Music is life, a gift from heaven, and it is infinite. I am grateful to the Gods, my teachers, and my musical friends to have been able to experience a little bit of the vastness of it in my life.
Kundalika is the name I use for my work and my collaborations. It is a Sanskrit word for circle. My favorite form of music is improvised music, both traditional and across traditions. When improvising, my friends and I often sit in a circle. We find something in the seemingly empty space between the players. Sometimes we can hear, for a few moments of synchronicity, the echoes of anahata, the first, unstruck sound that birthed the universe.
I have been a performing musician for more than two decades. I am trained in Hindustani (North Indian) classical percussion (tabla) and melody (mohan veena). I also perform Hindustani-style melody on a lap steel guitar and a "banjabab," a fretless tenor banjo I modified (see the instruments page for more information). I also occasionally perform percussion on the dumbek, pakhawaj, and ghatam. I am a member of the Board and a performer in the DC-based Indian music and dance company Nootana.
In addition to playing traditional Hindustani music, I have also been lucky to collaborate with musicians from traditions such as Carnatic (South Indian classical), American (especially jazz, bluegrass), Japanese, Chinese, and African. I am currently collaborating with Graham Smith-White's world music project, Sunrise Review, and the Alex Martin Quartet jazz ensemble. I also compose cross-tradition electronic music.
I have been lucky to learn from many wonderful musicians and friends over the years, thank you all! I lack the words to adequately express my gratitude. In alphabetical order:
- Soumya Chakraverty, Hindustani melody
- Pandit Samir Chatterjee, tabla
- Raquy Danziger, dumbek
- Ajay Dholakia, tabla
- Alex Martin, jazz
- Neel Murgai, Hindustani melody
- Debu Nayak, tabla
- Ajeet Pathak, tabla
- Rich Robeson, improvisation, jazz, musical spirituality, musical health, and many other topics
- Meera Shenoy, my mother, who taught me to be myself, in music and in life