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While polyphony is generally considered to be anathema to the Indian raga system, it can work with the proper approach. In his Polyphonic Raga presentation, Dr. Macdonald explains the basics of Western vocal polyphony, especially that of the High Renaissance period (Josquin, Palestrina, Tallis, et al), and he demonstrates how the techniques used in that music may successfully be applied to Dhrupad vocal music while retaining the flavor and essence of a given raga. The presentation strikes a balance between technical aspects of the different musical systems and a more general discussion of aesthetics.
The programme will consist of two parts. The first part for about 30 minutes will be a lecture demonstration on Polyphonic Raga by Dr. Payton Macdonald. The second part of the programme will be a vocal jugalbandhi concert by Dr. Payton Macdonald and Mr. C S Balasubramanian accompanied by Mr. Dnyaneshwar Deshmukh on Pakhwaj.
Dr. Payton MacDonald sings Dhrupad, the ancient music of India. Dhrupad is a form of naad, the yoga of sound. He has traveled to India many times and was awarded a Senior Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship to spend nine months in India continuing his vocal studies with the Gundecha Brothers, learning at the acclaimed Dhrupad Sansthan. He also received a grant from the American Institute of Indian studies. Payton made his official debut as a Dhrupad singer at Bharat Bhavan in Bhopal, M.P., India.
Payton began learning from Indian Dhrupad master singers Gundecha Brothers. He also studied Western music formally at the University of Michigan (B.F.A.) and the Eastman School of Music (M.M. and D.M.A.), and he enjoys a parallel career as a Western percussionist and composer.
Payton has sung Dhrupad at the River to River festival in New York City, the Musikgebouw in Holland, and the Cork Opera House in Cork, Ireland, as well as at countless yoga centers, universities, ashrams, and clubs. He has appeared on the Kussom Mahotsav Festival, Ragas Live Festival, and the Brooklyn Raga Massive, as well as the Dhrupad Days of Seattle, Wayne, and Montreal.
C S Balasubramanian
C.S. Balasubramanian (Bala) has been learning Dhrupad vocal from the Gundecha Brothers since 2014 . He has performed a number of times at concerts in India. Bala is also an accomplished mandolin player having learnt from Mysore Ananthaswamy, and is a freelance accompanist on this instrument.. Bala also plays the sarod and received his training from Ustad Aashish Khan and later from Ustad Ali Akbar Khan at his San Rafael college. Bala is a frequent performer as a multi instrumentalist and vocalist, for the music theater group Sunaad. He is also a Hindustani vocal teacher at the Shankar Mahadevan Academy. Bala has recently started composing his original music.
Shri Dnyaneshwar Deshmukh has been a student of Pakhawaj for 12 years, The journey took an interesting turn in 2009 when he was inducted into Dhrupad style of Pakhawaj playing by the great maestro Pt.Akhilesh Gundecha.
He is being trained under Gurushisya tradition at Dhrupad Sansthan under the tutelage of both Pt. Akhilesh Gundecha and Padmashri Gundecha Brothers. Prior to this he also received the valuable training by Shri Panduranga Appa Datar.Pakhawaj has been a tradition in his family and his father Shri Rangnath Deshmukh is a well known name in Maharashtra.
Shri Dnyaneshwar Deshmukh has been performing all over India and Abroad on various respected platforms as a Solo artist as well as an accompanist.