Tabla Virtuoso Sandeep Das
citation needed]23 January 1971 [|
Patna, Bihar, India
|Genres||Indian classical music, Classical Crossover|
|Occupation(s)||Tabla Player, Composer|
|Years active||fl. ca. 1985–present|
|Associated acts||Silk Road Ensemble, Hum Ensemble|
Sandeep Das is an Indian American tabla player and composer. His collaboration with Yo-Yo Ma for The Silk Road Ensemble - Sing Me Home - won the Grammy award for Best World Music Album at the 59th Grammy Awards, 2017. He was previously nominated twice for the Grammy Award in 2005 and 2009.
Early life and education
Sandeep Das was born in Patna, Bihar, India. His family belonged to Chandannagar, West Bengal and shifted to Patna in the 70s. Sandeep completed his schooling from St. Xavier's High School, Patna (1975–1985). He graduated in English Literature with gold medal from Banaras Hindu University. He started learning tabla under Shiv Kumar Singh at the age of 8.
Sandeep started learning from Kishan Maharaj, under the Indian Guru-shishya tradition, at the age of 9. Sandeep would travel on weekends from his home in Patna, to Benaras, where his Guru lived. Later, his family shifted to Benares so that his musical education could continue unhindered. After 11 years of tutelage in Benaras Gharana, Das moved to Delhi in 1990, to pursue his career as a professional Tabla player.
In 1986, Sandeep made his stage debut in India(at the age of 15), with Sitar maestro Ravi Shankar. He was three times the national drumming champion. He was also, at the time, the youngest drummer to be graded by Akashvani (radio broadcaster) (All India Radio).
In 1991, Das debuted outside India, with steel drum bands in Trinidad. In 2001, he performed with the New York Philharmonic, under the direction of Kurt Masur for a work composed by Kayhan Kalhor. In April 2012, he premiered a work written for him by eminent composer Evan Ziporyn, as a soloist with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. His composition Tarang is the theme music for Blind Sight, a documentary about the first Mount Everest climb by six blind climbers.
He has been nominated for the Grammy Awards twice. In 2003, his recording The Rain was nominated for a Grammy in the World Music category. In this album, Sandeep Das collaborated with Shujaat Khan and Kayhan Kalhor. In 2009, a recording with Silk Road Ensemble got him a nomination for the Grammy in the Classical Crossover section for the album Off the Map. His track Sulvasutra, composed by Evan Ziporyn, features in this album.
Silk Road Project
Sandeep has composed for and performed internationally with the Silk Road Ensemble of Yo-Yo Ma since the group’s founding in 2000. When he started playing with the Silk Road, Yo-Yo Ma was surprised to learn that, Das did not read music scores, but could memorize a piece.
With the ensemble, he has performed extensively, including, the United Nations General Assembly Hall in New York in 2008, BBC Proms in 2004 and 2009, and the Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympic Games in Shanghai. His composition Mohini, is the theme music for a 10-episode documentary on the Silk Road, produced by Japanese TV channel NHK.
Also a cultural and educational entrepreneur, Sandeep founded HUM (Harmony and Universality through Music) in 2009, an ensemble of world-class artists whose goal is to promote global understanding through musical performance and education. The ensemble is a spin-off of the Silk Road project. In March 2010, HUM presented its World Premiere Concert at Kamani Auditorium, New Delhi and Birla Sabhaghar, Kolkatta. In February 2011, Hum Ensemble performed at the Rhythm Of Life Concert at Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi and NCPA, Mumbai.
In November 2012, Hum Ensemble performed at the World Harmony Concert, at Kamani Auditorium, New Delhi. The concert received critical acclaim in Indian media. Through these concerts, HUM raises funds for its endeavors to support education in arts of differently-abled children. HUM also plans to provide health insurance for aging artists.
In 2012, Sandeep Das was invited by the School of Education, Harvard University to teach a course on Arts in Education. He has taken masterclasses at Juilliard School of Music, Berkley School of Music, Rhodes Island School of Design, Harvard University Academy of Music in Villecroze, France and Stanford University.
- Sing Me Home, Silk Road Ensemble, 2016, Label: Sony Masterworks
- A Playlist Without Borders, Silk Road Ensemble, 2013, Label: Sony Masterworks
- Mumbai, Big Grenadilla/Mumbai, with Evan Ziporyn, 2012
- Off the Map, Silk Road Ensemble, 2009, Label: World Village
- New Impossibilities, Silk Road Ensemble, 2007, Label: Sony Classics
- Silk Road Journeys: Beyond the Horizon, Silk Road Ensemble, 2005, Label: Sony
- Silk Road Journeys: When Strangers Meet, Silk Road Ensemble, 2002, Label: Sony
Awards and recognition
- Grammy Award, Best World Music Album, 2017, for the album Sing Me Home.
- Grammy Nomination, Best Classical Crossover Album, 2009, for album Off The Map.
- Grammy Nomination, Best World Music Album, 2005, for the album The Rain.
- Awarded Chattra Vibhushan by Banaras Hindu University
- Awarded Significant Achievement Award by St. Xavier’s High School
- Awarded Patna College Blue by Patna College
Sandeep Das resides in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. He met his future wife Tripti while they were cadets of the Nation Cadet Corps, at the 1985 Republic Day Celebrations of India. They have two daughters, Sakshi and Sonakshi.
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- "Arts & Culture". On the Silk Road again. Harvard Gazette. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
- "Arts & Culture". Sounds of the Silk Road. Harvard gazette. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
- "The Silk Road Project, Rhode Island School of Design and Harvard University, Announce New Educational Collaborations". Press Release. Harvard Faculty Of Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
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- "The Silk Road Project's Spring 2009 Residency at Rhode Island School of Design". Press Releases. Rhode Island School Of Design. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
- "Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble Documentary, The Road to Beijing". Stanford Program On International & Cross-Cultural Education. SPICE Publications. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
- "Sony Corporation of America: Yo-Yo Ma And The Silk Road Ensemble Releases New Album Featuring Special Guests Including Rhiannon Giddens, Bill Frisell, Sarah Jarosz, Abigail Washburn, Gregory Porter And Others". www.sony.com. Retrieved 2017-02-13.
- "The Silk Road Ensemble With Yo-Yo Ma Continues To Cross Musical Boundaries With The Release Of A Playlist Without Borders". Sony. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
- Aditya Kundalkar (27 April 2012). "Keeping Score". Time Out Mumbai. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
- "Striking his own beat, his own rhythm". The Hindu. 7 May 2004.