LEXINGTON, MA— The spectacular performance by the six-member SAKHI band led by India’s top vocalist of the modern generation Kaushiki Chakraborty made a history in Boston on Friday. It was the first time that an all-women band of Indian classical musicians and dancer performed in Boston. Also, it was the first time that many in audience saw a woman musician playing Pakhawaj. (Photo: Rasik Mehta)
The SAKHI event, which was organized by INE MultiMedia, a non-profit company, in collaboration INDIA New England News, was held on Friday to a full house at the National Heritage Museum in Lexington, MA.The event was sponsored by Harvard Pilgrim HealthCare, which is consistently ranked among the nation’s highest rated health plans, and supported by LearnQuest Academy of Music. The event was emceed by Mandy Deb Pant and Deepti Navaratna.
“I have always said that the mission of INE MultiMedia rests on four pillars: enrichment, education, empowerment and entertainment. I have to say that this unique show fulfilled all these criteria as six extraordinary artists from India kept the audience mesmerized with enriching stories of Indian womanhood through the centuries, empowering us as we got educated about our rich culture in a beautiful blend of music and dance, leaving us entertained and enthralled in the process ,” said Dr. Manju Sheth, president of INE MultiMedia. “A super successful show of this magnitude was possible due to generous support of our sponsor, Harvard Pilgrim HealthCare, our great friends and our supportive community. This was truly one of the best audiences that we have ever had. I want to thank each and everyone who helped make this show so successful.”
Greater Boston’s community leaders also honored the artists who visited Boston from India. Community leaders included Venkat Srinivasan, Vice Chair of American India Foundation; Rep. Latha Mangipudi, House of Representatives, New Hampshire; Puran Dang, Chairman Emeritus, MITHAS; Pradeep Shukla, Founder and President, Learnquest Academy of Music; Rekha Chitre, a local pioneer who started to bring classical musicians to Boston from India; and Mohan Subramaniam, a celebrity local singer.
SAKHI is India’s first and the only only-women band of young classical musicians.
The SAKHI band includes the following:
TABLA by Shaoni Talwalkar, the daughter of tabla player Pandit Suresh Talwalkar and vocalist Bidushi Padma Talwalkar.
PAKHWAJ by Mahima Upadhyay, daughter of pakhwaj player Pandit Ravi Shankar Upadhyay.
FLUTE by Debopriya Chatterjee, a disciple of Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia.
VIOLIN by Bidushi N Rajam’s granddaughter Nandini Shankar.
DANCE by Pandit Birju Maharaj’s disciple Bhakti Deshpande.
SINGING by Kaushiki Chakraborty, whose talent ranges from classical to semi-classical Thumris. She is also the daughter of famous Indian vocalist from Bengal: Ajoy Chakraborty.
In January when Sakhi was launched in India, Chakraborty told Times of India: “Sakhi means friend. We will tell stories of womanhood through music and dance. It is our humble effort to pay tribute to the Indian women — Ganga, Saraswati, Durga, Lakshmi, Draupadi, Kunti, Sita, Radha and Meera — whose contribution to Indian music and dance remains as anonymous as their existence.”