Project with Kiranavali Vidyasankar: Tradition – An Evolving Continuum

I’m looking forward to participating in a new project spearheaded by Carnatic vocalist Kiranavali Vidyasankar. Her new project, Tradition – An Evolving Continuum was funded by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and is the first music grant they have ever awarded. The project will culminate in a concert on November 7th, 2015 in Philadelphia.


From the official website of the project, Carnatic Tradition:

This project will result in a two-part performance with the first part featuring a Vocal concert of Kiranavali accompanied by V V S Murari (Violin), Vinod Seetharaman (Mridangam), Ravi Balasubramaniam (Ghatam) and Akshay Anantapadmanabhan (Kanjira). The second part of the performance will the feature the newly-formed ensemble.

Besides conceptualizing this project and composing music for the new ensemble, Kiranavali will lead it as the Vocalist and Chitravina artist. Accomplished Mridangam player Vinod Seetharaman will collaborate with Kiranavali in arranging the percussion section of the new compositions. Six guest artists from different parts of the United States complete the ensemble: V V S Murari (Violin), Nirmala Rajasekar (Vina), N Muralikrishnan (Electronic keyboard), Prasant Radhakrishnan (Saxophone), Ravi Balasubramaniam (Ghatam) and Akshay Anantapadmanabhan (Rhythmic solfage and Kanjira).

As part of the project, each artist gave an interview and spoke briefly about their instrument in the realm of Carnatic music. Below are some videos on the saxophone from my interview. What is said here is really just a taste, perhaps to inspire further inspiration or interest. I also wrote a brief article on the subject here. Please check the website regularly to see all the other artists, their interviews as well as their articles.

Ethnic Dance Festival with Charlotte Moraga June 29th and 30th, 2013

I’m looking forward to performing with an outstanding Kathak dancer, Charlotte Moraga this weekend at the Ethnic Dance Festival in San Francisco. We are doing a piece called “Conference in Nine” based on poetry by Rumi. Musically, the piece was a collaboration from all of us and  based on one of my earlier compositions, “DSH” in Shanmugapriya. Charlotte is in great form so definitely make sure to come see this!


Musicans are: Ben Kunin: Sarod, Samrat Kakkeri: Tabla and myself on alto saxophone.

Bodhidharma Ensemble at Berkeley Redwood Grove June 20th, 2013

The premier of Prasant's original work Bodhidharma Ensemble, May 2013. Wang Fei - Guqin, Jim Santi Owen - Tabla.

The premier of Prasant’s original work Bodhidharma Ensemble, May 2013. Wang Fei – Guqin, Jim Santi Owen – Tabla.

Double header with Gautam Tejas Ganeshan.

Featuring Wang Fei – Guqin, Sankar Narayan – Mridangam and Prasant Radhakrishnan – saxophone.

Thursday Early Evening
June 20th, 5:30pm at the
UC Botanical Garden

Info for the concert.

More about Bodhidharma Ensemble.

Bodhidharma Ensemble is funded, set to premiere May 4th!

First of all, thank you for your amazing support!

Thanks to a successful kickstarter campaign, and funding from the East Bay Fund for Artists and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Bodhidharma Ensemble (BE) will premiere at Oakland Asian Cultural Center on May 4, 2013. We are honored to have received both the generosity from listeners as well as acknowledged by these eminent funding organizations.

Here is a quick intro to what the project is about from our Kickstarter page.

Working on this project continues to be an inspiring journey, taking this music in a very different but somehow completely natural direction. BE combines South Indian and Chinese classical music with saxophone, guqin and mridangam through original and traditional compositions. The cultural, musical and spiritual ethos around this project is immense and profound. To share a few glimpses of this, there will be posts about these various aspects on this blog and on OACC’s website leading up to the performance. Please check back here often to find out more.

Bodhidharma is known as an enlightened master. His reputation is both legendary and mysterious, with most accounts of him being anecdotal and some falling into tall-tale territory. However, contemplation on Bodhidharma, on what he represents and to where his teachings point reveals a vast, unknowable space. We hope to find inspiration for this new music from those depths and see what is revealed.


Exclusive Artist Preview and Donor Reception at OACC 11/8

I’m excited to invite you to the first artist preview of my new project combining Indian and Chinese classical music, Bodhidharma Ensemble. It will be held at Oakland Asian Cultural Center tomorrow, November 8th.

We will be presenting two brief pieces as an extremely early taste of some of the sounds you will hear in the final project. It will be myself on saxophone and guqin master Wang Fei. The final project will also include mridangam.

If you are in the area, please come out and enjoy some free food and learn more about the project! I will be posting more about what the project is all about and the concepts behind it, but in the meantime, check out the kickstarter page here:

We cordially invite you to attend a special Artist Preview

& Reception

The Bodhidharma Ensemble:

A Chinese & Indian Music Collaboration

Please join us in attending this very special artist preview & reception of the oakland asian cultural center’s world premiere of the bodhidharma ensemble led by master artist, prasant radhakrishnan

thursday, November 8, 2012

5:30pm – 7:30pm

oakland asian cultural center
388 ninth street, suite 290
2nd fl, pacific renaissance plaza
oakland, ca

r.s.v.p to or call 510.637.0464

A review of our SMU concert

Photo of Prasant performing a Carnatic concert

Prasant performing with Patri Satish Kumar and Thripunithura Radhakrishnan in 2009. Photo courtesy SMU.

Just got this link in my e-mail. Thanks to this student at SMU who wrote a brief article about our performance at SMU back in September featuring Patri Satish Kumar and Thiripunithura N. Radhakrishnan. It’s nice to see a perspective of how the music made her feel rather than a song list and technical breakdown of ragas/talas etc. I was moved. A little excerpt:

The first song starts with Radhakrishnan on the saxophone, and it draws me in. I can feel all tension in the air start to melt away, leaving a sense of raw, unadulterated discovery hanging overhead. The man to the left of me closes his eyes, hums softly, and becomes enveloped in the music. As the percussionists enter the song, Radhakrishnan plays as if in a trance. He and his instrument are one and we as the audience witness a conversation between man and music. It is just extraordinary! There is really no way with words to describe the kind of communication between Radhakrishnan and the notes he is playing around him, or the way that it makes me feel.

The whole thing is at

Jazz at Intersection presents VidyA at the De Young Museum

This will be a special performance featuring a new commissioned composition on a piece in the De Young museum. I sincerely hope you can join us. Admission is free.


VidyA – Friday Nights at the de Young presents Jazz at Intersection


Fri, Sep 11 | 6:30pm – 8:30pm | FREE


With an almost telepathic interplay, VidyA merges the virtuosity of Jazz with the melodic and rhythmic nuance of South Indian classical (Carnatic) music.


Prasant Radhakrishnan – saxophone; Sameer Gupta – drums; and special guest Eric Vogler – bass


“Imagine ragas and American blues folded into a single moment.” – San Francisco Chronicle


“…when these patterns are played on saxophone, violin, string bass, and jazz drums, there is a build-up of emotional energy and intellectual complexity which seems to recreate the energy that was present at the birth of bebop in 1940s New York. In fact, if Charlie Parker or Dizzie Gillespie had heard VidyA at that time, I think it would have never have occurred to them that VidyA’s music was Indian. They would simply have wondered where these cats had found a sound that was so mercilessly free of the standard melodic and rhythmic clichés.” -Teed Rockwell, India Currents


de Young – Inside Wilsey Court
Golden Gate Park, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118


More Information here.


(415) 626-2787 x.109

How I Started Meditation and Healing Raga Sessions

[Note Dec 2016: This is an old post. If you would like the hear the current expression of this, see the music section to download meditation albums and look at Ragas on saxophone for meditation, enlightenment and Self Realization / liberation.

See Prasant’s YouTube Channel with several raga meditations and contemplations for establishing yourself in the Source. Also see the Satsang page.]

I have received several e-mails and questions in general about this, so I thought I would just explain for everyone.

Earlier this year, I decided to try something a bit different from my usual concert format as an experiment.

I had studied a few different types of healing techniques under Guruji Sri Yogacharya Arun Kumarji in India some years back and had been practicing it ever since, though I must admit, not as regularly as I should have. It was quite by chance that I came into this study, but that is a story for another time. During my last visit, Guruji expressed that I should do more with combining this healing with music. At that time, I wasn’t quite sure how to go about it, or whether I should. After all, Guruji had cured patients of all kinds of major chronic illnesses, but for me to claim anything myself would be a bit much. My mother is also an expert in these methods and has helped many.

That changed later, when I reminded myself that trying to do a little extra good in the world when you can — even just a little, is better than not doing it at all. Music can be healing in nature even without imposing any specific healing techniques upon it. With the additional intent and technique of healing added, the music would act more as a conduit or path for the listener to engage further. It took me some time to put worries aside about what others may think and just do it. I feel music is a special source of joy and strength for myself, but it is equally important to share that with others. The meditative and healing aspect of music is one facet that draws people who seek nourishment from music. By developing a combination of energy healing with music that is already innately meditative, something potentially stronger or at least more helpful, could be formed.

The method of healing used cleanses all the major and minor chakras in the body. This is combined with rendering of various ragas to coincide with the healing process. In order to be able to focus on this process, while allowing for a relaxing and uninterrupted experience for listeners, I decided that the format should be simply solo with no accompaniment and no specific tala (time meter). I resolved to record and release a series of albums (the first of which will be released soon) to share this music with the world.

A little time passed and the thought dawned on me to also do this in person, live. I told my friend and creator of the Sangati Center, Gautam, about my idea over dinner one day. He readily agreed out of his openness to new ideas, though I’m sure he wondered what I would finally do.

I planned for a live session to last approximately one hour. We had done minimal publicity for the event and I had no idea what to expect. There was a small group of people at the start, which was encouraging. I gave a brief introduction of what I was about to do and explained that it wasn’t a regular Carnatic concert, but more of a session. It’s best for people to relax and just be themselves, if one doesn’t want to meditate or close their eyes, it’s ok.

I closed my eyes and began. Some ragas were planned, and others chosen on the fly as the session continued. Various patterns emerged including some thanam-like phrases and some like swara improvisations in addition to general raga elaborations. When I opened my eyes it had been about 1 hour and 15 minutes and to my surprise, the audience had multiplied. Most still had their eyes closed, while a good number of people were staring right at me, wondering what I would do next. After instructing people that it the session was over and everyone slowly stood up, I got a chance to talk to some people. I found out that many didn’t know it would be a “session” and were expecting a regular concert, but still stayed. That was a good sign.

It was overall a good experience and Gautam, the director of the Sangati Center, and I have agreed to do schedule this monthly in addition to my regular Carnatic concerts. I would encourage you to check out this other type of music I am doing. If you have heard any of the raga elaborations in my Carnatic concerts and CD’s, it wont be a big departure for you. Here is an example similar to what you will hear on the CD.

Bhairavi Ragam mp3

I hope that answers your questions, and if you have any others, just send me an e-mail or leave a comment. prasant at prasantmusic dot com.

Those of you who are listeners of VidyA and my Carnatic concerts, not to worry. This is in addition and my main vocation will still be behind those endeavors.

Who knows, at the very least, it is a great way to help your baby (or you) enjoy a relaxing moment — maybe a little afternoon nap?

Please keep an eye on this blog and my calendar for future dates and information on the CD releases.

Take Care!

P.S. VidyA at San Jose Jazz, Yoshi’s and SFJazz this summer!

Carnatic saxophone concert at San Diego IFAASD, March 15, 2008

I am writing from Boston today. I am here for a couple concerts. I just finished one yesterday, which went well at Brandeis University. I performed with Phil Scarff and his Indian-Jazz-West African group Natraj.

A couple weeks ago, I performed at San Diego for the inaugural Music and Dance festival there. It was organized well, especially considering it was the first year. I enjoyed playing for the San Diego audience, who were very warm and receptive.

Concert at San Diego Indian Fine Arts

Concert from the side

Prasant Radhakrishnan

Mr. Venkatachalam's speech after the concert

Recap of concert at Ektaa Center, Irvine, CA

This is a bit overdue, but I thought I would do a quick recap of a concert from August 2007 at the Ektaa Center in Irvine, California. Personnel included myself on saxophone, Ajay Narasimha on Violin and Poovalur Srinivasan on Mridungam. It was the first time playing with Ajay, and had been quite a while since I had played with Poovalur /br /I had played a concert with Howard Wiley, David Ewell and Sameer Gupta the night before at the Red Poppy in San Francisco. That was a great show, which I will elaborate upon later. So I drove down directly to the concert hall from the bay /br /a onblur=”try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}” href=””img style=”margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer;” src=”” alt=”” border=”0″ //abr /The hall was very intimate and I was actually able to do the concert without a microphone. There was a good connection between the three of us musically. Ajay did a nice job and of course Poovalur sir provided seamless and beautiful mridungam playing as /br /I was fortunate to get most of the concert on video. Here are a few clips from the concert. The first is the timeless Swati Tirunal composition “Deva Deva.” The other is the beginning of the ragam in the Ragam Thanam Pallavi (main piece of the concert).br /br /object height=”355″ width=”425″param name=”movie” value=”″param name=”wmode” value=”transparent”embed src=”″ type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” wmode=”transparent” height=”355″ width=”425″/embed/objectbr /Deva Devabr /br /object height=”355″ width=”425″param name=”movie” value=””param name=”wmode” value=”transparent”embed src=”” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” wmode=”transparent” height=”355″ width=”425″/embed/objectbr /Lathangi Ragambr /br /I will post more from this concert /br /Some pictures from this concert and the Boston concert a href=””here/a.div class=”blogger-post-footer”a href=””Visit Prasant’s website/a | a href=””Buy CD’s/a/div