Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Devotional and/or Indian...

Click here for info on the city's Eye on India festival, July 8-17.

Thursday, June 23 7:30pm
Krishna Das kirtan (call-and-response chanting)
at The Vic $34 + $12 ticketing fee (unless you buy in person at box office)

Sunday, July 3 8:30pm
Ustad Imran Aziz Mian
Qwali & Sufi Festival 2011

with Raga Boyz
Intercontinental Hotel O'Hare
5300 N. River Road in Rosemont
Tickets $35 and up (at Al-Mansoor Video on Devon Ave.)

Like his father, the great Aziz Mian, Imran's voice is raspy and powerful, and he writes his own lyrics (though, like others, he also sing songs written by other poets).
Imrans Aziz Mian's qawwalis focus more on chorus and on emphasising the main point of the qawwali through repetition; very little attention is paid to the musical part of the qawwali. Imran has a knack for reciting poetry to the effect that touches the audience's hearts. He brought a lot of passion to his live performances. One of the trademarks of his stage performances was his habit of getting carried away and rising to his knees (from the normal sitting position) while reciting poetry in the middle of a qawwali, losing contact with the microphone in the process.
He is fond of discussing religious and Sufi paradoxes in his qawwalis. He directly addresses Allah (God) and complained about the misery of man (the best creation of the Almighty). Most of the poetry in which Aziz Mian addresses Allah was written by Allama Iqbal. He also has performed poetry by a number of contemporary Urdu poets, including Sadiq and Qateel Shifai. A Pakistani comedian Umar Sharif has said in one of his stand-up shows about Imran Aziz Mian: "Other people have disputes on earth, his disputes are in heaven. He altercates with Allah."

Friday, July 8, 8pm
Dr. L. Subramaniam, Carnatic music violin virtuoso
Joined by the Chicago Children's Choir and Natya Dance Theatre
Harris Theater for Music and Dance
205 East Randolph in Chicago
Tickets $35-70
Dr. Subramaniam in from Chennai (Madras) in Tamil Nadu

India's leading violinist, Dr. L. Subramaniam is often called "The God of Indian Violin." Playing in the classical Carnatic style, Subramaniam has made historic collaborations and recordings with Yehudi Menuhin, Stephane Grappelli, Herbie Hancock, Jean Luc Ponty, Corky Siegel and Ravi Coltrane. Over the years he has created works for the world's greatest orchestras including The New York Philharmonic (with Zubin Mehta), The Swiss Romande Orchestra, The Kirov Ballet, The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, and The Berlin Opera (Global Symphony), a live concert which was broadcast simultaneously across 28 nations to millions of viewers.

Thursday, July 14 6:30pm
Susheela Raman at Millenium Park

One of the most interesting musicians to emerge amongst the South Asian Diaspora, Susheela is equally at home with South Indian Classical as with Jimi Hendrix, Fela Kuti, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Aretha Franklin (plus she is of Tamil descent). She has gained immense critical and popular acclaim for her records. Her dreamily seductive Salt Rain album went gold in France and was short-listed for the UK's Mercury Prize. Accompanied by tabla player Aref Durvesh, guitarist and producer Sam Mills, and Rajasthani Folk musicians: Kutle Khan, Chugge Khan and Nathoo Lal Solanki.
Susheela's multi-layered vocals lead an inclusive sound of traditional folk and rare South Indian Raga.

Friday, July 15 1pm
Rajasthani Folk Musicians Featuring Nathoo Lal Solanki, Kutle Khan and Chugge Khan
Millennium Park Family Fun Tent
201 East Randolph Street.

This is the show I don't want to miss. Watch the video and you'll understand why.

Rajasthan is a musical powerhouse, especially when it comes to the folk ecstatic side of Indian music. Here we present three celebrated Rajasthani musicians:
Nathoo Lal Solanki is the acknowledged master of the Nagara drum which he plays with outstanding dexterity and an explosive technique.
Kutle Khan is a great vocalist and improviser. He has performed at major venues worldwide and is the rising star of Rajasthani folk music.
Chugge Khan, responsible for putting the Rajasthani Morchang on the world map, is a multi- instrumentalist, playing string and percussion instruments. He is one of the most extensively traveled folk musicians from India.

Saturday, July 23 6:30pm
Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananada Swamiji
(He is Kali Ray's guru, and his ashram is in Mysore)
Music for Meditation and Healing
Elgin Community College Arts Center
1700 Spartan Drive in Elgin
It's free but tickets are required. E-mail or

His Holiness Sri Sri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Swamiji of Mysore, one of the greatest spiritual leaders of the present day is an asset to India and the world at large. He is an incarnation of the Great Cosmic Power. Revival of culture, reformation of society and establishing peace and happiness among mankind and transforming into godly men is his mission. His methods include: establishing Dharma.* and Bhakti.* by singing devotional hymns, by reciting the names of the Lord Almighty and inculcating the masses by instilling into them love of God through chorus singing of Bhajans and listening to his meditation-music.
Sri Swamiji is traveling the world to help seekers discover that everything is God. In Him devotees find compassion, love and divine wisdom as He guides them on the path of Yoga sadhana - to discover and realize their true Self. Sri Swamiji conveys an important part of His message through His music, being noted for His namasankirtan. Sri Swamiji's music is devotional and used for spiritual energy transmission. This great master sings self-composed bhajans in Sanskrit, Hindi, Telugu, Kannada and English and plays ayurvedic healing ragas on an electronic synthesizer, accompanied by musicians on classical Indian instruments. Devotees around the world claim to have received immense benefit through his concerts, everything from physical healing to spiritual guidance, and great outpourings of divine love.
It is easier to describe what He does than to say who He is. To begin to know who he is one must experience him, one must adopt the attitude of a seeker of God. Sri Swamiji speaks simply and to the heart in fact He is a silent teacher who teaches through your own love and devotion . To experience Him is to begin to know one's own true self.


  1. L. Subramaniam (Carnatic violin) is performing at Harris Theater July 8 in connection with Eye on India.

  2. Thank you. I ran out of time and didn't put it in. But it's there in the Susheela Raman link.

  3. I put it up (even though Dharma will be in Wisco that day) - plus the Rajasthani folk musicians on July 15 (which to my tin ear sounds a bit like qwali).

  4. Right. I did see Faiz Ali Faiz maybe two-three summers ago. At the end of the set, the host or equivalent said something about bringing him back to Chicago in future years. Don't think it happened (at least not in M-Park, and not for free).

  5. That was an amazing show. I'd also caught him earlier in the week, at the OTSFM. Wow.

    But something tells me it ain't easy getting a travel visa if you're from that part of the world.