BOSTON– Having first learned tabla playing in Patna at an early age and later being in the tutelage of Pandit Kishan Maharaj from Benares, Sandeep Das has now left a mark on the Indian classical music scene, and more importantly in the area of collaboration between Indian and Western music genres.
Last month, Das’s collaboration with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble “Sing Me Home” won the Grammy in the Best World Music Album category. Das, who had been nominated for Grammy twice before, has played tabla with the likes of the late Pandit Ravi Shankar, and has been associated with legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble since 2000. Not bad for Das, who grew up in Patna and graduated in English Literature from the Banaras Hindu University.
What does Das think of his Grammy?
“Winning is always fun. But as an artist you don’t create work to win a trophy,” says Das. “I feel very fortunate and lucky that I am part of a great team. It is a victory for the team. I am just lucky to be a member of it.”
In an exclusive video interview with Dr. Manju Sheth on Chai With Manju, Das talks about his growing up, early childhood, his guru, and the impact his father on him.
In 2009, Das founded Harmony and Universality through Music, known as HUM, which provides a common platform in India for artists of the highest caliber from across the world to share their music, tradition and heritage and facilitate an interaction among them.
Das, who settled in Boston about four years ago, teaches students table at his home, and maintains strong connection with his roots in India.
Das is considered one of the leading tabla players in the world today. He has carved out a niche for himself throughout the musical world.
He went to school at St. Xavier’s Patna and then did his intermediate from Patna College, Patna University. Further education took him to Banaras Hindu University and he is a Gold Medalist in English Literature. At the age of sixteen, he had already performed with Ravi Shankar and subsequently with all the stars of Indian music. He was three times the all India drumming champion and was the youngest drummer ever to be graded by All-India radio.
He has cut discs for more than 30 labels including Virgin, Sony and Makar Records, Music Today, Magnasound, and T-Series, among others.