One Year On – the Legacy of Pandit Sharda Sahai

One year on, we remember the life and legacy of Pandit Sharda Sahai.

PANDIT SHARDA SAHAI, renowned as one of the greatest exponents of the Benares Baj and was instrumental in pioneering its development worldwide, most notably in Canada, America and the UK.  He hailed from five generations of master musicians and whilst always faithful to the tradition of his ancestors he also was very much a musician of his time.

He was revered for his spellbinding solo performances, East-West collaborations, and skill and generosity as a teacher. His legacy continues through his disciples and students worldwide and in the Pandit Ram Sahai Sangeet Vidyalaya which he founded in Benares in 1965;  to ensure that those outside of the tradition could have access to education in Indian Music and the Performing Arts.

Biography
Photo Gallery
Album Cover Art Wallpaper Downloads
Videos
Fellowship Award Speeches
Pandit Sharda Sahai in His Own Words
Residencies and Education


PHOTO GALLERY

Click to enlarge.

Attending English class in Middletown, Connecticut, USA (1970)

Ustad Shujaat Khan (sitar) joins a workshop at the Indian Music Department, Dartington College of Music, Devon, UK. Pt Sharda Sahai and Dr Frances Shepherd (seen seated left) were both Senior Lecturers in Department and Dr Shepherd was also Course Head. (circa late 1980’s).

Pt Sharda Sahai tutors a student, Indian Music Department, Dartington College of Music, Devon, UK. (circa late 1980’s).

Prince Charles, HRH Prince of Wales is seen here asking Pt Sharda Sahai how is possible to move one’s hands so fast!
Photograph taken at the ‘Commonwealth in Concert’, Edinburgh, November 1997
(in between them is television celebrity Sanjeev Bhashkar).

On 11th November 1997, Pt. Sharda Sahai was awarded the Fellowship by Leeds University in recognition of his contribution to Music. Shardaji held a special affinity for the city of Leeds, having travelled to teach there regularly for a number of years and helping foster a generation of tabla players and music lovers.
To his left – Principal of Leeds College of Music. To the right -Dean of Music, Leeds University.

Guru Puja: Ceremony honouring your teacher and Guru. Latur, Madhya Pradesh (1998).

Pt Sharda Sahai performs the Bhoomi Puja at the Residential Music College built by his disciple Dr. Ram Borgaonkar (seen standing beside him in the yellow kurta ). Bhoomi is a ceremony performed before construction of a building where the goddess Mother Earth is asked for her blessing.
Latur, Madhya Pradesh (1998).

Pandit Sharda Sahai photoshoot in 2002
Photographed by Ariel Van Straten

Pt. Sharda Sahai at the Purcell Room, South Bank Centre, UK , where he gave tabla recitals over four consecutive years between 2002-2005.

Shardaji directing Sangeet College performance held at a studio, West London before a live audience.

Shardaji helps a student to tune his tabla. Sangeet College, PRSSV, Harrow, UK.

Pandit Sharda Sahai on the steps of the Schulich School of Music of McGill University, where he held his 25th Annual Summer Tabla Workshop, Montreal, Canada.

Students and Disciples of Pt Sharda Sahai line up to pay respects at the memorial held in London, Swaminarayan Temple, Stanmore on 4th December 2011. (Photograph- Anuj Shah)

Shrine dedicated to Pt Sharda Sahai at London memorial, Swaminarayan Temple, 4th December 2011. (Photograph – Anuj Shah)

Album Cover Art Wallpaper Downloads

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Emperor of Tabla
Photograph by Anjan Saha
Design by Pritpal Ajmal

Jalsa Ghar – Music Room
Design by Pritpal Ajimal

TAAL – The Rhythm of Life Documentary Film Fundraiser

Montreal-based filmmaker Caroline Tabah has begun a film project about the late Pandit Sharda Sahai and his relationship with his Canadian disciple Shawn Mativetsky. In order to complete TAAL – The Rhythm of Life, Caroline has started a fundraising campaign on the website Indiegogo. Please visit the fundraising campaign site and consider making a donation to the production. You will also be able to read more about the film, about the filmmaker, and view the trailer video for the project.


The feature documentary film, Taal, explores the beauty of the relationship between Shawn Mativetsky (shawnmativetsky.com), a talented professional tabla player from Canada, and his master of music from India, the renowned tabla virtuoso Pandit Sharda Sahai (www.shardasahai.com). Taal also explores the fascinating world of North Indian (Hindustani) classical music, which is perhaps lesser known in the West, with a focus on the Benares tablagharana (lineage), which originated in Benares (Varanasi), India.

In India today, youth is less and less interested in the learning of Indian classical music, so what pushes a Canadian to devote himself to the learning, the professional practice and the teaching of tabla, this percussion instrument from North India? What is meant by gharana, this musical tradition,  this musical family, relating to the Hindu system of apprenticeship called GuruShishya-Parampara – this system of teaching through oral transmission from the master (Guru) to his student (shishya)?

Discoveries, performances and interviews punctuate the documentary Taal, which translates to  ‘rhythmic cycle.’ Inspired by the ‘ten lives of taal‘ (taal ke das praana) of North Indian classical music, Taal explores the rhythms of Shawn’s journey as well as the rhythms of life, of which death is a part.

On the passing of Pandit Sharda Sahai

PANDIT SHARDA SAHAI
1935-2011
Pandit Sharda Sahai, one of India’s most renowned tabla maestros, is being mourned the world over after passing away on 20th November 2011, at the age of 76 surrounded by his family in Ealing Hospital, London. Panditji was renowned as one of the greatest exponents of the Benares Baj and pioneered its development worldwide, most notably in Canada, America and the UK. Panditji hailed from five generations of master musicians and whilst he was faithful to the tradition of his ancestors he also was very much a musician of his time.

He profoundly touched all those who came into contact with him with his great wisdom, knowledge and humour. He will be remembered for his spellbinding solo performances, East-West collaborations, and skill and generosity as a teacher. His legacy will live on through his disciples and students and in the Pandit Ram Sahai Sangeet Vidyalaya which he founded in Benares in 1965 so that those outside of the tradition could have access to education in Indian Music and the Performing Arts.

28th International Tabla Camp

28th International TABLA CAMP

LONDON – SUMMER 2012 – with master classes, workshops, live performances

In honour of Pandit Sharda Sahai

Supported by a team of musicians from the UK and India.

The Tabla Camp has been hosted in several cities in North America providing a unique and musically enhancing experience.  Pandit Ram Sahai Sangit Vidyalaya (PRSSV), will host the 28th International Tabla Camp in 2012 in London.  PRSSV is a pioneering organisation set up in the late 1980s to promote an understanding and appreciation of Indian performing arts through education and performance projects.

DATES:     July 23rd to August 3rd 2012 [Guru Puja August 4th]

Click here for more information.

PRSSV BULLETIN

The music world has suffered a great loss with the passing of Padma Vibhushan Pandit Kishan Maharaj who died on Sunday 4th May 2008.  He was born in Benares (Kashi) on the auspicious Krishna Janamastami day and was given the name Kishan.  He learnt the art of tabla playing under the watchful eye of his father Pandit Hari Maharaj.  After the untimely death of his father, Maharaj-jee’s training was taken over by his uncle, Pt. Kanthe Maharaj, one of the great old masters and himself a disciple of Pt. Baldeo Sahai. Pt. Baldeo Sahai was the grandson of Pt. Ram Sahai, founder of the Benares gharana.
A very great personality and ambassador for Benares tabla baj, he will be greatly missed.  Maharaj-jee is survived by wife Beena Devi, three daughters and son Puran Maharaj, who is also a tabla player.
Pandit Kishan Maharaj and Pandit Sharda Sahai“He was a great tabla master.  His style of playing was Benares style within in which he developed his own distinct approach.  He was famous for his mathematical calculations and Paral (a complex improvisational form).  He was able to play difficult and rare Taals with ease.  Indian music has lost one of its great masters.”  –Pandit Sharda Sahai

Interview with Pandit Sharda Sahai – Aug. 3, 2006

While in Montreal for the 25th Annual Summer Tabla Workshop with Pandit Sharda Sahai, Panditji was interviewed for an article in the Voir newspaper. Follow this link for the full article (in French):

http://www.voir.ca/musique/musique.aspx?iIDArticle=43005