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The Center For Arts And Wellness Launches Its Performance Series - “RAGA-RHYTHM”

Vandana Rao and Hema Iyengar

The Center for Arts and Wellness launches its Performance Series “Raga-Rhythm”.  This not-to-be-missed performance series promises to enthrall audiences by showcasing the talent of local and visiting practitioners. Raga-Rhythm is envisioned as a Series of Music (vocal and instrumental) and Dance (classical, semi-classical, and Bollywood) performances.


The brainchild of two local Indian classical arts teachers – Hema Iyengar and Vandana Rao – the Center for Arts and Wellness has firmly established itself as the go-to place for all types of classes related to the Arts and individual well-being. Their teaching philosophy rests on a belief that an integral part of art education for both the practitioner and the student is Live Performances. Through its Raga-Rhythm series, the Center for Arts and Wellness endeavors to provide an avenue to showcase what has been taught and learnt in a free-flowing live form.


Raga-Rhythm’s debut performance on June 3rd featured visiting Indian (Hindustani) Classical vocal artist of the Kirana Gharana, Pt. Sudakar Chavan. Pt. Chavan hails from Pune, India and was the senior most disciple of the late Shrikant Deshpande, who in turn was the senior most disciple of Pt. Bhimsen Joshi. Sudhakarji has performed in many cities across India including the Sawai Gandharva Mahotsav, and is a teacher with several hundred students. At Raga-Rhythm, Sudhakarji was accompanied on the tabla by Shri Rajesh Pai, a well-known local tabla teacher and practitioner who is a faculty at Learnquest Academy of Music and also teaches at the Gurudwara. Shri Pai has accompanied many renowned artists in classical, light classical and fusion concerts in the New England area.


This performance included Hindustani classical as well as light classical pieces such as Marathi and Hindi Bhajans, taking the audience into the heart of classical Indian music. Panditji captivated the audience first with a beautiful rendition in Raag Puriya Dhanashree appropriately suited for the late afternoon-early evening time of day. He presented various flavors of the raag, from a vilambit (slow tempo) in ek taal (12-beat cycle), followed by madhya laya (medium tempo) and dhrut (fast tempo) bandishes (compositions) in teen taal (16-beats) and finally a fast paced tarana, also in teen taal. His effortless alaaps across three full octaves, along with his taans and layakari added a beautiful dimension to the raag. He then sang Saiyan Bhavare in Raag Bhageshri in madhya laya followed by a tarana in drut laya, both in teen taal. Panditji continued his renditions by singing several bhajans in Marathi and Hindi, including one of his own compositions in Raag Hemant, and ended the concert with the traditional Raag Bhairavi. Throughout the various tempos and styles of composition, Panditji was ably accompanied by Shir Pai whose tabla thekas and variations added a wonderful compliment.


Overall it was a great start to the Center’s Performance Series. Audiences around New England can look forward to the "Raga- Rhythm" series and bask in the artistic talent of local and visiting practitioners. The Center offers an excellent platform to learn and showcase various Art forms and welcomes practitioners from all over to be a part of this Series. It is conveniently located in Westborough, MA and easily accessible by major highways. The warm, inviting and friendly atmosphere that the Center offers makes it a pleasure for students and visitors alike.


Stay tuned for upcoming performances under the Raga-Rhythm series. Visit the Center’s facebook page for details of upcoming performances and to get real-time information about their new classes, promotions, and announcements. You can visit their website at www.centerforartsandwellness.com for details of their classes and also contact them at admin@centerforartsandwellness.com for inquiries.



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