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South Asian Drum Roll at Rice radio’s 50th Anniversary Celebration

L to R: Mahtab Nadalian, Prof. Karim Al-Zand, Ali Tarkesh, Varsha Vakil, Spike, Krishna Sharma, Saugat Aryal and Sunit Pradhan

L to R: Mahtab Nadalian, Prof. Karim Al-Zand, Ali Tarkesh, Varsha Vakil, Spike, Krishna Sharma, Saugat Aryal and Sunit Pradhan

by Ethan Hasiuk
As a celebration of the 50th anniversary of KTRU and the 24th anniversary of the KTRU’s specialty show Navrang, KTRU hosted “Fantasy of Exotic Drums – Tala Mahotsav” on September 24, 2016, at Rice University, Grand hall. Varsha Vakil, the host of the Navrang show was the brain behind this spectacular free concert. This concert offered a platform to a total of 30 performing artists thus embarking audience on a mesmerizing journey of South Asian percussion beats.
The show began after Ganesh vandana by Ajay Subramanian’s mridangam accompanied with Neethi Nayak’s vocals. ISKCON Houston’s youth performers then proceeded down the aisle featuring mridangam in an ensemble setting as the audience welcomed them. The talented Raja Banga and his multigenerational Essence of Prana Ensemble created an astounding blend of Western and Indian instruments. The audience cheered a unique tabla duet with the sole female percussionist Jasmeeta Singh accompanied with tabla artist Justin Lasiewicz.
Next, Ali Tarkesh Esfahani‘s mesmerized the audience with his barely visible Daf as it moved swiftly through the air, the Daf was accompanied with the tranquilizing sound of santoor by Mahtab Nadalian. Dholi Toki Singh’s incredible dhol rhythms created enthusiasm among the diverse audience.

Talented Houston Artists showcased at the “Fantasy of Exotic Drums – Tala Mahotsav”

Talented Houston Artists showcased at the “Fantasy of Exotic Drums – Tala Mahotsav”

Rice University Shepherd School of Music Associate Professor Karim Al-Zand and avant-garde musician SPIKE the Percussionist were the respected two guests of honor. They asserted their appreciation and gratitude for a diverse musical experience at the university campus.
Attendees celebrated the conclusion of the concert with Indian vegetarian food provided by ISKCON Houston and the Govindas restaurant. Deep Foods and Britannia presented delicious snacks that proved popular with the audience. Many also left the event with complimentary henna tattoos.
Varsha conveyed her sincere gratitude towards the grand sponsors ISKCON Houston, Discount Power, Mr. Jugal Malani and Deep Foods and the other sponsors – Heartfulness, Sewa International, India Culture Center, Imagine A Museum, Daya, West University Area Democratic Club, Britannia, Hindus of Greater Houston, Indian American Cancer Network and the Gujarati Samaj of Houston.
All local artists interested are encouraged to contact Varsha through email at KTRU at ktrudotorg. The Navrang show airs Saturday from 10-12noon on 96.1 FM, on ktru apps and online at ktrudotorg


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