Since 2011 the Ragas Live Festival has expanded the audience and presentation of raga, South Asia’s epic, classical music form. Inspired by the time specific nature of raga, where certain modes are only invoked to match the mood of specific times of day, Ragas Live first broke new ground in 2011 when a community of 50 musicians collaborated for a 24 hour radio broadcast on WKCR 89.9 FM-NY, the first of its kind, even in India.
Four years later, the festival graduated from the radio studio and was broadcast remotely in front of an enthusiastic audience at Pioneer Works. In 2020 the festival again broke new ground during the height of the pandemic lockdowns, when it broadcast a 24 video livestream from 15 cities and 9 countries. This iteration of the festival featured 90 musicians, including many legends of music such as Toumani Daibate (from Côte D’Ivoire), Zakir Hussain (from SF Jazz), Betsayda Machado (from Venezuela), and the legendary composer Terry Riley from Japan.
This year’s Ragas Live Festival will once again expand the boundaries of raga presentation with an immersive, experiential performance of Brooklyn Raga Massive’s large ensemble work, In D, in collaboration with the subject of their homage, Terry Riley, who will perform virtually with ensemble.
Under the Artistic Direction of Adrien Tillman—whose vision was key to Ragas Live Festival 2020’s triumph—and featuring animations by Jesse Johanning, the audience will be surrounded by projection mapping and quadraphonic sound while the piece, a combination of Riley’s compositional approach and classical raga, is performed live by a large ensemble.
The evening will begin with a traditional classical set by the young maestros, Jay Gandhi and Abhik Mukherjee, and will close with the spiritual ecstatic trance music of Innov Gnawa.
This live event will be the finale of a 24 hour, 24 set broadcast featuring performances by an international community of musicians. The radio broadcast on WKCR-FM will begin at the stroke of midnight on November 19th and will conclude with live performances at Pioneer Works.
The celebration of the festival’s 10th anniversary will continue the next day! Beginning at 7pm on November 20th, the 24-hour livestream of last year’s Ragas Live Festival 2020, which featured 90 musicians from 15 cities, will be re-broadcast in full online.
Presented by Pioneer Works, Brooklyn Raga Massive, and NYC Radio Live.
Ragas Live Festival is supported by the Brooklyn Arts Council. Brooklyn Arts Fund (DCLA) is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC). The Ragas Live broadcast is produced with the support of Society for Arts and Culture of South Asia.
Ragas Live Festival is also made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.