Concert by the Just Alap Raga Ensemble

in the MELA Dream House

Saturday, March 27, 9 pm

Tribute to Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan Sahib



Raga Sundara, vilampit khayal set in Raga Yaman Kalyan

La Monte Young

La Monte Young, voice
Marian Zazeela, voice
Jung Hee Choi, voice

Da’ud Constant, voice
Rose Okada, sarangi
Brad Catler, tabla
The Tamburas of Pandit Pran Nath from the Just Dreams CD



MELA Foundation Dream House
275 Church Street, 3rd Floor, Between Franklin & White Streets in Tribeca
Saturday, March 27, 2004, 9 pm

Admission $24.  MELA Members, Seniors, Student ID, $18.
Limited seating.  Advance reservations recommended.

 A Concert of Evening Ragas in the contemporary Kirana Style of North Indian Classical Music will be performed by La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela with their Just Alap raga ensemble, in a memorial tribute honoring Pandit Pran Nath’s Guru, Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan Sahib, the greatest master of the Kirana gharana during his lifetime on Saturday, March 27, at 9 pm in the MELA Foundation Dream House light environment, 275 Church Street, 3rd Floor.  PLEASE NOTE:  The Dream House Sound and Light Environment will be closed on Saturday, March 27 in preparation for the scheduled concert. 
La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela will be accompanied by Jung Hee Choi, voice, Da’ud Constant, voice, Rose Okada, sarangi, Brad Catler, tabla, and The Tamburas of Pandit Pran Nath from the Just Dreams CD.  The Just Alap ensemble will present the avant-premiere of a new composition by La Monte Young, “Raga Sundara,” a vilampit khayal set in Raga Yaman Kalyan, composed under a commission grant from the NYSCA Individual Artists Program

Pandit Pran Nath has said, "Alap is the essence of Raga.  When the drut [faster tempo] begins, the Raga is finished."  With the Just Alap ensemble, La Monte Young applies his own compositional approach to traditional raga performance, form and technique: a pranam (bow) of gratitude in reciprocation for the influence on his music, since the mid-fifties, of the unique, slow, unmetered timeless alap, and for one of the most ancient and evolved vocal traditions extant today.  Featuring extended alap sections and sustained vocal drones in just intonation over tamburas, Young and Zazeela premiered this ensemble on August 22, 2002 in a memorial tribute to Ustad Hafizullah Khan, the late Khalifa of the Kirana Gharana and son of Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan Sahib.   

Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan’s revival of the khayal at the turn of the century stands, in itself, as a virtually unparalleled contribution in the recent history of Indian classical music.  Although a youthful prodigy of the Kolhapur court, remaining unchallenged after his public debut there at the age of 18, he had not the inclination to spend time singing in the courts.  Instead, he lived a devout, reclusive life, singing in the presence of holy men and at the tombs of Sufi saints, and only occasionally sang in public.  His command of the art was of such stature that no other musician ever performed in his presence.  Requiring rigorous discipline and fierce devotion, he took very few disciples; among them Pran Nath became the most important through his ceaseless practice, natural talent, and extraordinary ability to serve his teacher.


La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela helped bring Pandit Pran Nath to the U.S. and became his first Western disciples, studying with him for twenty-six years in the traditional gurukula manner of living with the guru.  Young and Zazeela have taught the Kirana style and performed with Pandit Pran Nath since 1970 in hundreds of concerts in India, Iran, Europe and the United States.  In June 2002, Young was conferred the title of Khan Sahib by Khalifa Hafizullah Khan Sahib. 
Pandit Pran Nath, who passed away on June 13, 1996, virtually introduced the vocal tradition of North Indian classical music to the West in 1970.  His 1971 morning performance at New York’s Town Hall was the first concert of morning ragas to be presented in the U.S.  Subsequently, he introduced and elaborated to Western audiences the concept of performing ragas at the proper time of day by scheduling entire series of concerts at special hours.  Many students and professional musicians came to him in America to learn about the vast system of raga and to improve their musicianship.  Pran Nath presented annual Raga Cycle concert series in New York and established his own school under the direction of La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela, the Kirana Center for Indian Classical Music, now a project of MELA Foundation.  In Fall 1993 he inaugurated the MELA Foundation Dream House with three Raga Cycle concerts and continued to perform here throughout his lifetime. 
Pran Nath's majestic expositions of the slow alap sections of ragas combined with his emphasis on perfect intonation and the clear evocation of mood had a profound impact on Western contemporary composers and performers.  In addition to Young and Zazeela, minimalist music composer Terry Riley became one of his first American disciples.  Fourth-world trumpeter Jon Hassell, jazz all‑stars Don Cherry and Lee Konitz, composers Jon Gibson, Yoshimasa Wada, Rhys Chatham, Michael Harrison and Allaudin Mathieu, Sufi Pir Shabda Kahn, mathematician and composer Christer Hennix, concept artist and violinist Henry Flynt, dancer Simone Forti, and many others took advantage of the opportunity to study with the master.
Admission is $24 / $18 MELA members; seniors; students with ID.  Limited seating.  Advance reservations recommended.  For further information email or visit
MELA's programs are made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency, and generous contributions from individuals and MELA Members.



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