Born into a family with a rich musical heritage, Vidya Shah is a vocalist who has trained in both North and South Indian musical traditions. Blessed with a rich and captivating voice, she has performed at national and international forum, including the Kennedy Centre in Washington D.C, Asia Society in New York, Assilah Arts Festival in Morroco, The Kala Utsav in Singapore, the Humbolt Forum, Berlin, Germany and the Schaffhauser Jazz Festival, Switzerland. Vidya conducts workshops on music appreciation and spiritual traditions in Indian music. She writes on music for several publications and websites, and has contributed to the Encyclopedia Britannica. She is the Director of Women on Record a Project supported by the Ford Foundation, celebrating the music of Indian gramophone recording artists from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. For this work that showcases an important aspect of the history on Indian music and the making of the market. She is an empanelled artist with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.She is a composer, sings for radio, TV, and documentary films. Her Discography includes “Mere Paas Raho” (Times Music) a tribute to Faiz Ahmed Faiz the Pakistani poet on his Centenary. Vidya’s international discography includes Color Me in Song, Anja (with Karsh Kale), Far From Home(with Medieval Punditz) and Ahsana Om Shanti (with Bill Laswell, Six Degrees and Times Music), In the Forest (Tonus Music, Switzerland). Vidya combines her music with a deep understanding of its social history, which particularly comes through in her thematic performances such as the 'Last Mughal' with author William Dalrymple or her Sufi renditions exploring the feminine in the mystic.
NADEEM SHAH & SHANKAR MUSAFIR
As a child, Nadeem Shah plucked stories from the air, literally. Growing up in the western Uttar Pradesh town of Saharanpur, his life was full of storytellers and poets around the corner, in the marketplace, at home. Everyone could tell a story and everyone walked and talked Ghalib, Faiz, Daagh, and Momin. Umru Ayyar was one of the childhood heroes in the culture he has been born into, along with the likes of Sultana Daku and Sir Syed Ahmed Khan. With Nadeem Shah Suhrawardy Production, he intends to bring these stories and this aesthetics of storytelling, of the literary and the performing arts in Urdu/Hindustani, to a wider audience. One can at present find the following stories being performed under this production. Kahani Pandit Ki. This is a quirky tale about the many, more than often contradictory, shades of human nature. With a tenor that is humorous, the tale raises several pertinent questions about the standing of a woman in society, greed and the pursuit of selfish interests. Through its central characters and the nuances of their devotion to the Kuldevi - the village deity who protects - the tale moves into the realm of fantasies as it negotiates the contours of varied human emotions. This dastanic adaptation of a Rajasthani folk story by Vijaydan Detha has been scripted by Nadeem Shah and performed by him and Shankar Musafir.
DR. VARSHA AGARWAL
Dr. Varsha is an emerging and only female Santoor Player of Sufiyana Gharana. She is one of the most brilliant young artists of Santoor. She has been continuously performing on Santoor in various cities of the country & abroad. She has polished her art by strenuous training and ‘Riyaz’ and has won appreciation from audience all over the country & abroad. She started learning Vocal & Tabla at an age of six from Shri Elahi Bakshji Jhalawar & Shri Girdhari Lalji Dangi, Ajmer. Since then she has been learning Vocal, Tabla & Santoor under the able guidance of Pt. Lalit Mahantji, Ujjain who is a renowned Tabla Artists of Banaras Gharana and a leading disciple of Padmavibhushan Pt. Kishan Maharajji, Varanasi and Lt. Pt. Riz Ramji Desad, Mumbai of Delhi Gharana. At present Dr. Varsha is the ‘Gandabandh’ disciple of renowned Santoor player, Saint of Santoor, king of strings Padam Shri Pandit Bhajan Sopori ji. Dr. Varsha Agrawal is the one and only female artist of Sufiyana Gharana from India who has received international recognition for her brilliant performance on Santoor.
Ajay Shankar Prasanna is an Indian classical flautist and hails from a family of classical musicians. He received his training in flute from his Guru and father, Pandit Bholanath Prasanna, from the Banaras Gharana, who is also the Guru of Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia. Ajay Prasanna started his training in Indian classical music at a tender age of 3 years by simply observing his father play the flute and teach his students. Ajay Prasanna gave his first performance at the age of 6 years in Allahabad Akhil Bhartiya Sangeet Sammelan. Since then he has gone on to enthral audiences with his performances around the world. A rare combination of innovator and traditionalist, All India Radio, which is India's national broadcaster, has bestowed Ajay Prasanna with the ranking of a "Top grade" classical artist. He has significantly expended the expressive possibilities of north Indian classical flute through his masterful blowing technique. Ajay is well known for his incredible melody, fluency, maturity and dexterity in his performance in both the gayaki and tantrakari styles of playing. Ajay Prasanna has wooed audiences in his magnificent solo performances at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London as well as in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Bangkok, Kenya, Russia, France, Austria, Australia, USA, Turkey, Bhutan, Nepal, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and many other countries.