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Women’s Raga Massive

#MeToo and Power in South Asian Performing Arts Communities

Saturday, March 16, 2019
11:30 AM–1:00 PM

In light of a global movement to build safer and more equitable spaces for women in the performing arts, Women’s Raga Massive (WRM) hosts a panel discussion focusing on gender and power in South Asian music communities. The panel, followed by a Long Table discussion are being held in conjunction with WRM’s annual music festival Out of the Woods, honoring women artists, in celebration of Women’s History Month. This year’s iteration of the festival reflects on the subtle and violent, the named and often invisible currents that are at play with the role of gender in music within the South Asian musical world.

The panel will bring together voices of artists, presenters, and leaders in media to discuss gender equality, representation, access to knowledge, power structures, and creating safe spaces for women and other marginalized individuals working in traditional Indian classical communities as well as contemporary music scenes in New York City.

Presented in collaboration with Brooklyn Raga Massive.

Seema Lisa Pandya | Visual Artist, Executive Director of Brooklyn Raga Massive

Heena Patel | Cultural Strategist and Founder, MELA Arts Connect

Roopa Mahadevan | Roopa in Flux, Director of Navatman Music Collective

Roshni Samlal | Tabla Player, Educator

Samarth Nagarkar | Hindustani Vocalist, Educator, Author


11:30 AM”“12:15 PM: Theater – Panel discussion on #MeToo and power in South Asian performing arts communities
12:15″“1:00 PM: Long Table community discussion on #MeToo in South Asian performing arts

About the Performers

Seema Lisa Pandya is a visual artist, accomplished sustainability consultant, and professor of sustainable design at FIT SUNY and NYSID, and she was the Executive Director for Brooklyn Raga Massive. Seema was also co-owner of Revolutions Collective Art Space in Denver, and has been on the boards of numerous cultural and environmental organizations. Her artistic work covers a range of materials and scales, including public art and kinetic sculptures, slatted light wood sculptures, public guerilla street art, and organic fractal paintings, and her latest sculpture is made from discarded tabla drum heads. She brings decades of experience working with organizations, a sustainability lens, and the creative process to this panel.

Heena Patel refused to specialize. A cultural strategist for South Asian performing arts and community and founder/CEO of MELA Arts Connect, her focus is on nurturing the ecosystem around South Asian performing arts and its practitioners. Over the years, she has assumed the roles of booking agent, manager, dancer, musician, teaching artist, and diversity and equity advocate. Most recently, she is the producer and artistic director of the dance, live music, and multimedia show Bollywood Boulevard and the immersive dance experience Garba360. Heena is an APAP Leadership Fellow, ISPA Global Fellow, NAPAMA board member, and member of WOCA and Women in Music.

Roopa Mahadevan is versatile among Carnatic (South Indian Classical) vocalists, bringing her powerful, emotive voice to explorations in genre, presentation, and theater. Trained under Asha Ramesh and Suguna Varadachari (under Fulbright), she has performed extensively in the Carnatic world (Chennai’s Music Academy, Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana) and collaborates frequently with artists in experimental, jazz, R&B, andsoul genres. Based in New York City, Roopa leads her crossover ensemble, Roopa In Flux, directs the choir Navatman Music Collective, performs with Brooklyn Raga Massive, and is sought after by leading dancer/choreographers. Roopa is a featured soloist on the Grammy Award”“winning album Calling All Dawns.

Roshni Samlal is a New York”“based tabla player originating from Trinidad, West Indies. At the age of 5 she was initiated into the tradition of Indian classical music at the academic community of Bharatiya Vidya Sansthan, where she was taught by the Hindusthani classical theorist and composer Professor H.S. Adesh, in both vocal performance and tabla. Roshni is an active member of Brooklyn Raga Massive and teaches in the New York area.

Samarth Nagarkar is a Hindustani classical vocalist, educator, and author. In addition to being featured in several prominent music festivals and venues across the world, Samarth has two solo albums, Pranali” and Pravaha, and the book Raga Sangeet to his credit. A former scholar of the ITC Sangeet Research Academy in Kolkata, he was trained under renowned musicians Ulhas Kashalkar and Dinkar Kaikini, and has been described by critics as one of the foremost torchbearers of the traditions he represents.

This event is free with RSVP