ATMIC VISION  - New Sound Indo-American Fusion -
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ATMIC VISION - New Sound Indo-American Fusion -

Boulder, Colorado, United States | SELF

Boulder, Colorado, United States | SELF
Band World New Age


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Each member of Atmic Vision is stunning in his virtuosity. The music has an indomitable and irrepressible life force, like a dandelion pushing its way through concrete. This is only the beginning of an even more profound capacity to touch audience members with a pureness of joy I no longer thought was possible. Tears rolled down my cheeks several times hearing them play. Each member of Atmic Vision is a master of more than music." - Susan Vaughn, member for 20 years, METROPOLITAN OPERA CHORUS, NYC

"MEETING OF WORLDS & MUSIC, Times of India, November 23, 2008"

When music maestros Muthu Kumar, Paul Erhard and Annada Prasanna Pattanaik saw their kindergarten audience, they wondered if they were in the right place.

This was a small town school in San Luis Valley, Colorado, to conduct a workshop on music. They didn’t quite know what to expect from the tiny tots, till they began to wield their magic with melody and rhythm. The combination of tabla, double bass and flute cast a spell over the children, drawing them to the nuances of Indo-Western music that has raised the trio-Atmic Vision-to a higher level.

Atmic Vision’s tryst with American school kids began in 2004 when Paul Erhard, professor of double bass at the University of Colorado, met Muthu and Butto (as Pattanaik is popularly known) in Bangalore. “I was experimenting with Indian music and felt my musical journey would be complete with more musicians,” says Paul. He invited Muthu, a tabla exponent who has trained under Ustad Allah Rakha, Ustad Zakir Hussain and Pandit Yogesh Shamsi, to join him. Butto, a student of Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia, chipped in with the flute.

Their first album Expanding Horizons prompted S Vaughn, member of the Metropolitan opera in New York to say: “This is only the beginning of an even more profound capacity to touch audiences with a pureness of joy I no longer thought possible.”

The trio’s humility shows when they impart their knowledge. “School kids are never unresponsive,” says Muthu. “After each workshop, kids impatiently want to try the instruments.”

There is, of course, a method to their music. “Our concert has three parts—ragas by Butto, Paul talks about fusion music while I play the tabla and ask kids to clap along,” explains Muthu. Then they move on to bhajans.

Just back from a 40-day whirlwind tour of Chicago, Colorado, Las Vegas and Paris, where Atmic Vision performed at 40 concerts, held 50 workshops in schools and colleges and addressed 7,000 children, Muthu, Paul and Butto are looking forward to their performances on a world stage next year. Till then, they are content in their role as cultural ambassadors, bridging the divide with their ethno-music rhythm in all its purity.

- Leena Mudbidri


Atmic Vision was one of the finest concerts ever performed on the Panida stage. The incredibly beautiful music took me deep within, spoke to the core of my being, moving a part of me that I'm not in touch with enough. But I found that as much as I wanted to remain there, I also didn't want to miss the opportunity to watch the musicians play. All masters of their instruments, their precision was engrossing. Not only was the music mesmerizing, but also the ease, familiarity and the perfection in which the instruments were handled, is something to behold. Foreign to the American eye, the tabla, flute and double bass combination played in the traditional Indian way held the audience in reverence. - K. Bowers, Panida Theatre

"Spellbound throughout"

Spellbound throughout, totally into the music, our audience sprang to its feet for a spontaneous standing ovation. - S. Hazelrig, Director, Hazlerig Music House

"UPBEAT AND DANCING, Colorado Daily, Feb 22, 2005"

Some tracks (Expanding Horizons CD) have an upbeat, dancing feel while others send you off into a space of transient, imagery-filled peacefulness. - Colorado Daily

"THE BEAT HUNT, The Hindu August 23, 2008"

Muthu Kumar's family gave him the musical grounding. To this day, it is Zakir Husain who leads this tabaliya on. Passionate Muthu Kumar: ‘What I learnt from Zakir Husain, in addition to classes, was how to make learning fun for the students. He's one of Bangalore's best-known tabla players and teachers, a part of three bands and has the rare distinction of being taught by both Ustad Allah Rakha as well as Zakir Hussain. Muthu Kumar has been playing tabla since he was five, when fascinated by its sound in the bhajan sessions that were a routine in his mother's Puttaparthi household, he asked for one. Muthu comes from a very musical family: his grandmother Nagammal was a Carnatic musician, his grandfather the famous "Murugada"? directed legendary musical films as "Nandana"?, his brother plays the harmonium, and above all, his mother, keenly interested in music, has always been an inspiration.

Growing up, Muthu would constantly meet musicians who came to Puttaparthi and as he
grew older, he was given charge of hospitality for many of them, including Zakir Husain,
who first told Muthu - when he was in class 12 - that he should find himself a guru. It was three years before Muthu could do that; he dropped a Chartered Accountancy course and on the pretext of visiting friends - went to Bombay to meet Ustad Allah Rakha, one of whose senior students, Nishikanth Barodekar, was a friend. Before he knew what was
happening, Muthu was in front of the Ustad, who asked him to play. After watching his finger work with intense concentration, told him that he needed to "echange his playing
technique" and that he could start lessons immediately. For the next five years, Muthu would go to the master's house thrice a week to attend classes in the garage. This was 1995, and according to Muthu, the "best years that I could possibly have gone to the Master, as this time, till his death on Feb 3, 2000, he had dedicated completely to teaching. He was a wonderful teacher; he gave everything to his students," remembers Muthu, with a faraway look on his face. "His hands would be always counting, counting the bols; he would compose on the spot and ask students to pick it up on the tabla." Muthu had to unlearn everything he had taught himself. He started from scratch and practised ten hours a day. During this time, there was nothing but tabla. In addition to learning, Muthu was also teaching tabla to children at the Amritanandamayi Ashram, where he was given boarding and lodging. He also did around 50 recordings for bhajan albums.

After the Master died, Muthu went to the US for a year to complete his training with "Zakir bhai", who he describes as "my biggest inspiration." Every class was "ike a performance"
and he made the tabla more accessible, but he was also traditional. "What I learnt from him, in addition to classes, was how to make learning fun for the students without compromising
on discipline."

During the year in the US, touring and playing with different types of music - gospel, hip hop, rap, dancehall, techno, funk was so inspiring that he made his first album "Tabla Rap" and also, when he returned, took up fusion and got together with other musicians to play in bands.

Muthu is part of three bands:

ATMIC VISION (, a tabla, bamboo flute, double
bass ensemble, whose first album "Expanding Horizons"? released this year.
nine-member band that includes his wife Priya Kalyanpur, an accomplished singer;

Muthu's word to those interested in music as a career is, "the money is pretty decent, because musicians are required at every level." Muthu has around 60 students in the city,
and also teaches through his website He loves teaching because "seeing a student playing well is great, and I get to strengthen my basics."

Muthu has around 60 students in the city, and also teaches through his website

© Copyright 2000 - 2008 The Hindu

- Kala Krishnan Ramesh


October 3, 2008

"Delightful, soothing, mesmerizing, tranquil, empowering, enlightening and culturally diverse were all words being voiced by the Massari Performing Arts Center audience Wednesday night at Trinidad State Junior College after a two-hour concert performed by Atmic Vision.
It's probably the first time young Trinidad students and maybe their parents too have ever been exposed to classical Indian music. Judging by their responses, they were totally captivated, just like Atmic Vision audiences have been after playing before much larger New York City crowds.
The innovative West-meets-East Indian Classical Fusion Music trio play popular raga-based songs and compositions of India on their double bass, bansuri (bamboo flute) and tabla. The trio has performed at large venues like New York and at Colorado's smallest rural towns. The trio also gets students involved in interactive workshops as they did Wednesday with 200-300 kids at Trinidad Middle School.
The trio is comprised of double bassist Paul Erhard, professor of double bass at the university of Colorado College of Music in Boulder. Since 1999 he has pioneered performing Indian Classical music on the double bass, inspired by the beauty, intricacy and expressive quality of Indian music.
Flutist Annada "Butto" Prasanna Pattanaik is considered one of India's foremost classical bansuri artists who has performed as a soloist throughout India and Asia. He has also toured Europe many times and frequently performs in world music festivals.
Tabla drummer Muthu Kumar has been playing since age 5. He performs and records extensively in India and abroad in a wide variety of musical settings with more than 70 Bhajan, Ghazai, Indian classical and contemporary music recordings. He can be heard on numerous Indian film recordings.
Erhard said the Trinidad Middle School kids were among the best behaved and most receptive and responsive of any group of school kids they had conducted musical workshops for and performed in front of. "The workshop went really well, the kids were so responsive. We asked the kids if they had ever heard anything like this and they said, 'no, no.' Do you like it, 'yes, yes.'"
"The kids were really enticed by the different instruments they were using and the way the sound was being produced, especially the tabla drummer. They really took to him," said Trinidad Middle School Principal Deana Dunford. "Several kids asked some really great questions afterward. They exposed our kids to something culturally they've never been exposed to before."
Dunford said it's her intention to try and bring something culturally different to her students whenever possible so they can learn about diverse cultures. "As I was standing on bus duty outside the building, the kids were coming up to me saying, 'that was wonderful, thank you so much for letting us experience that.'
"Atmic Vision was asking our kids to sing, so they would sing. They were very responsive to Atmic Vision," said Dunford of her students.
This is Atmic Vision's third tour of mostly Colorado schools and venues with other stops in past years in the Northwest. Last year's nine-week tour included Colorado, including three repeat by popular demand engagements at Denver's East High School, Wyoming and a month performing in New York City, Long Island, Staten Island, New Jersey and Connecticut. That East Coast tour included conducting 30 workshops in 16 schools for more than 5,000 kids.
At their workshops, the trio performs, teaches the kids how to play their unusual instruments and instructs them on the intricacies of Indian music. Butto demonstrates how he plays his classical Indian raga notes and musical scale that is so different from the English standard of do, re, fa, so, la, te do. Pretty soon, Erhard says he has the kids singing the Indian note names. Butto then plays the various notes on his flute.
A kid friendly and engaging Muthu takes over to play his tabla and has the kids singing short Indian song phrases to his rhythmic drumbeat. "The kids really get into it wherever we've gone," said Erhard. Muthu said the kids always express curiosity upon their first exposure to Indian rhythms and instruments but then seem to grasp it fairly quickly.
"After the workshops we did last year in New York, the kids would come up to us and say, 'this is the greatest music they had ever heard. These kids all had i-Pods and could listen to anything they wanted and to tell us this was the best music they had ever heard, amazing," said Erhard. "I think it's the chemistry of what we do as a group as well as the multi-cultural dimension of it too."
Erhard said once the students have learned the new note scale, they know how to better follow them at the ensuing Atmic Vision concert.
The group's soothing, tranquil tones are of course, quite in contrast to most of the relatively abrasive and loud hard rock, rap, hip-hop and country music favored by most kids today. "What we do really deals with feeling, good, happy and peaceful," said Erhard. "At first it's curiosity but then they're drawn into it because ultimately they all want to feel peaceful and these kids respond to it. They are in this environment with all of us together." As Erhard noted when one teacher told him after a New York concert, 'they felt your honesty, that you were sincere about what you were doing.'
"We care about the kids and for us, the greatest joy is in seeing the kids smiling," said Erhard. "That's our barometer of whether we have them or not. The younger kids at the (Trinidad) Middle School were really getting into it and telling the older kids to come on, look what we're doing."
Another barometer for Atmic Vision is that they have heard from school officials who say those students who were at a workshop or concert were subsequently heard singing the new Indian songs they had learned for weeks afterward while walking down school corridors. "Something has clicked in them," said Erhard.
The bottom line for this music and this group, said Erhard, is that soothing can and should replace the stress in people's lives. "Our music really takes people down into their hearts and directly into their souls."
The trio next plays in Alamosa and La Jara before it's back to the big city in Denver again.

- By Mike Garrett

"Expanding the Horizons Workshop Feedback"

High School Music Director, Colorado:

"I was so deeply touched by your music emotionally and intellectually. What a rare and wonderful experience the three of you provided for the East High School students. My students came into my office after school so excited about what they heard today. Actually to use the word "excited" is probably an understatement of what they experienced. I also thought that the way you presented things was wonderful and could not be improved upon. The kids were initially drawn in by the brilliant music and then the explanations enhanced the listening experience for them, as did the group activities that actually involved their vocalizing, etc. Thanks again for a fantastic experience."

Math Teacher, a Colorado grade school:

"Thank you for an incredible program. I have never seen students so completely absorbed in a concert or program before. I had students stopping me in the hall all day to tell me how great it was. You had a perfect mix of education, performance and student involvement. As important was the spirit we could feel. There was not only the obvious love and mastery of the music, but the three of you radiated a warmth and peace and caring that I wish I had better words to describe. You truly made an impact on the minds and souls of our students."

Principal of Music, a Music and Arts high school:

"Thank you to Atmic Vision Indian Music Trio for performing at our school. Our students were thrilled to have the opportunity to listen to a combo of flute, tabla and bass. One of our students commented that she thought "it was amazing to mix the double bass with Indian Music." - Principal, Teacher


A Colorado based virtuoso Indian classical music trio will bring their unique ethic sound to the University of Wyoming Sunday. Atmic Vision will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday in the Fine Arts Concert Hall. The show is free and open to the public. Atmic Vision, which was formed in 2004 by University of Colorado double bass professor Dr. Paul Erhard, consists of double bass, tabla and other various percussion instruments. According to Erhard, who plays double bass in the ensemble, Atmic Vision performs instrumental renditions of raga-based bhajan songs of India in a style of North Indian light classical music. �We make our own arrangements of these songs,� Erhard said. �We present them with innovative multicultural blending of eastern and western (western classical and jazz) influences.�

India musicians Muthu Kumar (Tabla drum) and Flutist Annada (Butto) Prasanna Pattanaik join Erhard to form the trio. According to Erhard, both Pattanaik and Kumar are popular in India, and have been heard on various Indian films.
Erhard says the formation of Atmic Vision was somewhat of an accident.
Erhard and his wife met the tabla player's mother in India in December 2002, and were told her son, Muthu, whom Erhard had never met, was in the United States touring.
�When I returned to Colorado in January 2003, I tracked Muthu down in New Jersey, and asked if he would like to come to Colorado to play on my faculty recital in March 2003,� Erhard said. �Our concert was my first performance of Indian music, representing a huge leap for me since the start of my exploration of playing Indian music on the double bass in 1998.�

Through Muthu, Erhard then met Butto in August 2004, and grant money allowed them to go on tour.�One theater director in Washington urged me to give the group a name,� Erhard said. �In just a couple of days, the name Atmic Vision popped into my head. I liked it, created and sent a poster as Atmic Vision to the theater.� In this way, Atmic Vision was born. According to Erhard, the first tour was a huge success in terms of the impact their music had on the audiences. �In all honesty, after each concert, Muthu, Butto and I would look at each other in amazement, wondering what was going on with our music that it touched people so deeply,� Erhard said. Erhard, who holds both a master�s and doctorate from the Julliard school of music, performs and teaches extensively in the United States and Europe, and has a passion for music from India, according to a press release.

For more info on Atmic Vision, visit
- Tim McFarland


EXPANDING HORIZONS, Atmic Vision's 1st CD, is available on iTunes and at

"Some pieces (of CD "EXPANDING HORIZONS") have an upbeat, dancing feel while others send you off into a space of transient, imagery-filled peacefulness." Colorado Daily

Sai Ram
Chitta Chora

SUNRISE AT KANYAKUMARI, Atmic Vision's 2nd CD, will be released in fall 2011

Gayatri Mantra
Raga Jait
Prema Mudita



Energizing, inspiring. healing… ATMIC VISION tunes into the positive powers of raga-based Indian music to awaken joy in audiences of all ages! Atmic Vision means seeing the oneness… creative essence … consciousness… love… Atma… that pervades the entire universe. ATMIC VISION’s music brings to life the ancient Indian philosophical principles of Sathyam, Shivam, and Sundaram (Truth/Unity, Goodness, and Beauty).

ATMIC VISION’S unique NEW SOUND, a fusion of the soulful double bass, the enchanting Indian bansuri flute and mesmerizing tabla drums, creates an exotic musical experience that uplifts and captivates audiences. Atmic Vision soars, grooves, dances, and reverberates with jazzed-up Indian melodies and rhythms. Audiences are transported "with a pureness of joy I no longer thought possible." S.Vaughn, Metropolitan Opera, NYC.

"Sunrise at Kanyakumari," AV's 2nd CD, will be released in fall 2011. Atmic Vision's 43 concerts in 10 states during the 2005, '07 & '08 tours included a New York City debut at SYMPHONY SPACE, and concerts in France.

Included below:

2) TOUR INFO 2011, '08, '07, 05


ANNADA (BUTTO) PRASANNA PATTANAIK, BANSURI FLUTE is one of India's foremost classical bansuri artists. He is highly sought after in the film industry in Southern India and is featured on well over 1000 film songs. Butto tours extensively with other leading Indian artists. He is well-known by the general public for his weekly appearances on Bangalore, India television. Butto studied with India's leading bansuri maestro, Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia. Visit Butto at

DR. PAUL ERHARD, DOUBLE BASS, is the double bass professor at the University of Colorado College of Music in Boulder where he has taught since 1986. Paul performs as a soloist and teaches internationally in Europe and Asia, as well as throughout the USA. He is a frequent judge for top solo competitions in Europe. Since 1998, Paul has pioneered using the double bass in Indian Classical music, and has studied extensively in India. Paul has his doctorate from Juilliard. As a masters student, he won the Juilliard Double Bass Solo Competition. Visit Paul at

MUTHU KUMAR, TABLA, performs, records and teaches extensively in India and on travels abroad. Based in Bangalore, India, he has performed on over 70 recordings in a wide variety of musical settings including Indian, Jazz, Gospel, and Hip-Hop. He is a leader in musical innovation, as a performer with Indian classical and fusion ensembles he is a member of, and as a teacher with his online tabla lessons. Muthu studied in Bombay with the tabla legend Ustad Alla Rakha, and the great tabla virtuosos Ustad Zakir Hussain and Pandit Yogesh Samsi. Visit Muthu at

2) TOUR INFO 2011, '08, '07, '05

2011: Atmic Vision's October 2011 Tour of concerts and Indian music workshops will include Colorado, Oregon and Washington State. Atmic Vision has also been invited to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.

2008 USA and PARIS TOUR: Atmic Vision 15 concert and 24 EXPANDING THE HORIZONS Indian music workshop (4000+ students) tour of Colorado, Midwest, Las Vegas and LA, and Paris included concerts as the featured performing group for the "2008 Conference on South Asia", October 17, University of Wisconsin, Madison WI, and a Concert at the International Double Bass Festival "Bass '08" to be held in Paris, France, Oct. 30- Nov. 2 (

2007 USA TOUR: Atmic Vision 16 concert and 30 EXPANDING THE HORIZONS Indian music workshop (5000+ students) tour of Colorado and New York (New Jersey, Connecticut) during February and March 2007 included the group's New York City debut at Symphony Space in Manhattan, NYC on March 17.

2005 TOUR: Colorado, Idaho, Washington State with 16 Concerts, 6 University Class Presentations, 2 Radio Interviews / Performances (KPBX Public Radio taped interview, Spokane WA, aired March 6 & 8; KGNU Public Radio live broadcast, Boulder CO, February 14), and our first recording, EXPANDING HORIZONS recorded in the Cascade Mountains outside of Seattle, and available iTunes,


An integral part of Atmic Vision’s mission “to inspire and uplift audiences through beautiful music” is our educational responsibility of reaching out to audiences of all ages, and especially to K-12 students both in urban and in under served rural areas, with our EXPANDING THE HORIZONS Indian Music Workshop. Our goal is to engage and communicate with younger audiences in a way that gets them excited about our music rooted in ancient Indian principles Sathyam, Shivam, and Sundaram (Truth/Unity, Goodness, and Beauty). We share music of India with kids and bring the music to life for them in a way that