Our artist community established BRM through our weekly concert series. From our humble beginnings in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, our collective grew and has created over 11 ensembles, has toured nationally and internationally, and hosts two major festivals a year.
True to our origin story, we present our beloved Weekly Concert Series 52 weeks of the year. These concerts are the cornerstone of BRM, serving as a gathering place for the artist community, an incubator for larger projects, and a highly-anticipated event that our regular audiences look forward to each week. Each week’s event begins with a performance curated by (and often featuring) BRM musicians, followed by an open jam session. Venues range from the Music Space at Branded Saloon to the Jalopy Theater.
The world-class musicians who make up the BRM “massive” compose and perform raga-inspired music in 11+ different ensembles. From our Coltrane Raga Tribute ensemble, which reflects the relationship between raga music and American jazz through the legacy of John and Alice Coltrane, to our acclaimed Women’s Raga Massive ensemble, our ensembles lead our mission to expand the raga music genre through inventive compositions of the highest caliber. Other notable BRM ensembles include our group dedicated to BRM’s rendition of American composer Terry Riley’s classic minimalist composition ‘In-C’; Raga Cubana, which has evolved through a musical exchange program between Havana and NYC; our co-ensemble with Go Organic Orchestra; Raga Maqam, and more.
While our Weekly Concert Series is a space for finding joy and building community through music, our ensemble concerts display our commitment to artistic excellence and extraordinary musicianship. Our ensembles have performed at venues such as Lincoln Center, the Museum of Modern Art, the Rubin Museum, Joe’s Pub, BlueNote, and Celebrate Brooklyn among others. Our ensembles have been joined at these concerts by guest artists such as jazz legend Hamid Drake, Grammy-Award nominees Innov Gnwawa, classical maestro Pandit Krishna Bhatt, klezmer and bluegrass legend Andy Statman, Cuban maestro Bobby Caracasses, and Native & African-American vocalist/songwriter/composer Martha Redbone.
The Rāginī Festival
The Rāginī Festival, formerly known as the Women's Raga Massive Festival, is a month-long virtual and in-person festival 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. This festival exists as an invitation to invoke musical history as a tool to dream of homeland-- to transfigure exile’s dark waters, both tangible and spiritual, into art.
The 2022 edition is a meditation on the concept of Reclamation and features artists working across Indian classical music, experimental performance, dance, folk arts, poetry, and visual arts. Our dynamic roster of artists draw on their ancestry in both subcontinental South Asia and the far reaches of the diaspora. From a group of young Dalit women reclaiming the parai frame drum of South India to cutting edge electronic musicians from Brooklyn, explore sounds and creative narratives from Trinidad, Reunion Island, Afghanistan, Guyana, Tamil Nadu, UK, India and beyond. Learn more here.
Since 2012, 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 2012 when former BRM Artistic Director and radio host David Ellenbogen gathered a community of 50 musicians to collaborate for a 24 hour radio broadcast on WKCR 89.9 FM-NY, the first of its kind, even in India.
In 2016, the festival graduated from the radio studio and was broadcast remotely in front of an enthusiastic audience at Pioneer Works, a 25,000 square foot experimental arts venue in Red Hook, Brooklyn. In 2017, Ragas Live was held at The Rubin Museum of Art for 24 Hours of Sacred Sound complete with sunrise prayer and meditation. 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.
In 2021, Ragas Live returned to Pioneer Works for the 5th time with an epic 10th anniversary celebration featuring 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 performed virtually with ensemble. The concert was a culmination of a new 24-hour radio broadcast and also featured live sets by Abhik Mukherjee, Jay Gandhi, Vivek Pandya, and Innov Gnawa. Learn more at www.ragaslive.org.
“A global, online celebration”
- The New Yorker
“24 hours of uninterrupted, absolutely incredible music performances”
- Jason Mantzoukas on the New York Times
Our ensembles have toured nationally and internationally, including engagements at South by Southwest in Austin, Seattle Town Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Mondrian Jazz Festival in the Netherlands and the Trianon Theater in Havana, Cuba. In addition, some of our most exciting touring opportunities have been in partnership with renown collaborating musicians. For example, in 2021 we will partner with Adam Roudolph’s Go:Organic Orchestra to create a new project featuring 40 musicians, and tour to the Flynn Center in Vermont, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the Detroit Festival of Colors.