I owe my heartfelt gratitude to my beloved Baba and Guru Shri Rabindranath Lahiri for a life fully devoted to the selfless dissemination of the deepest elements of Indian Classical Music. Indeed, the wonderful example of his life’s mission has been the inspiration and impetus for my efforts to bring the finer notes of Indian Music to the people of all backgrounds.
Just before the partition of India, when he was just in his teens, Shri Rabindranathji came to West Bengal from what is now Bangladesh, leaving everything behind. At the same time he graduated from Ashutosh College (Calcutta University) equally developing his inborn musicality through Great Ustad Mohammed Ali Ahmed Khan (sitar) also taken vocal taleem from Pt. Nagendranath Datta (Vocal) and Ustad Fuljuri khan(sitar) . His musicality was well reputed, acknowledged and he was soon invited to become the court musician of RaniGanj Rajbari under the patronage of Maharaja Kuwar Jiwanlal Malia. During that time he was closely associated with such stalwarts such as Ustad Munnawar Ali Khan, Ustad Yunnis Hussain Khan, the beenkar the great Ustad Dabir Khansaheb . Later he a gandadandh disciple of Ustad Dabir Khan (direct descendent of Mia Tansen) of the Senia Gharana. Seeing his dedication and devotion towards his Guru through music, Ustadji was deeply touched by Rabinji (Ustadji called him Rabin) . In these year, he performed in many prestigious conferences and shared the stage with many of India’s greatest artists such as Kumar Birendra Kishor Roy Chaudhury, Amiruddin Dagar, and Anwari Begum (at the Seni Sangeet Samaj on August 9th 1959). Nikhil Bharat Banga Sahitya Samaj organized a grand festival on June 22nd, 1953, inviting Rabindranathji along with all time great masters like Ustad Dabir Khansaheb, Ustad Keramatullah Khan, Ustad Sagiruddin Khan and Pandit Ravi Shankar.
With such a strong musical foundation and grooming, he soon became a great musical presence in the entire Raniganj region and the influence of his work here can be seen to this day. It is because of his efforts to bring classical music to the common people and the sheer numbers of his students that today there is the strong musical atmosphere in virtually every household in Raniganj. Some of his most outstanding students are Pulak Lahiri, Sangeeta Lahiri, Shankhachur Lahiri, Durgadas Karmakar, Deepak Mukherjee and many more.
Shri Pulak Lahiri, is chief mentor and the Principal of the Shruti School of Music (Mumbai). At first glance, one might notice his unassuming and soft spoken manner. Yet when one hears his sitar, one can truly appreciate the great richness and depth of his musical understanding, and when one sees the heights that Shruti has reached, one can appreciate the grandness of his creative vision and later continued under his father’s senior-most Guru bhai, Pt Santosh Banerjee. To deepen his grasp of the Gayaki Ang (vocal style), he then took the guidance of the great stalwart of the Rampur Saheswan Gharana, Ustad Ghulam Akbar Khansaheb. Since coming to Mumbai some years ago, he has been under the adept guidance of Pt. Arvind Parekh, senior disciple of Ustad Vilayat Khansaheb. As a result of his extensive talim and his own musical research, Pulak dada's musical approach reflects an extraordinarily fine balance between the tantrakari (instrumental) and gayaki ang. As a performer he has graced the stage at many prestigious venues in India and abroad.
Sangeeta didi was initiated into the intricacies of Hindustani classical Music at the age of three by her father, Shri Rabindranathji. Since then, she has undergone advanced training under Pt.Chinmoy Lahiri and later, for an extended and intensive period, under the highly esteemed Ustad Ghulam Akbar Khan of the Rampur Saheswan Gharana. Her singing abilities were further honed under the tutelage of the traditional thumri exponent Smt. Brijbala Devi of Muzaffarpur. In addition, her associations with great maestros like Pt. Yashwantbua Joshi, Pt. Mukul Shivputra and Pt. Nayan Ghosh, have all been extremely fruitful in helping her to develop a distinctive perspective of raag and taal.
Sangitaji has performed across India, gracing the stage at such prominent venues as the Doverlane Music Conference (Kolkata), Nazrul Manch (Kolkata), the Gandhi Maidan Thumri Festival (Patna), Sur Sringar Samsad (Mumbai), Shruti Festival 2008, Gangubai Hangal Foundation (Hubli), Sitar Ratna Rahmat Khan Utsav (Dharwad), the National Festival of Music & Dance (Kerala), and many others. A graded artist for All India Radio, she has recorded for many major projects such as the world music album "Mysterious Awakening,” (HMV Sa Re Ga Ma) and more recently for the 2009 popular album “SaReGaNa,” in a piece composed, arranged and directed by her brilliant husband Debasish Bhattacharjee – one of the rising music directors in Mumbai today. As a Guru as well, Sangita didi is blessed with a musical maturity far beyond her years. She has already become a sought after Guru by many established professional musicians seeking to solidify their musical foundation and expand their knowledge. www.sangeetalahiri.com
Heather DeRigo is a passionate and creative musician who grew up immersed in Music and the Arts. Born into a musical family, where both her parents, as well as many other family members -were professional, touring musicians, Heather naturally took to the world of music. Her upbringing led her to a colorful, musical background in playing set drums and singing in various bands in New York and Florida which helped to propel her into a wide range of experiences. Heather’s early performance experience later merged into the business side of the music industry where she worked for a radio station in Promotions and Advertising and also performed the duties of a talent scout under the thumb of Polygram records back in the early 90′s. Heather’s positions in the music business ignited friendships and close relationships with high profile musicians that also enriched her experiences in the Music Industry. She has performed with leading musicians in various genres of Music throughout her career, which helped inspire her to create SAA. As founding member and manager of SAA, Heather De Rigo is a also a prominent Professional Drum Circle Facilitator in the Bay area with her company YOUniversal Rhythms and continues to perform as a drummer/percussionist and singer for other musical groups locally. She offers private lessons and group classes as well.
For more information on Heather DeRigo, please visit her website at www.hderigo.com.
For more information on YOUniversal Rhythms please visit: www.YOUniversalRhythms.com
My great friend Debasish is a real human being. I consider he is a gifted musician and a talented music director, arranger and music programmer in Mumbai today, especially he is very regular face in advertisement (Jingle) world.