Raga Samay Festival

Crossroads Music



The Raga Samay Festival. Photo by JJ Tiziou.


The Raga Samay Festival. Photo by JJ Tiziou.


Sanhita Nandi. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Crossroads Music partnered with its long-time collaborators, the Sangeet Society and South Asia Center at the University of Pennsylvania, to present the Raga Samay Festival, a 24-hour marathon concert of Hindustani (North Indian classical) music, featuring leading musicians from India and the United States. The event centered on ragas: melodic motifs with complex performance rules that are generally meant to be performed at specific times of the day. Because most concerts outside of South Asia take place in the evening, many ragas are seldom if ever performed, especially at their designated times. The Raga Samay Festival, which took place from sunset to sunset, gave local Indian classical music audiences the rare opportunity to hear these ragas performed at their proper intervals, in a playful marathon format. Presented in April 2013, the festival was preceded by a screening of a documentary film on eminent sarod player Ali Akbar Khan, whose son Alam, another master of this stringed musical instrument, also performed at the festival. Crossroad's marathon concert ended with a panel discussion on the influence of time and place on performance practices in Hindustani music.