Comments, Culture, In Focus, Music

‘Atma’, the soul of sitar

British-Asian Roopa Panesar is one of a growing group of women who are professional sitarists. She will be at the Barbican Centre in London on Saturday 18 February.


Design: Beyond Media. Photo: Sinbad Phgura. Painting: Bruce McLean.

Roopa, who began playing sitar at the age of 7, is considered one of the best sitar players on the Indian classical music scene in the UK.

She has performed for King Charles III formerly HRH the Prince of Wales at VJ75 Day as broadcast for BBC1 Television. She has also toured India, the USA and performs consistently in the United Kingdom.

And soon, she will take to the Barbican Hall stage to perform music from her new album “Atma”. It will be a concert of deeply soulful music from her new spring release.

Translating as ‘The Soul’, Atma portrays life – love, loss, grief, separation and ultimately the bliss of union.

After a period of personal loss, Roopa Panesar wrote the music for “Atma”,which echoes feelings associated with challenges of life, with the intention to uplift. At a time of personal and global turmoil, Roopa Panesar reflects on the music.

She performs in a wide range of styles from Hindustani classical music, western classical, jazz and world music. She will be joined by leading Indian classical and jazz musicians, bringing the full panoply of Indian music to the stage.

Roopa Panesar. Photo@ Arnhell de Serra from Darbar Festival.

In her live concert (produced by Asian Arts Agency in association with the Barbican Centre in London), Roopa will be accompanied by Shahbaz Hussain (tabla), Bangalore Prakash (percussion: mirdangam /two-headed barrel drum, ghatam (clay pot drum), moorsing /(Indian mouth harp), Kaviraj Singh (santoor /hammered dulcimer), Giuliano Modareli (guitar), Camilo Tirado (electroacoustic, sound), Surdarshan Singh Chana jori (a pair of Indian wooden drums), and Ben Hazleton (double bass).

The album “Atma” was funded by Asian Arts Agency as part of its Breaking Barriers ‘Innovate’ Music Commissions and follows on from Roopa Panesar’s critically acclaimed album of morning ragas called “Subha”  (2022).

Date: Saturday February 18th. Venue: the Barbican Centre Hall. Address: Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS. Starting time: 8:00 pm. For more information click here.

(Information and photos provided by Angie Lemon)

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