Sandeep Das

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Sandeep Das
Sandeep Das.jpg
Tabla Virtuoso Sandeep Das
Background information
Born (1971-01-23) 23 January 1971 (age 47)[citation needed]
Patna, Bihar, India[1]
Genres Indian classical music, Classical Crossover
Occupation(s) Tabla Player, Composer
Instruments Tabla
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.[2] He was previously nominated twice for the Grammy Award in 2005 and 2009.[3][4][5][6]

Early life and education[edit]

Sandeep Das was born in Patna, Bihar, India.[1] His family belonged to Chandannagar, West Bengal and shifted to Patna in the 70s.[7] 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.[8]

Benaras Gharana[edit]

Sandeep started learning from Kishan Maharaj, under the Indian Guru-shishya tradition, at the age of 9.[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.[10]


Stage debut with Ravi Shankar and Kishanji Maharaj

Sandeep's compositions exhibit both the Western and Indian genres of music.[11]

In 1986, Sandeep made his stage debut in India(at the age of 15), with Sitar maestro Ravi Shankar.[12] He was three times the national drumming champion.[10] He was also, at the time, the youngest drummer to be graded by Akashvani (radio broadcaster) (All India Radio).[10][13]

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.[14] In April 2012, he premiered a work written for him by eminent composer Evan Ziporyn, as a soloist with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project.[15][16] His composition Tarang is the theme music for Blind Sight,[11] 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.[17][18][19] 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,[20] features in this album.[21][22]

Silk Road Project[edit]

Sandeep has composed for and performed internationally with the Silk Road Ensemble of Yo-Yo Ma since the group’s founding in 2000.[23][24] 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.[25]

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.[26] His composition Mohini, is the theme music for a 10-episode documentary on the Silk Road, produced by Japanese TV channel NHK.[27]

Hum Ensemble[edit]

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.[28] In February 2011, Hum Ensemble performed at the Rhythm Of Life Concert at Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi[29][30][31] and NCPA, Mumbai.[32]

In November 2012, Hum Ensemble performed at the World Harmony Concert, at Kamani Auditorium, New Delhi.[33] The concert received critical acclaim in Indian media.[34] 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[35][36][37] 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,[38][39] Harvard University Academy of Music in Villecroze, France and Stanford University.[40]


  • Sing Me Home, Silk Road Ensemble, 2016, Label: Sony Masterworks[41]
  • A Playlist Without Borders, Silk Road Ensemble, 2013, Label: Sony Masterworks[42]
  • Mumbai, Big Grenadilla/Mumbai, with Evan Ziporyn, 2012[43]
  • 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[edit]

  • Grammy Award, Best World Music Album, 2017, for the album Sing Me Home.[2]
  • 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

Personal life[edit]

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.[44] They have two daughters, Sakshi and Sonakshi.


  1. ^ a b "Grammy winner Sandeep Das has a Patna connect". Hindustan Times. 15 February 2017. Retrieved 19 February 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Proud to represent India at Grammys: Sandeep Das". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 2017-02-13. 
  3. ^ Biswadeep Ghosh (9 December 2010). "Grammy nomination for Indian". Times Of India. TNN. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  4. ^ "Tabla artist Sandeep Das's album bags Grammy nod". NDTV. Press Trust Of India. 8 December 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  5. ^ "Album Featuring Sandeep Das Won Grammy Nomination". Jagran Josh. 9 December 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  6. ^ "India's Own Tabla Maestro Sandeep Das Wins Grammy Award". The Quint. Retrieved 13 February 2017. 
  7. ^ "Rhythm of tabla born in Bihar". 
  8. ^ "Tabla Wizard". The Statesman. 17 October 2005. 
  9. ^ Kavita Chhibber. "The Banaras Gharana Speaks: Family and Disciples Pay Tribute to a Legend". Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c "Tabla is life for Sandeep Das". Dainik Jagran. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  11. ^ a b "Blind Sight" (PDF). Blind Sight, The Movie. 
  12. ^ Arghya Ganguly (25 December 2010). "My PR is zero in India". Times Of India. Retrieved 31 December 2012. 
  13. ^ "Greater Voice". Greater Voice. Neeraj Bhushan. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  14. ^ "Music & Artists". Sandeep Das. Silk Road project. Retrieved 31 December 2012. 
  15. ^ "Keeping Score". TimeOut, Mumbai. 27 April 2012. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  16. ^ "Evan Ziporyn's "Big Grenadilla / Mumbai"". I Care If You Listen. 
  17. ^ Punya Prava Rath (13 December 2003). "Tabla beats: Out to get the Grammy". HT West Delhi Live. 
  18. ^ Deepak Parvatiyar (30 December 2003). "Percussion Magic". Sahara Time. 
  19. ^ Viral Bhayani (24 December 2003). "Shujaat Khan & Sandeep Das nominated for Grammies". Bombay Times. Times News Network. 
  20. ^ "Magnificent Silk Road". CD Reviews. World Music Central. Retrieved 18 December 2012. 
  21. ^ Suanshu Khurana (13 December 2010). "Roll Of Honour". Express Newsline. 
  22. ^ Biswadeep Ghosh (9 December 2010). "Grammy nomination for Indian". Bombay Times. Times News Network. 
  23. ^ "Silk Road Ensemble, Artists, Sandeep Das". Silk Road Project. Silk Road Project. 
  24. ^ "Tabla Taals Sprakle Westward". The Pioneer. 30 November 2001. 
  25. ^ Chelsea Phua (15 April 2006). "Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project aims to pull cultures together". Assosciated press. 
  26. ^ "Patna to NYC". HT Dwarka Connect. 28 October 2010. 
  27. ^ "Cellist Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble Continue Their Exploration Of The Links Between Eastern & Western Music". World Music Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  28. ^ "Sandeep Das and The Hum Ensemble". Times Of India. 11 Mar 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  29. ^ Shubhra Mujumdar (20 February 2011). "The spirit of Hum". Business Standard. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  30. ^ "Photogallery". 'Hum Ensemble' band rehearsals. The Times Of India, Delhi. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  31. ^ "The Rhythm Of Life Concert". Your Entertainment And Food Guide. Buzz In Town. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  32. ^ "The Rhythm Of Life Concert". Events. Burrp!. Archived from the original on 27 February 2011. 
  33. ^ Piyali Dasgupta (21 November 2012). "Crossover melody". Times Of India. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  34. ^ Archana Mishra (20 November 2012). "An ensemble of world musicians". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  35. ^ "Arts & Culture". On the Silk Road again. Harvard Gazette. Retrieved 31 December 2012. 
  36. ^ "Arts & Culture". Sounds of the Silk Road. Harvard gazette. Retrieved 31 December 2012. 
  37. ^ "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. 
  38. ^ "Silk Road Project Residencies at RISD". Programs. Silk Road Project. Retrieved 31 December 2012. 
  39. ^ "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. 
  40. ^ "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. 
  41. ^ "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". Retrieved 2017-02-13. 
  42. ^ "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. 
  43. ^ Aditya Kundalkar (27 April 2012). "Keeping Score". Time Out Mumbai. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  44. ^ "Striking his own beat, his own rhythm". The Hindu. 7 May 2004. 

External links[edit]