Photos from VidyA Live at SFSU Poetry Center. September 15, 2011.

Had a great concert at SFSU as part of San Francisco State’s Poetry Center. We had special guests Eric Vogler on bass and Howard Wiley on drums. They may have a video of the concert later. More pics and updates to come soon…

Photos by Donna Tung.

Carnatic saxophone concert at Red Poppy Art House in San Francisco, 4/23/10. Song List.

Prasant Radhakrishnan on saxophone, Anantha R. Krishnan on mridangam.

Ethavunara – Kalyani – Adi – Thyagaraja
Hiranmayeem Lakshmi – Lalita – Rupakam – Dikshitar
Adamodi – Charukesi – Adi – Thyagaraja
Ellara Krishna – Kambodhi – Rupakam – Thyagaraja
RTP – Lathangi – Misrachapu
Thillana – Shankarabaranam – Tisra Adi – Ponnia Pillai
Bhagyadhe Lakshmi – Madhyamavati – Adi – Purandaradasa

VidyA at SADHANA conference, Julia Morgan Hall and more


Please join us for a wonderful day of activities Thursday, April 1 courtesy of the SADHANA foundation. Please buy tickets to support this full day of events. I will be participating in a panel discussion in the afternoon and VidyA will be performing in the evening after Srinivas Reddy and New Directions.

Here is the program below and link here

First Annual SADHANA Conference 2010
Tradition as Innovation – South Asian Classical Music in the Next Decade
UC Berkeley and The Julia Morgan – Berkeley, CA, April 1, 2010

LECTURE & DISCUSSION  Townsend Center, Gabelle Room – 1pm-3:30pm

          Welcome – Alexander von Rospatt, Department of South & Southeast Asian Studies

          Opening Remarks – Srinivas Reddy, UC Berkeley/SADHANA Foundation

          "South Asian Classical Music in the 20th Century – A Practitioner's Perspective"

Panel Discussion – moderated by Partha Chatterjee and Srinivas Reddy
          Gautam Tejas Ganeshan (Sangati Center)
          Prasant Radhakrishnan (Vidya)
          Sameer Gupta (Namaskar)

FILM SCREENING – The Julia Morgan, 5pm-7:30pm

          "That Which Colors the Mind"  Pt. Nikhil Banerjee documentary
          A Conversation with filmmaker Steven Baigel

PERFORMANCE – The Julia Morgan, 8pm-10:30pm

          Introduction – "Listening to South Asian Classical Music"

          Sitar and Tabla – Srinivas Reddy and Michael Lewis
          New Directions – Gautam Tejas Ganeshan and Anantha R. Krishnan
          VidyA – Prasant Radhakrishnan, Sameer Gupta and David Ewell

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

Recap: Carnatic concerts at San Diego and Irvine, California

I hope you are all doing well. I just thought I would start recapping some of the concerts. I am waiting on pics from UNC, and I will post those as soon as I get them.

The concert at the San Diego IFAASD Festival on April 4 went well. Thanks to the organizers including Shekar Viswanathan, V.V. Sundaram, Mr. Venkatachalam and others. Thanks to those of you who made it to the concert. It was a very warm audience of mostly Carnatic music listeners. The hall was very nice, and they attracted more people this year.

The artists included Nishanth Chandran on Violin, Kalyan Vaidyanathan on mridangam and Cleveland Balu on Kanjira. Mr. Balu has been heavily involved in the Cleveland Aradhana and has seen me since I first performed in Cleveland more than ten years ago. He graciously filled in for T.V. Vasan (ghatam) who was billed to play the concert, but could not make it due to a flight cancellation in New York.

The main raga was Saaramathi for Thyagaraja’s Mokshamu. Here is a brief clip of some swara exchanges in an unusual ragam: Kantamani. A listener from the audience sent this in. Other ragams from the concert included, Gowrimanohari, Jaganmohini, Ananda Bhairavi, Kambodhi and a few more.

It was also a pleasure to meet Thiravarur Krishnan and his wife there. They shared some fun anecdotes about traveling with Vikku Vinayakaram, V.V. Subramaniam and Trichy Shankaran in the old days. Upon receiving the special award, veena artist Geetha Bennett gave a moving speech about her father, the great S. Ramanathan and also her husband, Frank Bennett. To be honest, I was almost moved to tears. It reminded everyone that the concert stage is just the tip of a much larger mass of deep relationships and interactions that creates the music we cherish.

Here are some photos from the concert, more on flickr.




The Irvine concert the next day on April 5 was also very nice, with Ektaa Center’s extremely intimate setting to contrast a larger hall setting. It was not only a concert, but also an interactive event. Basically that means I talked more than usual and took questions after the concert. The artists included Nishanth Chandran again on Violin and Shubha Chandramouli on mridangam, one of Poovalur Sriji’s disciples. All performed admirably. It was a pleasure to play at Ektaa Center, and I will be returning there often for other such events.

I was glad to see a good crowd of listeners despite the last minute arrangement of the event, and the listeners were from a mix of backgrounds. They had some very good questions, and it made me think that I should do more events like this. Thanks to Mr. Murthy for arranging the event. More photos on flickr.





Nishanth, Me and Shubha.

Nefasha Ayer at Brava Theater Pictures

Hello everyone. So far things have been going pretty well at the start of 2009, despite all the gloom surrounding the economy. We just need to stay positive I suppose…

We had a blast performing at the Brava Theater on February 6th and 7th. Both shows were packed. It was fun playing with such a diverse group. It included:

Meklit Hadero: vocals
Todd Brown: Guitar
Prasant Radhakrishnan: Tenor Saxophone
Keenan Webster: Balafon/Mbira/Kora and more
Abdi Jibril: Conga/Cahon and others (sad to see Abdi moving to Kenya, this was his last show in the states before moving.)
Mohini Rustagi: Drums
Lalo Izquierdo : Cajon
Gabriel Teodros: Spoken word hip-hop
Michael Warr: Poetry
Marcus Shelby: Bass
Howard Wiley: Tenor Saxophone
Adrian Arias: Poetry

Hope I didn’t miss anyone. There was every type of song in there, from poetry with James Brown-esque grooves, mbira and vocal duets with audience sitting on the stage, to “tenor battles” with Howard and I. Of course, it really was more like a complimentary duet than a battle. I still need to get Howard recorded on the podcast. Hopefully in a couple weeks, if not earlier! Overall, it was unique and definitely fun experience.

Here are some pictures. Go to my flickr stream to see all the pictures.











…and lastly, the stage moment, taken from my cell phone behind the stage…