Surabhi Ensemble
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Surabhi Ensemble

Chicago, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | INDIE | AFTRA

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE | AFTRA
Established on Jan, 2010
Band World Latin




"World View Chicago Public Radio"

Interview with Surabhi Ensemble - WBEZ Chicago

"Surabhi Global Tour Interview"

A performance interview with the Surabhi Ensemble - WGN Radio Chicago

"Surabhi Ensemble CD Review"

The Surabhi Ensemble is a Chicago-based dance and world music collective. I first heard them while listening to the eclectic world music show Radio M on Chicago Public Radio. I couldn’t believe what I heard—Indian raga, blues style, rollicking with a shuffle! It was a local group playing a track called “Raga Blues.” Founded by Indian veena artist Saraswathi Ranganathan, the initial intention was to use raga as a springboard to cross cultures and connect various forms of world music.

The Ensemble includes Spanish guitarist Carlo Basile, founder of Las Guitarras de Espana, and Ronnie Malley, beloved Middle East oud player, vocalist, and teacher at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Fleshed out with Dhananjay Kunte on tabla and Bob Garrett on percussion, the music is purposeful and well done. Add Indian folk/modern dancer Kinnari Vora and Flamenco dancer Marisela Tapia, and a full-fledged party ensues. The combination of flamenco guitar, veena (a four-stringed Indian instrument said to be played by the Goddess Saraswati), and oud is intoxicating. Surubhi Ensemble just released their self-titled CD. Tracks are evocative, including “Hanoi Pho,” a South Asian (by way of Flamenco instrumental) with lux violins and erhu (an Asian spike fiddle) played by Chihsuan Yang. Live, the group is outstanding, with tasteful colors and moods. Surabhi is a gift of music, strings from many cultures played together with passion and harmony. Surabhi means “fragrance of the flower” in Sanskrit, a perfect name for the fusion of delicious cultures. - Yoga Chicago

"Surabhi - Worldbeat Extravaganza"

The world needs the music and message of the Surabhi Ensemble. Their self-titled debut is a cultural touchstone bringing together the music of different global cultures in a free-wheeling folksy, jazzy, jammy good time. They’ve been at it in Chicago for eight years, fusing ragas from India with Arabic scales, Spanish Flamenco and Middle Eastern folkloric dance (two Surabhi members you do not get to hear on this great CD are dancers who add drama, action and flair to their live shows). The intent is a “positive message of togetherness” and, to that end, they’ve brought their sound and choreography to schools, hospitals, theaters, concert halls, festivals, refugee camps, neighborhood parks and cultural centers.

There is no describing this joyous sound in terms near enough for understanding. There are instruments being played that Western ears might never have even heard. Thanks to Ravi Shankar, we’ve all heard the sitar but have you yet to experience the veena, oud, talking drum or erhu? Add guitar, tabla, percussion, bass and violin and you’ve got one simmering boil of sound that is as righteous as it is comforting, entertaining, kinetic and totally unforgettable. - The Aquarian Blog

"Surabhi Ensemble Concert Preview"

A discussion of upcoming Surabhi Ensemble Global Tour Recap concert. - Chicago Reader



Surabhi Ensemble is a global music and dance collective representing different cultures. The group was founded by Indian veena artist Saraswathi Ranganathan in 2010 and is based in Chicago. The ensemble began with the intention of producing cross-cultural music influenced by Indian raga. It has grown to include Arab Maqam music from North Africa, the Middle East as well as Spanish flamenco, with Andalusia, Spain (Al-Andalus in Arabic) being the natural end point to the journey of the many cultures represented within the Surabhi Ensemble.

The mission of the Surabhi Ensemble is to demonstrate the connections between cultures and to teach a positive message of togetherness in creating, performing, and demonstrating new works of music and dance. Members of the group work in many settings such as schools, hospitals, theaters, concert halls, festivals, refugee organizations, neighborhood parks, and cultural centers to bring this positive message of cultural unity and outreach.

Most recently in 2019 and 2020, the Surabhi Ensemble has performed concerts in Vietnam, Spain, Portugal, Senegal and Mexico. Additionally, Surabhi has performed around the United States and Canada for festivals, schools and theatrical events.