Bidding farewell to 2010 and heralding in 2011 was fairly predictable. The usual barrage of the Best and Worst of 2010, the same set of what-do-you-expect-from-the-New-Year questions in most publications, and the even more predictable New Year messages beamed out by celebrities wishing television viewers a “rocking/lovely/ happening/happy/wonderful” 2011.
It is a little difficult to be optimistic at a time when breaking news almost always announces more scams, corruption, criminal negligence and apathy, but Indian musicians do have a little something to cheer about. This year, we have at least two Indian musicians nominated for the Grammys. I say “at least” because there could well be more tucked away somewhere, unsung, un-felicitated and neglected in their own country.
Tabla player Sandeep Das is a nominee for the 53rd Grammy awards in the category Best Classical Crossover Album. Das plays a track written specially for him for the album Off the Map(http://www.silkroadproject.org/MusicArtists/Recordings/tabid/167/Default.aspx). Based in Delhi, Das is known to lovers of classical music as an acclaimed and worthy disciple of the late tabla maestro Kishan Maharaj. On 13 February, by virtue of his being a featured artiste on the album Off the Map, he could become an Indian musician with a Grammy to his credit.
Sarangi player Dhruba Ghosh could also be doing the country proud as he too has been nominated for a Grammy by virtue of his participation in the album Miho: Journey to the Mountain(http://www.webradiogratis. com/en/inspiration-in-a-heavily -realm/). Ghosh plays on the track Dawn Raga, recorded for the album at the Miho Museum in Japan.
Beat it: Tabla player Sandeep Das is a nominee for the 53rd Grammy awards. Todd Rosenberg
The short description of the museum itself is rather intriguing, and I want desperately to buy the album. Sadly, it is not available in India, may never be for that matter, and at the moment, is sold out even on Amazon.com.
Bansuri player Steve Gorn, who is not Indian, but plays the bansuri (and who will play for the Baajaa Gaajaa festival in Pune in February), is also a Grammy nominee for the same album, and there are at least two musicians of Indian origin, namely pianist Vijay Iyer and singer Chandrika Krishnamurthy Tandon, who have been nominated for the Grammys in different categories. Tandon’s album Om Namo Narayanaya: Soul Call was composed by Kolkata-based sarod player Tejendra Narayan Majumdar.
So what am I getting at here? A couple of points actually:
• More Indian music and musicians are getting recognition internationally, but what about their home ground? How many of us know of these Grammy-nominated musicians and their work, and shouldn’t we be cheering for them and sending them good wishes?
• How many of our Indian labels have recorded these musicians in the last few years, and why aren’t albums produced in India getting this kind of international recognition? Why do these accolades come their way only when the producers or record labels are non-Indian?
Think about this, but spare a moment to tweet, email, SMS your support to all the nominees from India. They could well give you an even more pleasant surprise in 2012.
Write to Shubha at firstname.lastname@example.org