Participants of the festival 2017

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RUCHIRA PANDA, from Kolkata, India, is the current torch-bearer of the Kotali Gharana, a lineage of masters of Indian Classical Music. She is a solo vocalist and composer who perform across all the major Indian Classical festivals in India, USA and Europe. Her signature contralto voice has a deep timbre and high-octane power that also has mind-blowing flexibility to render superfast melodic patterns and intricate emotive glides across microtones.

Her repertoire includes Khayal - the grand rendering of an Indian Raga, starting with improvisations at a very slow tempo where each beat cycle can take upwards of a minute, and gradually accelerating to an extremely fast tempo where improvised patterns are rendered at lightning speed. She is also well known for her Thumri, a light-classical form of music with a romantic feel, again adorned with improvised passages based on the modal structure of a Raga. This may be followed by a Tappa or Tap-Khayal - both being Classical-Folk music traditions from the Punjab province of undivided India; a Tarana, a form of light-classical music with distinct Persian influences in the lyrics; Classical Raga-based devotional songs called Bhajans; or various other subtypes of Indian Light Classical music e.g Jhoola, Birha, Chaiti, Kajri etc.

Ruchira will typically choose a 16, 14, 12, 10 or 7 beat cycle for a composition, through 9 or 11 beat cycles are also used.

As a composer and Guru (Master ),  Ruchira keeps inventing new lyrics and tunes, sometimes just before ( read minutes ) or even during a concert. That, naturally, adds to the freshness and magic of the core Indian Classical tradition centered on live music settings.

She will be accompanied on the Tabla by Soumen Sarkar, on the Harmonium by Paromita Mukherjee, both rising stars from India who have accompanied all the leading Indian Classical vocalists, and on Tanpura by Partha Mukhopadhyay.