Sitar beneath the stars |

Sitar beneath the stars

Master sitar players Pandit Shivnath Mishra and son, Deobrat Mishra, perform classical Indian music with their ensemble this Sunday at the outdoor amphitheatre overlooking serene Lotus Lake at Ananda’s Expanding Light Retreat, Nevada City (on the Ridge).

World acclaimed musicians, the Mishras are embarking on a 2008 summer tour of North America, in support of their Academy of Classical Indian Music in Benares. The school was founded to preserve and teach the sacred, traditional style of North Indian ‘raga’, one of the oldest forms of improvisatory and devotional music, and is open to students and children of any caste or family circumstances who wish to learn and study their rich musical heritage of over 5,000 years.

The sitar, which evolved from the Persian lutes played in the courts of the moghuls for hundreds of years, was popularized in the west by Ravi Shankar and his association with the Beatles. A resonant string instrument made of wood and gourd, when the upper strings are plucked, the lower strings vibrate sympathetically, providing harmonic resonance. ‘Raga’, or “music of the gods”, originated as devotional, ritual temple music, which later found its way into the courts of the Indian kings and queens. This fusion of the sacred and the worldly is what is said to create raga’s richness and depth.

Performing with the Mishras will be the renowned Marko Zonka on tabla, and Felicity Gerwing on tamboura and swarmandala.

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