India’s Own Tabla Maestro Sandeep Das Wins Grammy Award
Tabla wizard Sandeep Das has just done India proud. He, along with his group the Silk Road Ensemble has won the Grammy for Best Global Music at the Grammy awards in LA held on Sunday night.
Exultant and yet saddened Sandeep spoke to me right after the victory.
I am very proud of the Grammy because I’m representing India on a global platform. This was my third Grammy nomination, and we did it this time. So, yes, it feels good. I was also very happy because I was the only one on stage wearing our tradition Indian kurta-pajama ensemble. Everyone else wore suits.Sandeep Das, Tabla Maestro
Sandeep wonders why there is so little respect for the Indian heritage in India. “I get so much love and respect out here. I’ve performed at the poshest most prestigious venues in the West. I’ve been invited for guest lectures at the most distinguished universities in America. But the Indian media has largely ignored my efforts.”
Sandeep, regarded as the Tabla’s most accomplished exponent after Zakir Hussain, regrets the incessant focus on cinema and cricket in the Indian media.
Ironically the classical heritage is dying in India while it is being celebrated in the West even as we speak.The media in India wrote about Karan Johar lecturing at the Harvard Business School. No one took notice of the fact that I was invited to teach ‘Arts In Education’ at Harvard. I am so proud to be holding the Grammy in my hand right now. But there is not one single Indian mediapersonover here. I am being asked, ‘Where are the Indian journalists? Aren’t you from India?’ Yes, I am from India and I am very proud to be representing my country at the Grammys here in LA.Sandeep Das
Sandeep has made Boston his home with wife Tripti and two daughters, Sakshi and Sonakshi.
“Sakshi is Odissi dancer. Sonakshi is a table player and a golf player, just like me. I find a lot of similarity between playing the tabla and golf. They are both about hitting the ball in the right hole,” says the proud father.
Sandeep is not just looking at the West to foster his talents. He is a keen observer of talent in India as well. “I’ve started an organization called Hum to sponsor needy musicians. We are currently looking after six visually-impaired musicians from India. We are interested in doing a lot more for talented young classical musicians from India. But for that we need the focus to be shifted away from Bollywood.”