A celebration of Indian music

Indian celebration audience member clapping

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire hosted a collaborative concert of Indian music and Indo-Jazz on Sunday 25 June to celebrate and thank visiting artist Dr Radhika Balakrishnan for her contribution to revitalising Indian music at RBC.

Dr Balakrishnan has spent five months at the Conservatoire collaborating with staff and students as part of her role as the first-ever Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Chair in Indian Studies.

As part of this collaboration, two new ensembles were launched at the celebratory concert: The RBC India Ensemble and RBC Indo-Jazz Fusion.

Previously, on Saturday 24 June, legendary Indian musician Shankar Mahadevan was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Birmingham City University in RBC’s Bradshaw Hall.

Both ensembles performed at this event, where The RBC India Ensemble got the chance to jam with Shankar when he joined them on stage with fellow Shakti bandmates Zakir Hussain and John McLaughlin after the ensembles’ performance of one of Shankar’s songs.

As well as collaborating with staff and students at the Conservatoire on a range of initiatives, Dr Balakrishnan has played a central role in helping RBC foster new links with key individuals and external organisations within the British-Indian community in Birmingham and around the UK.

Dr Balakrishnan has become a cherished member of the RBC community and will be deeply missed when she returns to India shortly.

International Lead and Co-Chair of RBC’s Equality Diversity and Inclusion Working Group Ruth Wootton said: “It has truly been an honour and a pleasure having Radhika as a colleague and as a friend over these five months. The impact that Radhika has made on the Conservatoire in just a few months has been phenomenal.

“I feel very encouraged by the external links with British-Indian musicians and organisations that Radhika has helped RBC to foster and I am excited for all the collaborative initiatives that we have planned with Radhika and our new friends in the next academic year and beyond!”

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