and then by streak of luck, met Ustad Shahid Parvez. Ustad Shahid Parvez is a world renowned sitarist and is hailed as possibly the greatest sitarist ever. Fortunately enough, Adam has been learning from Ustadji for the past five years and now. Adam has also had the good fortune of performing for Ottawa’s High Commissioner of India. He was also the Sitar School of Toronto’s Ottawa administrator for over 4 years, and has organised workshops with some of the world’s most acclaimed ICM artists through his own Ottawa Guitar and Sitar school.

RAVI S.K. SINGH was born in Trinidad and began his studies in Tabla with Hem Mathur in 1993, at the India School of Dance Music And Theatre in Winnipeg, Canada. Through the school, he participated in events such as Folklorama, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra Children’s Concert Series and the 1999 Pan Am Games.
Ravi moved to Halifax in 2001 to complete his Masters from Dalhousie University. In Nova Scotia he performed for the High Commissioner of India, as well as for the Halifax Multicultural Festival.
In 2003 Ravi Singh was awarded the Senior Arts Fellowship from the Shastri-Indo Canadian Institute to study in India under the guidance of famed tabla maestro, Pundit Kumar Bose. Ravi has performed solo in Assam, India and most recently with Sarod artist Ranajit Sengupta in Winnipeg.