Grammy glory for two Indian tabla artistes

MUMBAI/KOLKATA: The 59th Grammy Awards held in Los Angeles on February 12 warranted a special drum roll for India, with two Indian tabla artistes featuring in the list of final honors.

Leading tabla exponent Sandeep Das snapped up a stunning solo trophy in the World Music category for his collaboration with acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble.

The second Indian connect came with the album ‘White Sun II’ winning an award in the New Age Music category, in which Hyderabad-born Abhiman Kaushal is the featured percussionist.

Winning a solo Grammy puts Sandeep Das, a disciple of Pandit Kishan Maharaj, in the elite company of Indian classical maestros Ravi Shankar, Zakir Hussain and mohan veena virtuoso Vishwa Mohan Bhatt.

The second winner, Abhiman Kaushal is now a California resident and faculty at the University of California Los Angeles’ department of ethnomusicology.

The album in which he lent his tabla talents — by the group White Sun — is a blend of mystical Gurmukhi verse fused with tabla, modern violin and silken vocals by Gurujas, herself a devout Kundalini Yoga practitioner.

Das’s joy at winning the trophy was evident when he explained to a news agency that it was a proud moment for India on the world stage. Echoing his sentiment that “nothing grows in isolation”, Kaushal, too, believes that this is the age for collaborative efforts in music.

“Sandeep’s win reiterates that this is the time for tabla on the global stage. Instruments in Indian music are now no longer confined to classical concert spheres but have branched out on to the world stage,” Kaushal told TOI.

Das also received compliments for his sartorial choice on the glittering awards night. On a stage dominated by tuxes and formal suits, he stood out in a red kurta. Why? “It’s my Bengali blood. It doesn’t let me sit quiet,” he confessed.

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