BOSTON–The Berklee Indian Ensemble presents stories and songs about shared, universal human experiences in a concert titled Bridges, at the Berklee Performance Center on May 9. The concert will feature Indian folk, rock, and popular contemporary music; Indian classical (both Hindustani and Carnatic elements) and experimental global jazz influences; and premieres of original student compositions and arrangements.
“Taking into account the tumultuous times we live in, the ensemble decided to work on getting to know each other more as we created art,” said Annette Philip, Artistic Director of the Berklee India Exchange and director of the ensemble. “We began by exploring universal human experiences and how they translate to song. Every culture has lullabies; songs of love, spring, rain, sadness, longing, hope, or celebration.”
Throughout the semester, the ensemble explored documentaries and discussed global racism towards minorities, conflict situations, ways to create inclusive environments for people with special needs, and the evolution of hip-hop culture. The students delved into larger conversations about conflict transformation and resolution.
“We found that several cultural nuances that shaped our identities were commonly misunderstood or misrepresented,” said Philip. “This helped our musicians build bridges by recognizing similarities and differences in their upbringing. People-to-people interaction is at the core of changing mindsets in our classroom, which we hope will impact our students’ future in the world around them.”
Bridges will feature Yazhi Guo, master wind instrumentalist from China; Suhail Yusuf Khan, the youngest Indian sarangi player (Indian classical string instrument) to have toured internationally; turntablist and DJ Stephen Webber, managing director of special initiatives, who introduced the first turntablism course at Berklee; rapper Raydar Ellis, assistant professor of songwriting; Indo-Pakistani student vocalist and rapper Zaid Tabani; Sharayu Mahale, an Indian classical dancer who will fuse hip-hop elements into her performance, and other guests and collaborators representing a total of 16 countries.
Founded in 2011, the Berklee Indian Ensemble is one of the college’s largest and most diverse ensembles and has become home to musicians from over 42 countries. The group is known for its popular music videos, which have amassed more than 29 million views on YouTube.
Berklee Indian Ensemble will presents Bridges at the Berklee Performance Center (BPC), located at 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA, on Tuesday, May 9, at 8:00 p.m.