Kavita Das, writer and author of Poignant Song: The Life and Music of Lakshmi Shankar and the STARR Ensemble (an ensemble of talented women musicians), in partnership with the India Center Foundation, brings you “Lakshmi Shankar: A Musical Evolution in One Night,” a storytelling musical production that features curated readings from Poignant Song: The Life and Music of Lakshmi Shankar and musical pieces that immersively trace Shankar’s artistic evolution and expansiveness.
Shankar was born into a South Indian family in a small town in India, flouted social conventions to learn Bharatnatyam and dance as a teenager in the country’s most innovative dance troupe, lent her voice to the award-winning film Gandhi, and earned a Grammy nomination for her Hindustani classical music and legions of fans the world over. Her story offers a new perspective on the journey of Indian music to the West, – that of an Indian female musician. And her more-than-seventy-year career, spanning both South and North Indian musical traditions, as well as pop and fusion, offers the chance to explore Shankar’s evolution as an artist and how these varied traditions came together in her.
STARR Ensemble (Sisterhood of Trina, Amali, Roshni, and Roopa) consists of talented women artists from the South Asian Diaspora including violinist Trina Basu, vocalist Roopa Mahadevan, tabla player Roshni Samlal and cellist Amali Premawardhana. Taking from their rigorous training in Indian classical, jazz, western classical, folk and other genres, they bring to their music an emotional sensitivity, authentic approach to improvisation and openness to new forms. They are part of the Brooklyn Raga Massive Music Collective, as well as several other groups and solo music projects.
Kavita Das writes about culture, race, feminism and their intersections. Nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize, Kavita’s work has been published in Tin House, Longreads, The Atlantic, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Washington Post, Kenyon Review, NBC News Asian America, Guernica, Quartz and elsewhere. Her first book, Poignant Song: The Life and Music of Lakshmi Shankar, is a biography about the Grammy-nominated Hindustani singer who played a pivotal role in bringing Indian music to the West (Harper Collins India, June 2019). Kavita has taught nonfiction writing focused on social issues at The New School and Catapult and is a frequent panelist, speaker and reader at various literary and journalism events. For more information about her, please visit www.kavitadas.com.