Music Showcase I

curated by Dr. Amie Maciszewski

Saturday, February 12, 2022

USA: 10am EST

India: 8:30pm IST

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Curator’s Statement

It is with great pleasure that I am curating and performing in the Rasa Festival 2021-2022 Music Showcase, following that in 2020-2021. The intention of the previous showcase was to curate and present an online showcase of musicians in a way that is refreshing to watch and listen to after, at that time, six months of often low production value homemade video performances. Since then, many of us have learned that, in spite of a long period of isolation and great limitation of live performance, technology has allowed us to connect with each other across vast distances, bringing our artistic visions together in one virtual space. Thus, in this year’s showcase,  I have selected musicians based in Pakistan, India, and the US who all see their work as “intersectional,” reaching across disciplines to see the connection of their creations to the larger social/environmental context—an approach that Dr. Arshiya Sethi has coined “artivism,” or art+social activism/advocacy.  


Zia Ul-Karim is a young multi-instrumentalist musician, musicologist, music educator, composer, and producer from the Hunza Valley of Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan. Zia’s main focus is to promote and preserve the richly diverse folk music of the remote northern area Gilgit-Baltistan through performance and education. While studying for a BS in musicology at the renowned National College of Art in Lahore, he modified the Xighini, a rare bowed folk musical instrument of the Hunza Valley that was on the verge of extinction. His tireless work and ingenious creativity resulted in a vast enhancement of the Xighini’s acoustic quality and technical possibilities, such that one can play both folk and classical melodies on it. In doing so, he effected a revival of interest in learning and performance of the instrument. He has since taught Hunza folk music and instruments, as well as South Asian classical music, at the Leif Larsen Music Center in Altit, Hunza. In his presentation, Zia plays an indigenous folk melody (hareep) called “BulBul Shireen” on the Xighini. The rhythm of this hareep, a cycle of seven beats, is called tajwar. Accompanying instruments are the folk percussion instruments of Gilgit-Baltistan, Dadang and Damal.

Shruthi Veena Vishwanath is a singer, composer and educator whose practice celebrates mystic music traditions from South Asia and beyond. Her work strives to bring voices that aren’t known, especially of women, to the fore, and she has composed and researched extensively on folk, spiritual and mystic songs of west, south-west and central India. Trained in classical music of both south and north India, she later dived deep into the roots of the traditions, travelling and learning from traditional practitioners in rural areas. She has performed at festivals and venues across the world, spoken at leading universities on traditional music and received multiple grants for research and performance. She currently leads an inclusive, online community for song-learning called Music in the Machan.

Dr. Amie Maciszewski of Dallas, TX, with her Sangeet Millennium Ensemble, performs two selections from the ensemble’s recent project “Close Encounters of the Classic Kind: Raga, Jazz, Bollywood,” hosted by and livestreamed from Mussavir Curated Arts in Dallas in front of a small studio audience. The project explores influences of Hindustani classical and traditional music as well as jazz in early and early contemporary Bollywood film music. The ensemble members are: Amit Kelkar (vocals, harmonium), Amie (sitar), Paarth Kuntawala (tabla), Roshan Parajuli (bansuri), and Paul Klemperer (saxophone). The Sangeet Millennium Ensemble, founded in 2006 and directed by Amie, is an acclaimed collective of local, national, and international musicians who blend South Asian classical, folk, and devotional music with jazz and other world musics. The ensemble has three CDs to their credit.

Amie Maciszewski is an internationally acclaimed sitarist, teaching artist, and ethnomusicologist who has spent her adult life studying, performing, teaching, and promoting the music of South Asia.

Amie has performed in concerts and taught in residencies, workshops, and on several university faculties throughout North America, India, Pakistan, Europe, and Japan.

She was awarded the Gandharva Puraskar in 2014 by the Hindustan Art & Music Society – Burdwan, India – for her contributions to Indian music abroad.

Passionate about women’s rights and the rights of all human beings, she has done extensive field research, published numerous scholarly articles, and produced-directed three noted ethnographic films on socially marginalized musicians. 

Currently based in Dallas, TX, Amie offers lessons in sitar, Hindustani voice, and Raag Sangeet through her Sangeet Millennium Music Academy. 

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