St. Clair Productions presents an evening of Indian Ragas with Pir Shabda Kahn on vocals, Benjy Wertheimer on table and Deepak Paramashivan on sarangi. The concert takes place on Friday, March 4, 8 p.m., at the Ashland Community Center, 59 Winburn Way, across from Lithia Park. Tickets are $20 in advance, $22 at the door, $10 for teens 12-17 and free under 12. Tickets available at www.stclairevents.com, 541-535-3562 or at the Music Coop in downtown Ashland.
In 1972, Kahn was initiated by Pandit Pran Nath, the Master North Indian Classical Vocalist and began the daily practice of Raga singing in the Kirana style. Pandit Pran Nath, a Sufi mystic, requested that Kahn carry on the 800-year-old oral transmission under the name the Chisti Sabri School of Music. The school is now an umbrella for teaching vocal music and performing Raga.
Kahn has appeared in concerts ranging from Visions for a Perfect World at New York’s St John the Divine Cathedral, for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, for New Music America in Chicago, at Delhi University Music School, and at Shivaratri Festival in New Delhi. He is one of a handful of Americans who have dedicated themselves to carrying on the legacy of the treasure of North Indian classical vocal music.
In addition to being the director of the Chisti Sabri School of Music, Kahn is the Pir or spiritual director of the Sufi Ruhaniat International. The Sufi Ruhaniat International was founded by Murshid Samuel L. Lewis shortly before he died in 1971. This lineage of Sufism was brought to the West in 1910 by Hazrat Inayat Khan under the title “The Sufi Message of Spiritual Liberty.”
Wetheimer is an award-winning musician, composer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist equally accomplished on tabla, congas, percussion, esraj, guitar, and keyboards. He has performed and recorded with such artists as Krishna Das, Deva Premal and Miten, Jai Uttal, Walter Becker of Steely Dan, guitarist Michael Mandrell, tabla master Zakir Hussain, and renowned bamboo flute master G. S. Sachdev. He has also opened for such well-known artists as Carlos Santana, Paul Winter, and Narada Michael Walden. Wetheimer is a founding member of the world fusion ensemble Ancient Future and currently performs with his wife Heather as Shantala.
Few musicians play the sarangi and Paramashivan is one of only two sarangi players in the entire south India. He is a disciple of sarangi maestro Padma Vibhushan Pt. Ram Narayan. Paramashivan worked as an associate music director for kannada cinema and tele-serials. He extended vocal support and played sitar, veena and sarangi for movies, tele-serials, dance ballets and other musical projects. On sarangi he has given numerous solo performances, accompaniment support to leading vocalists and has provided lehra saathi for tabla and kathak dance shows. He has given performances in India, USA, Europe and South Korea and is currently a graduate student at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.
Kahn will lead a workshop on Saturday and Sunday, March 5 and 6, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., at the Ashland Community Center. Entitled Natural Breath of the Heart: Cultivating the Inner Life in Harmony With the Outer Life. the workshop features teachings, Dances of Universal Peace and meditation. Register at www.stclairevents.com or call 541-535-3562.