Sandeep Das

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Sandeep Das

Sandeep Das; Sandeep Das

As an Artist

Sandeep Das is considered one of the leading Tabla exponents in the world today. His collaboration with the Silk Road Ensemble for “Sing me Home” won the Grammy Award for the Best World Music Album. Prior to this win, he was nominated for the Grammy Award in 2005 and 2009. A professional career spanning 23 years has seen him composing and playing with the Legendary Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble, String quartets and Orchestra’s such as The New York Philharmonic, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the The Boston Symphony Orchestra to name a few.

His concerts have taken him regularly to major centers of music around the globe, some examples being Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Royce Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Hollywood Bowl, The Kennedy Center and The Concertgebouw. To his credit he has 40 CD’s, three of which have been Grammy nominated.

As a Composer

Sandeep’s works have received rave reviews all over the world. His composition King Ashoka, commissioned by The Harvard Divinity School, was recently premiered at University of California, Santa Barbara by Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble.

His compositions have received rave reviews. Tarang, was chosen as the theme music for Blind Sight, a documentary about the first climb of Mount Everest. Mohini, became the theme music for the Japanese television channel NHK’s 10-episode documentary on the Silk Road.

Srishti, for percussion ensemble, is a pure percussive joy. It has been performed worldwide, with its performance venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to The Royal Albert Hall.

As an Educator

Sandeep’s experience of training with his guru for 12 years has made him a sought after educator throughout the entire world. His own learning experience differs vastly from western musical tradition, and provides a unique context for students and ensembles to learn from him. In addition to a private studio, he has taught regularly, from 2012-2017, at the Harvard Ed School Summer institute, and at the Silk Road Ensemble’s Global Musician’s Workshop.

He has served as an artist in residence at many major Colleges and Universities throughout the United States. These institutions include, Dartmouth University, Brandeis University, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Clara , College of the Holy Cross, Juilliard school of Music, Berklee School of Music, and UC British Columbia to name a few.

His masterclass topics included varied topics like, “Passion Driven Learning,” “Art of Communication”, “Indian Music and Dance”, “ The Rhythms of Life”, “ Living Traditions” and “Preserving Culture through tradition.”

Personal life

Grammy winner Sandeep Das has a Patna connect , February 15, 2017, The Hindustan Times

Sandeep Das with his mother and wife; Shiv Kumar Singh; February 15, 2017, The Hindustan Times
Sandeep Das (left) with Shiv Kumar Singh, his first tabla guru in Patna.; Shiv Kumar Singh; February 15, 2017, The Hindustan Times

As a schoolchild, Das used to travel from Patna to Varanasi by train on weekends for his tabla classes with Pt Kishan Maharaj. INDIA Updated: Feb 15, 2017 11:45 IST

From playing tabla on the school desk of Patna to walking up the big stage at the Staples Center in Los Angeles to collect the Grammy Awards, Indian tabla player Sandeep Das has travelled a long and distinguished journey.

“Sing Me Home”, an album which has contribution from Patna-born Das, won the Best World Music Album at the 59th Grammy Awards on Sunday. Das is part of Silk Road Ensemble, a collaborative effort by Chinese-born American Yo-Yo Ma to bring together performers and composers from more than 20 countries.

Das’ journey has not been easy.

“As a schoolchild, he would travel from Patna to Varanasi by train on weekends for his tabla classes with Pt Kishan Maharaj,” said septuagenarian Shiv Kumar Singh, who was Das’ first guru.

“Das first came to me as a seven-year-old. In order to assess, I asked him to repeat after me the first ‘mantra bol’ on tabla — ta, ta, ta. He did it almost as good as me. I immediately knew the child was meant to go places, and look where he has reached now,” said an ebullient Singh.

He reminisced how under his tutelage for four years the boy blossomed as a tabla player before finally moving on to take lessons under Pt Maharaj of Varanasi.

Ashutosh Kumar, an associate professor at B S College, Danapur, who studied with Das from class 1 to 10 at the St Xavier’s high school, Patna, recollects how Das used to play tabla between classes on the school desk. “That was when his father, the late KN Das, saw potential in him and took him to Singh, his first guru,” said Kumar.

“Sandeep was fun-loving. We had the best of times together, sharing samosas in school canteen to even mocking at our friends. He was an avid sportsman, especially in soccer, and an equally brilliant student too. That he got the gold medal in MA English at the BHU was a testimony to his academic brilliance,” added Kumar.

Das last came to Patna in January 2015 when he gave a solo performance for an hour at the Bharatiya Nritya Kala Mandir. Prior to that, he came for the silver jubilee function of his school batch (1985). Das has not forgotten his first guru despite reaching the pinnacle of success. “He spoke to me last night and even today takes online lessons from me. That he has been giving me Rs 5,001 every Guru Purnima shows his love for me,” Singh signed off. Das has humble moorings. His father was an engineer at the BSNL here before he was murdered in 1995.

Das is married to Tripti, a banker in Boston, USA, where he is now settled. They have two daughters — Sakshi, an Odissi dancer, and Sonakshi, who plays the tabla

India comment after Grammy win sparks outrage

February 13, 2017, The Financial Express

Grammy awards: Sandeep Das did India proud at the Grammy awards on Sunday night, but whether the tendency of his homeland to sideline traditional music did him proud is another matter. According to a report in PTI, the tabla player said, “It is not a complaint but merely a wish. I hope there is more awareness about traditional music. I was invited to Harvard University but my alma mater Banaras Hindu University is yet to see something of worth in me.”

However, Das also added that he was very proud to represent the country at the awards show, saying, “ I am very proud of who I am and where I come from be it culturally or musically. I wish there were more acknowledgment from my own country for the music that is deep-rooted and in our blood over glitz and glamour.”

Of course, Sandeep isn’t the only person to face such a dilemma. Many have noted that even Irfan Khan gets more media attention when he is participating in a Hollywood film like Inferno or Life Of Pi than he would ever get for his domestic releases.

Sandeep won in the World Music category for his collaboration with Yo-Yo Ma titled Sing Me Home. On his collaboration, he said, “Nothing grows in isolation and I realise that I have responsibility not just towards India, but also to the people around the world who appreciate it (traditional Indian music).” He had previously been nominated in 2005 and again in 2009. Sandeep beat Anoushka Shankar, who lost yet again at the awards show. The musician sitar player has been nominated six times previously, but can’t seem to catch a break. Her song Land Of Gold had received a nomination in the same category.

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