CELEBRATING MELA's 20th YEAR & La Monte Young's 70th BIRTHDAY YEAR
The Just Alap Raga Ensemble
Pandit Pran Nath 87th
Birthday Memorial Tribute
Concerts in the MELA Dream House
Saturdays, October 29 and
November 5, 9 pm
La Monte Young, voice
Marian Zazeela, voice
Jung Hee Choi, voice
Da'ud Constant, voice
Rose Okada, sarangi
Naren Budhkar, 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
Saturdays, October 29 and November 5, 2005, 9 pm
Admission $24. MELA Members, Seniors, Student ID, $18.
Limited seating. Advance reservations recommended.
Two Concerts of Evening Ragas in the contemporary Kirana Style of North Indian Classical Music will be performed by La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela with The Just Alap Raga Ensemble in a memorial tribute honoring Pandit Pran Nath on his 87th birthday, Saturdays, October 29 and November 5, at 9 pm in the MELA Foundation Dream House light environment, 275 Church Street, 3rd Floor. PLEASE NOTE: The Dream House will be closed on Thursdays and Saturdays, October 27, 29, November 3 and 5 because of the scheduled concerts.
Pandit Pran Nath has said, "Alap
is the essence
of Raga. When the
[faster tempo] begins, the Raga is finished." With the
ensemble, La Monte Young applies his own compositional approach to traditional
raga performance, form and technique: a
(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
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
Khalifa of the Kirana Gharana and son of Pandit Pran Nath’s teacher, Ustad Abdul
Wahid Khan Sahib. .
La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela will be accompanied by Jung Hee Choi and Da'ud Constant, voices, Rose Okada, sarangi, Naren Budhkar, tabla, and The Tamburas of Pandit Pran Nath from the Just Dreams CD. The Just Alap ensemble will present the continuing 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.
In The Hindustan Times (2003), Shanta Serbjeet Singh wrote:
"[Young and Zazeela] would create works like the "Just Alap Raga Ensemble" which would amaze musicians of the caliber of Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Jasraj or the Gundecha brothers were they to hear it. In fact I wish they would hear it and savour their own legacy of Indian classical music in two new ways, one, by way of the Youngs’ immense sadhna and two, by way of the fact that today the great art of Hindustani Shastriya sangeet has actually become so much a part of the world of music. Did not the ancients say: Vasudeva Kumutbhakam--the world is a family? A work like "Just Raga Ensemble" actually proves it."
In the article, "PRAN NATH, LA MONTE YOUNG AND MARIAN ZAZEELA, TALES OF EXEMPLARY GURU BHAKTI," SPIC MACAY (Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Amongst Young) quarterly magazine "The Eye," it is noted:
"He [Young] is a master of Hindustani classical music. La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela, founders of the MELA Foundation Dream House in New York are responsible for having single-handedly introduced vocal Hindustani classical music to America. In 1970 when they brought renowned master vocalist Pandit Pran Nath of the Kirana Gharana 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, Americans and Westeners only had a nodding acquaintance with Indian music, that too, only instrumental music through the performing tours of Pandit Ravi Shankar. Also some introduction to Indian rhythm techniques through the charismatic playing of Pandit Chatur Lal, the tabla player who always accompanied Ravi Shankar through the sixties. But the deep, unfathomable intricacies of Khayal Gayaki and of the whole cosmos of Alap were totally unknown to them. Indeed, as his many American shishyas, most of them practicing musicians themselves, would say later, even unimaginable. Young and Zazeela, who taught the Kirana style and performed with Pandit Pran Nath since 1970 in hundreds of concerts in India, Iran, Europe and the United States, have continued their Guru’s work in the most exemplary manner. In June 2002, shortly before he died, Khalifa Hafizullah Khan Sahib, Ustad Wahid Khan Sahib’s son and a great sarangi master, conferred on Young the title of Khan Sahib."
Pandit Pran Nath’s 1971 morning performance at Town Hall, New York City, 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. He performed
frequently in New York City and in 1972, 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, Pran Nath
inaugurated the MELA Foundation
with three Raga
and continued to perform here annually during 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.melafoundation.org
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.