Rāginī Festival 2023 offers a month-long, cross-oceanic immersion into folk, classical, and contemporary art of the Indies, both East and West. Taking inspiration from the term “baithak”, meaning “sitting down”, Baithak Rituals will be an intimate gathering, akin to a ‘mehfil’, which in the context of South Asian classical music creates a musical crucible - a space where the synergy of the audience feeds into and supports the creativity of the performers.
Side A of Ragini Festival at Joe’s Pub (Baithak Rituals) takes inspiration from the Baithak tradition of an intimate “sitting together”, in musical exchange, thought and performance. This type of cultural gathering, akin to a ‘mehfil’, within South Asian classical music creates a musical crucible, where the synergy of the audience feeds into and supports the creativity of the performer in close proximity. This first night of Baithak Rituals will feature kathak dancer Barkha Patel, ambient soundscapes and rhythms from bansuri flute player LASYA, and an Indian classical music set featuring Radhika Samson playing the rare bass sitar-like instrument the surbahar in a meditative set representing the Dhrupadi ang, one of the oldest known forms of Indian music.
Barkha Patel is a kathak dancer, choreographer, educator, and the Artistic Director of Barkha Dance Company based in New York City. Barkha has trained for over two decades with Guru Rachna Sarang. She has performed solo and ensemble works at dance festivals in India and the U.S. Her work has had the opportunity to present at prestigious venues in New York City such as Dance Theatre Harlem, Erasing Borders Dance Festival, Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out, Joyce Theatre, Lincoln Center: Out of Doors, Little Island Dance Festival, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Jersey Performing Arts Center and South Orange Performing Arts Center. She has also performed at venues in India such as Chidambaram Dance Festival, Jamshedji Tata Theatre, Lakme Fashion Week, Modhera Festival, among others. Barkha has been a recipient of the New Jersey State Council of the Arts artist grant, a choreographic fellowship with New Jersey Performing Arts Center, a Dance/USA Leadership Institute mentee and a strategic arts consulting fellow with Forge NYC. She is currently a fellow with the National Arts Club and in a movement research residency with Movement Research in NYC. Barkha teaches kathak to young and adult students in New York and across the U.S in person and via zoom. You can learn more about her dance and community work at www.barkhadance.com. @barkha_dance
LASYA (Srishti Biyani) is a bansuri player, composer, and music producer born and brought up in New Delhi, India. She creates music that blends influences from around the world into Hindustani classical tradition. The sound of Bansuri combined with atmospheric soundscapes, vocals, and rhythms is what makes her music unique. @lasyamusic
Radhika Samson is an accomplished Indian Classical musician and dancer. She is a shishya (disciple) of the world renowned Hansaveena maestro Pandit Barun Kumar Pal, a senior disciple of Bharat Ratna Pt. Ravi Shankar. She has been under the guru shishya parampara with her guru at the Ravi Shankar Institute of Music and Performing Arts established in New Delhi. Radhika's inclination towards the Dhrupad ang of Indian music and her musical training for several years with the sitar, inspired her to pursue the Surbahar (sometimes called a bass sitar) as her primary medium of expression. Radhika founded an arts academy, Sadhana, in New Delhi, Indian in the year 2014, which has trained over 125 students in Indian and Western performing arts. At Sadhana, Radhika is the faculty for Indian Music as well as Odissi classical dance. She has also been training and conducting the orchestra in the Sri Aurobindo ashram and Mother's School for several years.Radhika is an established Indian Classical dancer and choreographer. She is under the guidance of Smt Sujata Mohapatra. She has been actively performing and touring for the last numerous years as an artist with the Indian Council of Cultural Relations. Currently , Radhika lives in New York and is faculty of Sitar and Odissi dance at the reputed Chhandayan Centre for Indian Music in Manhattan. @radhikasamson
Rāginī Festival, is a month-long festival of Brooklyn Raga Massive that explores the work of artists challenging systemic patriarchy in the South Asian creative ecosystem. Seeking to provide equitable and collaborative performance spaces, invigorate diasporic community engagement and inclusion, heal the infliction of colonial borders, and amplify the creative voices of non-patriarchal creators, The Rāginī Festival brings together artistic and musical threads from across oceans - retracing the labyrinth of memory and cultural myth-making. The 2023 edition of Rāginī Festival offers a month-long, cross-oceanic immersion into folk, classical, and contemporary art of the Indies, both East and West. Seeking to build threads of connection and also to acknowledge rifts in diasporic identity, Rāginī Festival 2023 journeys through expressions of Surinamese baithak ghana chanting, Trinidadian Bhojpuri folk song, queer “Coolitude” poetics, and South Asian classical music. Learn more about Rāginī Festival here.