Zafer Tawil and Abhik Mukherjee: Intersections of Raga and Maqam
Day and Time
For centuries, Maqam has been the tonal language of Arab, Turkish, and Persian traditional music, while Raga is practiced throughout the Indian subcontinent. The two modal systems have developed independently of one another according to specific rules and structure.
In this special workshop, musicians Zafer Tawil and Abhik Mukherjee explore and uncover intersections between these ancient, profound musical languages.
This program is part of the larger Raga Maqam project, produced by The India Center Foundation and Brooklyn Raga Massive which will culminate in a new work for a 14 piece ensemble led by composer Amir ElSaffar.
Raga Maqam is produced by The India Center Foundation and Brooklyn Raga Massive with commissioning support from the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Additional support is provided by New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs and The New York State Council for the Arts.
Zafer Tawil is a virtuoso on ‘oud, violin, and qanun, and a master of Arab percussion. Zafer has performed in concerts across the country, including performances with numerous musicians ranging from Sting to Arab music virtuosos Chab Mami, Simon Shaheen, Bassam Saba and George Ziadeh, to avant-garde composer/ performer Elliot Sharpe. He was a featured composer and performer in acclaimed director Jonathan Demme's Oscar-nominated film Rachel Getting Married and is composing and performing for Demme’s next film project, Zeitoun, based on Dave Eggers’ book about Abdulrahman Zeitoun’s post-Hurricane Katrina odyssey. Zafer has worked on many collaboration concerts involving classical Indian and Persian music as well as Arab/jazz fusion. He has held workshops on Arab music at many institutions and universities across the United States. A native of Jerusalem, Palestine, he resides in New York City.
Abhik Mukherjee is a Kolkata-born sitar player of the Etawah-Imdadkhani gharana. He was initiated to sitar at the age of six by his father, Sri Tarit Mukherjee, and Sri Bimal Chatterjee, while simultaneously receiving vocal instruction from Sri Kaylan Bose. He has since taken talim from Pandit Arvind Parikh and Pandit Kashinath Mukherjee, themselves disciples of the legendary Ustad Vilayat Khan. He is a gold medalist in musicology from Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata, and has also received a scholarship from the Ministry of Culture, India.
Abhik’s first public performance was at the age of nine at the Governor’s House, Kolkata. He has since performed in ten countries on four continents. Some memorable concerts include performances for the inauguration of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial (Washington D.C.); at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City); at the Indian Habitat Center (Delhi); on Doordarshan (Kolkata); and a summer tour of Italy, Germany, and Switzerland. Abhik currently lives in New York City and is a founding member of Brooklyn Raga Massive.
Raga Maqam is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.
About Brooklyn Raga Massive
Praised by the Wall Street Journal for “expanding the notion of what raga—the immersive, epic form of Indian music—can mean” and dubbed the “leaders of the raga renaissance” by the New Yorker, the fun-loving members of the Brooklyn Raga Massive collective have made huge waves for “preserving the past while blurring genres in an inventive spirit” (New York Times). Brooklyn Raga Massive is dedicated to education, engaging in workshops, in-school programs, private teaching, and various community activities to share their love for music.
About The India Center Foundation
The India Center is a national, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the United States dedicated to the study of the Indian subcontinent, the promotion of its cultural life, and the unique relationship between India and the United States. Based in New York City, The India Center hosts dialogues and exhibitions, mounts programs, educates audiences, and fosters debate focused on India’s future as well as its rich and varied past.