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The first concerts in this year’s Peerie Willie Guitar Season will feature guitarist Simon Thacker leading the Svara Kanti ensemble at concerts in Bigton Hall on Friday 14th October and the Garrison Theatre on Saturday 15th.

There will also be a free masterclass where people can learn about the group’s music and instruments in the Garrison Theatre at 3pm on the Saturday afternoon.

Svara Kanti
* Svara Kanti

Svara-Kanti brings together four acclaimed masters of Indian and Western music to play evocative ancient folk music re-imagined: virtuosic Indian classical traditions, the finest Bollywood film music (including compositions by Slumdog Millionaire Oscar winner AR Rahman) and new Indian music, all reinterpreted with contemporary Western, classical and jazz influences.

Svara-Kanti consists of Simon Thacker on classical guitar (Park Lane Group Award winner, RPS Award nominee, "startling virtuosity": The Scotsman); incredible Carnatic South Indian violinist Jyotsna Srikanth, who has recorded over 200 Bollywood soundtracks and is a Trinity College of Music Fellow; internationally renowned tabla player Sarvar Sabri, who has a musical lineage stretching back ten generations to the Royal Court of the Mughal Emperor Akbar, and the beautiful voice of London based singer and actress Japjit Kaur. Japjit has performed extensively and written in various Indian languages and styles, including Bollywood, Bhangra and Indian classical, and was Musical Director and vocal coach for the Royal National Theatre’s production of Rafta Rafta.

Prior to the full group performance at each concert, Simon Thacker will also present a solo classical guitar recital.

Svara-Kanti is a virtuosic group of musicians whose members seamlessly blend Indian and Western styles. A taste of the exotic is the perfect antidote to autumnal blues.

The Guardian described Svara-Kantis’s music as "an exuberant virtuoso display" whilst the Glasgow Herald commented on the “marvellous interaction between Thacker and Srikanth …. strikingly intricate, powerful unison playing from all involved."

Tickets for the concerts at Bigton on 14th October and the Garrison Theatre on 15th October, both starting at 7.30pm, are priced at £10 (£8 concessions) and are available from Shetland Box Office, Islesburgh Community Centre, 01595 745 555, or online at www.shetlandboxoffice.org.

Bookings for Saturday’ masterclass can also be made through the Box Office.

The next event in the Guitar Season will be the Shetland 'Guitar Hero' concert at the Town Hall on Saturday 19th November.

Biographies

Simon Thacker is Head of Guitar at Napier University and Honorary Fellow in Music at the University of Aberdeen. He has been nominated for a Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award and in 2006 was a winner of the 50th Park Lane Group Awards, resulting in his acclaimed solo Purcell Room debut. Simon has performed in Cuba, the USA, Spain, Malta, France and Belgium, and broadcast on Cuban TV and BBC Radio 3. He is founder of Camerata Ritmata, a unique collaboration with some of the UK’s leading jazz and world musicians, which he composes for. He is also a member of duo ¡Canto vivo! with opera star Claire Debono. In 2009 he led his ground-breaking East/West project The Nava Rasa Ensemble, featuring nine of Europe’s best Indian and Western classical musicians performing new concerti by Nigel Osborne and Shirish Korde, on a prestigious Tune Up tour across the UK.

Japjit Kaur was born in north India surrounded by classical and Bollywood music and dance. She first studied Indian classical music in Haryana at the age of 10 and was awarded a first class division as well as a distinction by the Pracheen Kala Kendra. Since moving to London she has performed extensively and written in various Indian languages and styles, including Bollywood, Bhangra and Indian classical. In 2004 Japjit worked with Flatline Team in collaboration with Motion Pictures on a project called 'Dilruba' as a singer-songwriter and an actress. This was also short listed for the LA short film festival. In late 2005 Japjit was appointed as a weekend prime time radio presenter by Panjab Radio and went on to study Hindustani vocals further at the Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan Institute with Smt. Chandrima Misra followed by tuition from Pandit Chiranjib Chakraborty. She has also been studying Qawalli and Sufi music from Ustad Ameer Khan Sahib. Since 2006 she has been working extensively with renowned composer Niraj Chag and was Musical Director and vocal coach for the Royal National Theatre production of Rafta Rafta.

Dr. Jyotsna Srikanth learnt the rudiments of the classical Carnatic music of southern India from her mother from the age of three and gave her first recital when she was just nine. Although she has a profound respect for her heritage and performs in the classical Carnatic style with an impressive combination of emotional expression and masterful technique, she refuses to be bound by tradition. She is also an accomplished Western classical violinist and Jyotsna has played violin for over 200 commercial Indian films and has released many albums internationally. She has received many national and international awards and was  recently conferred a Fellowship in Carnatic Music from Trinity College of Music, London.

Her many notable performances include: Queen Elizabeth Hall; WOMAD; BBC Radio 3; Red Violin Festival (Wales); Cleveland Music Festival; World Trade Auditorium (Singapore); East-West International Music Encounter (Bangalore).

Sarvar Sabri is an internationally renowned tabla player/composer whose versatility and passion for the rich diversity of the world's musical traditions has spurred him to constantly experiment with other world-class musicians and composers, and to extend the boundaries of his own classical form. Sabri is proficient not only as a soloist but also works with many Indian classical vocalists, instrumentalists and Kathak dancers. He regularly participates in major music festivals held in India. He makes regular appearances at the South Bank, London and has also performed for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 including the South Bank Show. As a soloist, he has worked with the BCMG in collaboration with composer Judith Weir, Bournemouth Sinfonietta, East of England Orchestra and Sinfonia Baltica. In 2006, he appeared with CBSO and in March 2007, he worked with Viva Sinfonia (Derby). Sabri’s work can be heard on numerous CDs playing with some of the world’s finest musicians.

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