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The Daily News-Tribune (October 17, 2008)

Sampling of India

by Jeff Gilbride

 

WALTHAM —

From Sufi poetry to songs that praised the Hindu deity Krishna, seventh-graders from across the district gathered at Brandeis University yesterday to explore sounds from northern India.

Sitting on a rug inside the Slosberg Recital Hall, four musicians took turns playing music and sharing the history of instruments from India.

"It's very different from our culture," said Kennedy Middle School student Kevin Snow, 13. "When they sing their voice kind of changes pitches."

Emily Young, 12, said because of the concert she is more interested in Indian music.

"I like it because it really calms you down," the Kennedy Middle School student said. "It uses a lot of different vocal (sounds)."

Musicians with the university's Music Unites Us program, Shubha Mudgal, Aneesh Pradhan, Sudhir Nayak and Murad Ali ended their four-day residency yesterday.

"I think the program is really unique. I think that diversity is one of the richest things we have in our cultures," said Mudgal who plays the tanpura, a stringed instrument.

"It perhaps provides a window of looking at various aspects of music making and all of those values and special aspects that cultures share by musicians."

The Music Unites Us program brings musicians from many cultural backgrounds to the university and then offers public school students a chance to explore the different music.

Judith Eissenberg, a violinist and founder of the program, said she hopes to teach Waltham students cultural lesson through music.

"The first thing I hope for any of these students is they open up to another value system and set of dreams and aesthetic principals that are experienced though the art," she said. "I think the first thing is I want to awaken their interest."

Having created the program in 2003, Eissenberg and the Music Unites Us program brings close to 1,000 public school students to the Brandeis campus to watch three performances a year.

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