Indrajit Banerjee
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Indrajit Banerjee

Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1995 | SELF | AFM

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF | AFM
Established on Jan, 1995
Solo Jazz Acoustic




"Levitation Live Shot"

The Indian duo’s performance began unassumingly. The mustachioed, Afro’d musicians took the stage in colorful Kurtas and sat impossibly cross-legged on a platform with bare feet prominently displayed. While Gourisankar powdered his hands and inspected the tension of his tabla drums with a small metal hammer, Indrajit Banerjee adjusted the myriad of tuning knobs movable frets on his sitar.

Smiles throughout, they projected sunshine under Saturday’s dark clouds.

Without a word, Banerjee began tickling the strings of his sitar. Up rose an enchanted drone as he danced his digits the full length of the fret board. Picking up pace on the 13th century instrument, his slippery riffage, complete with the occasional drastic downward note bend, began to resemble the technical prowess of a prog-metal guitarist – except every note was in the service of beauty.

It was Gourisankar who drew the first applause. The tabla maestro, who teaches at UT, took a solo on his hand drums that was so otherworldly fast it appeared as though the bones had escaped his hands. He soaked in the acclaim with a modest head wobble and smile.

The two internationally renowned musicians, who Austinites have seen perform together in world music ensemble Atash, rang in Levitation’s second day with such allure that the spectator count grew from dozens to hundreds throughout their 45-minute performance. Their experimentally-skewed take on traditional Indian music afforded them room to show off their prodigious chops frequently.

Even then, the happiest moments were when the pair would land a hard accent on the same note, then lock eyes with a satisfied smile – like the spectacular beauty evoked in their music amused them as much it did us. - Austin Chronicle

""The Joys of Winter Ragas" Concert at Rice Casts a Musical Spell on Houston Audience"

By Thomas Chen
HOUSTON: On Sunday, January 19, the Houston community converged at the Rice Memorial Center’s Grand Hall on the Rice University campus to enjoy Ritu Tarang -The Joys of Winter Ragas, an Indian classical music concert presented by KTRU – Rice Radio and sponsored by the Hindus of Greater Houston, Kohinoor Diamonds, Bollywood Shake, SEWA Houston, Houston Museum of Culture, Houston Arts Alliance, the City of Houston, and Indo-American News. This “free” concert was an extension of KTRU’s Navrang Show, which is celebrating its 22nd year of playing a wide variety of music, from Bollywood hits old and new, to Indian classical, Indipop, folk and Asian Underground, hosted by the artistic and dedicated Varsha Vakil.
The concert featured two of the most accomplished musicians working in Indian classical genre today – Shri Indrajit Banerjee on the sitar and Pandit Shantilal Shah on the tabla. The accolades received between the two are too many to recount; for starters, Shri Indrajit Banerjee belongs to the famous Maihar gharana of which the late sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar was a member. Not to be outdone, gold medalist Pandit Shantilal Shah has shared the stage with some of the greatest names in Indian classical music, proving to be one of the most successful tabla maestros of the time. The two artists combined their outstanding talents on a mild winter afternoon.

KTRU’s “The Joys of Winter Ragas” concert draws huge crowd at Grand Hall, Rice University.
KTRU’s “The Joys of Winter Ragas” concert draws huge crowd at Grand Hall, Rice University.
The concert began with solo (raga Hemant) by Shri Indrajit Banerjee, as he began to play the sitar with passionate energy, his very body moving with the otherworldly twangs of his sitar. Within minutes, the entire audience was transfixed, with many heads bobbing back and forth to the unique melodies and textures of Shri Indrajit Banerjee.
Pandit Shantilal Shah joined in soon after, adding complex percussive rhythms to mix, the two instruments playing off of each other. The duo played a magnificent centerpiece raga Kirwani – one that highlighted both the subtleties and extremities of North and South Indian classical music, from the delicate crescendos, decrescendos, and variations in tempo from the slow and hypnotic, to the impressively quick, while harmonic overtones filled the hall. After concluding their set with raga Bhairavi that seemed inspired by the day’s waning sunlight, the musicians were greeted with uproarious applause, springing from the audience that just moments before had been held in a trance-like state. Rice University sophomore Austin Wu said after the show, “I was blown away; never had I expected the classical genre to inspire such emotion and expression within me.” A bravura performance!
KTRU’s specialty show Navrang offers a platform for talented artists not only from India but also from the Houston area.
For further information on KTRU’s Navrang Show visit Contact the Navrang Show host via email to and remember to tune in to the show on Saturday mornings from 10am to 12pm on 90.1 HD2, or on iheartradio.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. - Indo American News

"Indrajit Banerjee Chimes in with Surbahar and Sitar"

By Sunthar Visuvalingam – LEMONT, Ill. I ndrajit Banerjee, one of the leading exponents of the Maihar gharana, improvised solo on the deeply reverberating surbahar and the more familiar stringed instrument sitar, accom- panied by Gourisankar Karmakar on tabla on May 11 at the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago here. Banerjee began with alap on the surbahar followed by a com- position in Parameshwari, a raga invented by Ravi Shankar, set to dhamar tal. He continued on the sitar with a composition in the afternoon raga Shuddha Sarang preceded by a brief alap. He concluded with a melodious rendering of rag Bhairavi. Banerjee, who is currently teaching at Rhythm and Raag for the spring and fall semesters, was trained by Pandit Kartick Kumar, a senior disciple of Pandit Ravi Shankar. He had joined a stringed ensemble led by well-known Chicago veena artist and teacher Saraswathi Ranganathan the pre- vious evening as part of the 24- hour (Ekaaham) Veena festival organized by the Sri Annamacharya Project of North America (SAPNA). Conceptualized and arranged by Ranganathan, “Vallaki Vilasam” was a menagerie of stringed instruments, a harmonious con- fluence of sounds of the Saraswathi (South Indian) veena, surbahar, sitar, santoor and guitar. “Traditionally, these instruments have been described as belonging to the veena family: Saptatantri (seven-stringed sitar and surba- har), Shatatantri (100-stringed santoor), and Chaturtantri (four- stringed guitar),” Ranganathan told Desi Talk. They are all chimed to the instant appeal of the Hindustani Bhimpalasi, an afternoon raga that corresponds to the Carnatic Abheri. This was followed by the Hindi number “Paayoji maine” and Chitti Babu’s composition “Reverie.” “The beautiful hypnotic glides (meend) on surbahar, the delec- table tones on santoor by Kunal Gunjal, the soft strums on guitar by Carlo Basile, the scintillating veena-passages by Saraswathi, were accompanied by riveting percussion by Ganapathi Ranganathan on mridangam and Hindole Majumdar on tabla,” Ranganathan said. May 11 was devoted entirely to a celebration of Hindustani music. Tapan Bhattacharya delivered a traditionally strong Hindustani vocal recital in his stentorian voice accompanied on tabla by Dhananjay Kunte, SAPNA said in a press release. The grand finale of the after- noon was a dhrupad vocal con- - Desi Talk


Day two at Austin Psych Fest / Levitation was a day to explore and discover something new. As soon as I walked into Levitation I heard the unmistakable whine of the sitar stretching out across the expansive grounds. The sun had broken through the clouds drying most of the mud from day one. The sitar and rhythmic beats rang out and people were pulled like a magnet to the Elevation Ampitheatre. It was the intricate and intoxicating music of Gourisankar and Indrajit Banerjee. I loved that Levitation departed from the heavily stacked psych line-up and brought in a diverse, worldly sound.
Los Angeles felt the love at Levitation. It was exciting to see so many L.A.-based bands on the line-up at Levitation. I was able to catch Fever the Ghost in the Levitation tent, which was an ideal spot for their pop leaning psychedelic rock. Armed with plenty of spacy sound effects and ethereal vocals the guys gave us a quirky and unforgettable performance that included a dancing vagina.
What can I say about The Black Ryder other than stunning perfection? They not only play gorgeous music, but they look sexy and cool (without even trying) while doing it. This was their third time playing Levitation and they definitely had a relaxed aurora about them. Even though their music feels like you’re floating on a shoe shoegaze cloud when you listen to it through the headphones, their live version has an unexpected energy behind it. Raven beauty, Aimee was impossible to tear your eyes from as she played guitar, and Scott came to life when he sang, especially when it was with Aimee.
The Black Ryder Austin Psych Fest Levitation 2015
The Black Ryder
My ears were perked when I heard The Well ripping it up on the main stage. Unplanned, I rushed over and couldn’t leave until the end of the set. This Austin based band was what you would expect from a psych rock band complete with fuzzed out guitars and a solid consistent groove. Their music is grungy sounding and hard hitting juxtaposition with the striking beauty and playing of bassist Lisa Alley.
Las Robertas is a girl band that hails from Costa Rica. Their lo-fi surf rock was the right sound at the right time on the Reverberation Stage. Guitarist and singer Mercedes Oller was sweet and genuinely appreciative of the crowd that had gathered to see their set saying it was one of the biggest crowds they had ever played to (once before they opened for Pearl Jam). Their bristling noise was enough crunch and reverb that was only tempered by Oller’s voice as she sang both in English and Spanish. The sun blared and so did Las Robertas. Day two was going to be epic.
Chui Wan was probably my most unexpected find of the day. I hadn’t planned on covering them, but found myself free and decided to pop over to the stage down by the river and see what this band from Beijing, China was all about. Chui Wan is a refined and polished foursome with an experimental sound. On one hand you hear their psychedelic leanings with a persistent bass line and spaced out keys. On the other, there’s a danceable pop quality to it especially when they delve into the electronic effects on their drum pad. The crowd kept crowing as their set continued, curious about the euphoric sounds that were erupting from the stage. Mostly instrumental Chui Wan really captured the mood of the crowd on day two; they were ready to dance and trip out.
Primal Scream
Primal Scream
By nightfall everyone was more than ready for Primal Scream and The Jesus & Mary Chain.
Primal Scream pulled in one of the most diverse crowds I had seen all day and their set was a straight up party. Years of performing under their belt really showed as they engaged the audience unlike any other performer at the Levitation. Bobby Gillespie was reaching out to the crowd inviting them to enter into his world and they gladly did. From the front barriers of the stage to the wings and out into the field near the trees everyone was grooving. Some were dancing while others bobbed and weaved in a trance. Primal Scream was clearly there to give the fans what they wanted and that was a tight, consistent and badass show.
Headliners on the main stage was none other than the legendary Jesus & Mary Chain. I find it hard to describe a band that has been so influential and iconic in the world of rock music. They are a powerhouse and many of the bands at Levitation would most likely site Jesus & Mary Chain as an influence on their own music. It is suffice to say that their set did not disappoint. They played all our favorites, “Just Like Honey” and “Head On” (being my favorite). It transported me and everyone else, right back to the memories that surround those epic songs. Lights were low, the back drop was psychedelic and the mood was reminiscent. It really was the right way to close out day two.
Words & Photography: Anne-Marie Schiefer
Jesus and Mary Chain Austin Psych Fest Levitation 2015
Jesus and Mary Chain
Austin Psych Fest Levitation 2015
The Well Austin Psych Fest Levitation 2015
The Well
The Black Ryder Austin Psych Fest Levitation 2015
The Black Ryder
Austin Psych Fest Levitation 2015
Gourisankar and Indrajit Banerjee Austin Psych Fest Levitation 2015
Gourisankar and Indrajit Banerjee
Las Robertas Austin Psych Fest Levitation 2015
Las Robertas
Austin Psych Fest Levitation 2015
Austin Psych Fest Levitation 2015
austin psych fest levitation 2015
Want more photos of Austin Psych Fest / Levitation 2015? Check out the photo gallery below!
[Show as slideshow]
Elevation Stage and crowd (1 of 2).jpg Elevation Stage and crowd (2 of 2).jpg Fans (1 of 13).jpg Fans (2 of 13).jpg Fans (3 of 13).jpg Fans (4 of 13).jpg Fans (5 of 13).jpg Fans (6 of 13).jpg Fans (7 of 13).jpg Fans (8 of 13).jpg Fans (9 of 13).jpg Fans (10 of 13).jpg Fans (11 of 13).jpg Fans (12 of 13).jpg Fans (13 of 13).jpg Fever the Ghost (1 of 2).jpg Fever the Ghost (2 of 2).jpg Gourisankar and indrajit (1 of 2).jpg Gourisankar and indrajit (2 of 2).jpg Jesus Mary Chain (1 of 2).jpg
Austin Psych Fest / Levitation 2015 kicks off rainy day with Tame Impala, Spiritualized, METZ and more
Taking a “trip” to Austin Psych Fest / Levitation 2015 — reasons you need to go
Day one of Shaky Knees Fest rattles with The Strokes, Mastodon, Kaiser Chiefs and more
Watch Grimy TV’s mini festival documentary from Burgerama 2015
Desert Daze brings back the spirit of what “music festivals” once were

This entry was posted in Live Concerts, Music Festivals and tagged Austin Psych Fest, Chui Wan, fever the ghost, Gourisankar and Inrajit Banarjee, Jesus & Mary Chain, Las Robertas, Levitation 2015, primal scream, the black ryder, the well on May 11, 2015 by Anne Marie Schiefer.
May 13, 2015 at 1:41 pm
I was there. It was the Primal Scream show. The girl in Los Robertas had incredibly annoying stage banter.
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"Global Soundscapes with Indrajit Banerjee"

Join award-winning sitarist Indrajit Banerjee and special guests for an evening of traditional world music at the Yoga Yoga Westlake studio. - Community Impact Newspaper

"2009 Chicago Jazz Fest - A Musical Cornucopia of Jazz Sounds"

2009 Chicago Jazz Fest -
A Musical Cornucopia of Jazz Sounds

Grant Park, Chicago, IL
September 4 - 6, 2009
Amina Figarova
Amina Figarova (JW) Dee Alexander
Dee Alexander (BT)
Victor Garcia (JB)
Story by Brad Walseth
Photos by James Walker, Jr. (JW), John Broughton (JB), Bryan Thompson (BT) and Brad Walseth (BW) - copyright 2009
Videos by John Broughton - copyright 2009

After enduring one of the chilliest summers in recent history, jazz fans of all ages attending the 2009 edition of the Chicago Jazz Festival were granted glorious sunshine for nearly the entire week of festivities. And despite the sound issues that accompany an outdoor festival, attendees were treated to a cornucopia of jazz sounds as provided by a wide range of talented artists from across the full spectrum.
The week started off with the Jazz Institute's Gala concert tribute to Michelle Obama as composed and performed by Nicole Mitchell. Mitchell - one of the finest composers on the scene - did double duty - also leading her Black Earth Ensemble through an exceptional set on the Jackson Street stage later in the week. The Jazz Institute's club tour was expanded this year and again gave people the opportunity to sample the scene at a number of Chicago jazz establishments. Thursday night's final Made in Chicago concert at the Pritzker Pavillion at Millenium Park ended a stellar series with a tribute to Chicago favorite son, Benny Goodman, with veteran clarinetist Buddy Buddy DeFrancoDeFranco joining the Chicago Jazz Ensemble to finish up the season with a bang.

The Jazz Fest proper began on a sad note - with the news that beloved local drummer Ernie Adams - perhaps the hardest working musician in town - had taken ill (get well soon, Ernie!!!). With Ernie's scheduled bandmate - alto madman Richie Cole trapped by fires in L.A. and also unable to attend, a band led by trumpeter Orbert Davis and featuring guitarist Henry Johnson, drummer Greg Rockingham and bassist Stewart Miller opened the fest in fine fashion. As the fellow standing next to me said: "not bad for a pick-up band."

While the new and quite popular Chicago Community Trust Young Lions Stage featured the best young high-school age talent paired with veterans like Ari Brown, Mark Colby and Junior Mance, the Jackson Street stage continued its reputation as the "hot" stage. Greg Ward's Fitted Shards, Fareed Haque's Flat Earth Ensemble, the Dan Cray Trio with Geof Bradfield, the Chicago Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble and the aforementioned Nicole Mitchell all put on high energy sets, while young superstar Esperanza SpaldingEsperanza Spalding - fresh off her David Letterman appearance - packed Jackson Street for her pleasing set.

Jackson Street also featured solo piano from Chicago favorites Yoko Noge and Ben Patterson, and thought-provoking sets by vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz' Rolldown and clarinetist James Falzone's KLANG. And the legendary Von Freeman led a crowd-pleasing jam session. But perhaps the most surprising concert was led by Von's guitarist - Mike Allemnna - whose gospel-vocal Come Sunday contingent led off appropriately Sunday morning with a bushel-full of good cheer.

The Jazz and Heritage Stage is sometimes shortchanged as the "educational" venue (and indeed, the popular percussion discussions and art of the solo discussions with Art Burton and William Parker respectively were well-attended), but it's shady confines provided plenty of heat from several excellent groups. Young saxophonist Kevin Nabors led his quintet - including trumpet star Corey Wilkes, guitarist Scott Hesse bassist Junius Paul and drummer Isaiah Spencer through a fiery set. Great to see this young man taking strides as a player and leader. Alto saxman Dudley Owens also scored with a great, high-octane session featuring David Young on trumpet and the incredible Keith Javors on piano. Violinist Diane Delin and the underrated and highly talented Kelly Brand Quartet - a personal favorite - were also featured on this stage, as was the ever-popular Eric Schneider - who packed the area with fans.

This would be more than enough talent for any jazz fan, but we have yet to touch on the amazing amount of musical magic that appeared on the main (Petrillo) stage. Friday night began with a highly enjoyable set from Chicago's own Jeff Parker. The guitarist - who often engages in left-of-center tangents - was backed by keyboardist Pete Benson (Sabertooth), saxophonist Scott Burns and drummer George Fludas and played a hot straight-ahead set. Roscoe MitchellNext up was The Trio - a take-no-prisoners avant group featuring composer in residence and pianist Muhal Richard Abrams, saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell and trombonist George Lewis in a full-frontal sonic assault on the audience. Although not everyone's cup of tea, the majority of the crowd remained seated and even gave these avant garde pioneers a standing ovation. In a bid for presenting a kaleidoscopic musical experience, folk/blues chanteuse Madeleine Peyroux was up next and gave the crowd a pleasant, albeit not real jazzy, set. The evening ended with fireworks as Gonzalo Rubalcaba brought his innovative Cuban-based music to the stage.

Eric Schneider Saturday's mainstage fun began with an impressive set from veteran saxophonist and Velvet Lounge club owner Fred Anderson. Backed by drummer Hamid Drake and bassist Josh Abrams, Fred - who was a bebop player before becoming immersed in the avant garde scene - played some of the most beautiful and melodic playing I have heard from the jazz legend on this memorable concert. Amina Figarova'a sextet was up next and put on another one of the highlights of the fest with an energetic display. This is a talented group that you should be aware of.

The evening continued with plenty of combustible energy as bassist William Parker brought his ensemble to the stage for a delicious rendering of the songs of the late great Chicago R&B star Curtis Mayfield. With lovely singer/dancer Leena Conquest gyrating, revolutionary poet Amiri Baraka providing spoken word over the incendiary music and the crowd singing along to favorites like "Freddie's Dead," "We People Who Are Darker Than Blue" and "It's Alright," this set offered a tough act to follow. Fortunately, the Dave Holland Dave HollandBig Band was more than equal to the task. The veteran bassist led an extremely talented group through some hard-charging numbers that - despite the limitations of the sound system - displayed Holland's use of colors in his big band arrangements. Great solos by Holland, alto saxohonist Jaleel Shaw, tenor saxman Chris Potter and Holland himself brought this evening to a wonderful conclusion

The final performances on Sunday night at the Petrillo included an enjoyable set from Archie Shepp that veered into blues, followed by Buddy DeFranco's tribute to Art Tatum: both were solid. Chicago's reigning queen of jazz vocals, Ms. Dee Alexander came on in yet another stunningly beautiful dress and she and her group did Chicago up proud with selections from her latest album - "Wild is the Wind." The festival closed with a challenging composition by Muhal Richard Abrams that showcased Ari Brown, George Lewis and Harrison Bankhead in extended solo spots in front of the Art Hoyle Orchestra.

The Jazz Institute and the City of Chicago and all of those involved deserve a big hand for producing yet another exciting free festival.

The article first appeared in Check out great Chicago jazz happenings there. -

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"SXSW Music Live: Reverberation Appreciation Society Showcase"

Takeover of Hotel Vegas by Austin’s Levitation festival and its sponsoring Reverberation Appreciation Society on Thursday evening meant a variety of what constitutes psychedelia. Dead Meadow represented heavy stoner rock, Crocodiles grinned friendly indie-pop, and Royal Trux rolled out grungy slop. Ultimately, four local acts ruled the roost.

Facing a packed house thanks to the increased notoriety of penultimate act Survive, Ringo Deathstarr delivered a solid set of its shoegazing power trio rock. Dedicated to the heady side of Nineties alt-rock, the coed threesome ripped through a blend of pop melodies and amp-blasting distortion, including a few new songs and a surprising shift from “So High” to Rush’s “Spirit of Radio.”

Thanks to the presence of a buzz band on the bill, sitar genius Indrajit Banerjee and tabla master Gourisankar spun their dazzling web of classical Indian raga and improvisation for a larger crowd than usual, winning over the youthful audience before the first song ended.

Costumed conglomerate the Golden Dawn Arkestra wasted no time diving deep into its rich ocean of Afrobeat, orchestral funk, and mystical hoodoo. Hipsters awaiting Eighties-inspired synth seemed taken aback, but by the time the Arkestra built up to “Masakayli,” even New Yorkers were dancing furiously.

Anyone following GDA faces a challenge, but Survive succeeded despite its m.o. of four guys calmly twirling knobs and plinking keyboards without a word to, or even acknowledgement of, the audience. Thanks to Stranger Things, the band held its own, letting John Carpenter/Tron-inspired waves of electronica flow out over the attentive audience with enough drama and volume to be compelling.

The crowd seemed more subdued than it did for the Arkestra, especially when they weren’t sure when one song ended and another began. The Stranger Things theme brought the show home to applause most synth wave bands will never experience. - The Austin Chronicle




Sitarist Indrajit Banerjee is one of the leading exponents of the Maihar Gharana. He was born in a musical family, unique due to the large number of accomplished artists in Hindustani Classical Music. He got inspiration from his sitarist mother, Manju Banerjee, who was a disciple of late Nikhil Banerjee,  He took intensive training from his uncle, Pandit Kartick Kumar, who is a senior disciple of Pandit Ravi Shankar. All of this training developed a strong foundation for Indrajit’s music, and creative individuality. Indrajit has a special touch on Sitar combined with technical virtuosity and sensitivity. He is an A grade artist of All India Radio and National Television, Panel Artist for Indian Council Of Cultural Relations, has served as Judge for A.I.R (Kolkata), and is a member of the American Federations of Musicians, and voting member of The Recording Academy (Grammies). He was awarded the Gokul Nag Memorial Medal in 1987 by Bangia Sangeet Parishad, (W. Bengal), “Sur Mani”in 1990 by Sur Sringal Samsad Bombay, Avinav Kala Samman in 1997 by Avinav Kala Parishad (Bhopal). Parangotsava-2007 (a festival held in Mysore, Karnataka) recognised him as Veteran (Pandit). In 2014 awarded for exceptional contribution by (SAPNA) IL U.S.A. Indrajit has been touring extensively toured in the U.K., Europe, Caribbean Islands, Lebanon , Hawaii, Alaska, Costa Rica, Brazil and Canada for the last 18 years as a solo sitar artist. He has also collaborated with several artists from the West, including STING (Channel V Awards), Yaron Herman, Abbos Kosimov, Goodman Theatre, Fareed Haque, etc. He has several solo sitar albums to his credit and also has been featured in many albums. His music can be purchased on Itunes and Cdbaby, and can be streamed on Spotify, Pandora, Lastfm, etc. Indrajit has National and International awards from India and the U.S.A. His lessons and instructional DVDs on Sitar are popular throughout the world. Indrajit is also a composer and has arranged music for several albums and award winning documentary films. Please click on the link for more information on his tour dates and teaching.His latest band is called "SitarJi " with  sitar combined with drums tabla synth  and electronic loops / bass is well received.

Band Members