POUGHKEEPSIE, NY -- Sitarist, overtone singer, and daf player Neel Murgai will lead the Neel Murgai Ensemble in an evening of Indian-inspired “raja-chamber jazz” on Wednesday, April 13, at 5:30pm, in Thekla Hall (room 400) of the Skinner Hall of Music. With Sameer Gupta on tabla, Arun Ramamurthy on violin, and Marika Hughes on cello, the Neel Murgai Ensemble has been hailed by National Public Radio as “fusion at its best.” This World Music Event from the Vassar Department of Music is free and open to the public.
Neel Murgai creates music that defies categorization. He began his sitar and Indian classical music studies with Ravindra Goswami in Banaras 14 years ago and for the past 8 years he has studied with his guru and mentor, Pundit Krishna Bhatt. His unique global sound is rooted in his studies with Bhatt, combined with modern and avant-garde Western music and other sounds from around the world. The Neel Murgai Ensemble is the realization of Murgai’s many years of experimentation in Indian classical music, free improvisation, modern compositional techniques, mathematical rhythmic structures, and droning overtone minimalism.
Murgai has worked with numerous musicians, including Dr. Lonnie Smith, Wyclef Jean, Cyndi Lauper, Samir Chatterjee, Daniel Bernard Romain, Ellen Stewart, Laraaji, Yuerba Buena, Baba Israel, Raz Mesinai, Mission on Mars, Akim Funk Buddha, Loren Conners, Louis Bellogenis, and Cosmo Vinyl. He has performed at venues ranging from Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center to the David Letterman Show to jazz clubs such as the Blue Note and at festivals around the United States. Murgai has also toured the world with the Bill T. Jones Dance Company, and composed music for many film, TV, video, theater, and dance projects, including the recent feature-length documentary, The Yes Men Fix the World, which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. The multi-instrumental performer, composer, and teacher resides in New York City
About the Department of Music
Music has occupied a place of prominence at Vassar College since its founding, in its curriculum, faculty, student activities, and facilities. Formed in 1865, the Department of Music offers an extensive program encompassing opportunities for majors and non-majors to explore performance, composition, history, and theory in depth. Students are encouraged to gain a broad perspective in several or all of these areas. With a student-to-faculty ratio of approximately eleven to one, and an average class size of 15, the department is able to support individual students as they work to realize their full musical potential.
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Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.