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Visit the Winter Garden at Brookfield place for a daylong Raga Marathon—free performances celebrating the vibrant sounds of South Asia as part of the 2017 New York Guitar Festival, the annual festival that explores virtually every aspect of the guitar’s personality!
In Sanskrit, the word “raga” literally means color, or musical tone. In traditional Indian and Southeast Asian music, it refers to a pattern of notes having characteristic intervals, rhythms, and embellishments, used as a basis for improvisation. “One of the unique characteristics of Indian and South Asian music is the assignment of definite times of the day and night for performing Raga melodies,” explains New York Guitar Festival Co-Founder and Artistic Director David Spelman. “It is believed that at certain hours in the spinning of the Earth, the Raga approaches the height of its melodic beauty and majestic splendor. There are some Ragas that are very attractive in the early hours of the mornings; others that enchant more toward dusk; and yet others reveal their fragrance only near the midnight hour. That’s how we’ve programmed this Marathon.”
Paying respect to tradition, ragas will flow in the Winter Garden from morning until night. An 8:30PM screening of the 1929 silent film A Throw of Dice: A Romance of India will be shown with live musical accompaniment of a world-premiere score, and DJ Rekha will cap off the night with a not-to-be-missed dance party from 10:30PM until midnight.
MAY 19 PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE:
8:00 AM Debashish Bhattacharya & Samir Chatterjee
Bhattacharya, one of the world’s preeminent slide guitarists, performs a morning raga with Chatterjee on tabla.
NOON Anupam Shobhakar
Anupam Shobhakar performs a noon raga with a sarod, a fretless stringed instrument that dates back centuries.
5:00 PM Gyan Riley, Krishna Bhatt, Dan Weiss
Guitarist Gyan Riley, sitarist Krishna Bhatt, and jazz drummer Dan Weiss join forces for an early evening performance.
7:00 PM Debashish Bhattacharya & Samir Chatterjee
Bhattacharya and Chatterjee return in the evening with more melodious sounds.
8:30 PM Silent Film: A Throw of Dice with New Score by Rez Abbasi
Silent cinema returns to Brookfield Place with a screening of the 1929 film A Throw of Dice: A Romance of India, accompanied by a new score performed by guitarist Rez Abbasi’s trio. Based on a story found within the Sanskrit epic, The Mahābhārata, and filmed on location in Rajasthan, the movie stars Seeta Devi as the ravishing beauty Sunita. The composer Nitin Sawhney describes A Throw of Dice as a cross between Cecil B. DeMille, Chaplin, and early Bollywood.
10:30 PM DJ Rekha and Special Guests (to be announced!)
DJ Rekha and special guests spin an in-the-moment mash-up of ragas, EDM, and Punjabi pop until midnight.
ABOUT NEW YORK GUITAR FESTIVAL
Exploring virtually every aspect of the guitar’s personality, the New York Guitar Festival, since 1999, has presented many of the world’s most influential guitarists at Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Sawdust, (Le) Poisson Rouge, 92nd Street Y, Brookfield Place, and other iconic venues, large and small. From multi Grammy-winners to emerging artists, NYGF performers have included masters of the classical repertoire as well as blues & jazz, pop & indie rock, folk & Americana, sounds of Central & South America and genre-defying innovators.