GANGA - Music of Bengal, India


BROTO ROY - Tabla drums and various percussion

Indian-born American Broto Roy, leader of GANGA, is an EMI-India recording artist who comes from a prominent musical family from Kolkata, Bengal India where his great-grandfather Rajanikanto was one of India's greatest and most prolific songwriter's. From the age of six Broto studied "tabla" (Indian hand drum percussion) music. At the age of 16 he moved to the US where he studied music composition and graduated with a B.A. from the College of William & Mary in Virginia. Along with his parents and sister he formed the ensemble "GANGA" - named after the Indian river Ganges. An American and European tour with performances in Stockholm, Berlin, and Bremen Germany followed. After the 2013 death of his father, the folk singer Babukishan das Baul, son of one of India's greatest singers Purno das Baul, joined GANGA thus adding his baul - wandering minstrel - songs to GANGA's village songbook from Assam, Bengal and Bangladesh. Performing all over India, the US and Europe for the last three decades Broto also conducts educational shows in colleges. He was named Virginia Master Folk Artist by the Folklife Program at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and has taught in the DC public schools for three years. The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded Broto two teaching grants in 1986 and 1993.

GANGA has released two CDs "Setting Down Roots" in '08 (Buzkhashi) and "Bringing It Home" in 2011 with worldwide sales and available on Their latest CD "Bringing It Home" is a compilation of live tracks from some of their concerts such as the Library of Congress' Coolidge auditorium; the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art (New York City) ; the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall, Washington, DC and many others. Photos

BABUKISHAN DAS BAUL - Vocals, stringed instruments: Dotara and Anandalahari. Babu was born in Bengal into a long lineage of Bauls. His first 8 years of life were spent living with his grandparents Sri Nabani Khyappa Baul, and Brajobala Dasi, learning and experiencing a deeply authentic spiritual Baul (wandering minstrels) way of life. Babu moved to the city of Kolkata where he spent 12 years learning music at the RamaKrishna Mission, (Vedanta Society of India) where he was taught by yogis and tantrics. During the holidays Babu joined his mother Manju Das Baul, and father Purna Das Baul, playing, composing, and singing Baul music at global festivals, universities, on television, and world radio stations. His father's passionate singing led Bob Dylan to include him on Dylan's album "John Wesley Harding". Babu himself toured with Bob Dylan's The Band in their 1985 East and West tour. He has performed and recorded with music industry greats such as George Harrison, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, Ravi Shankar, Tom Petty, Miles Davis, and many others. Photos.

INDRO ROY-CHOWDHURY - Sitar. Along with Babu, GANGA also features the sitarist extraordinaire Indro Roy-Chowdhury who provides a taste of Indian antiquity in the form of ragas thousands of years old. Indro continues to study and perform in India and the west. He is currently on tour having performed in Poland, Germany and Switzerland in December '14. Photos.

Sarbari Gangopadhyay - Vocals and harmonium. Minati Roy was the true inspiration of GANGA before she sadly passed away. Now, Sarbari has taken Minati's place in the ensemble.

GANGA - Selected Performances:

USA - Metropolitan Museum of Art - Leon Uris Auditorium, New York City; The Library of Congress - Coolidge Auditorium, Washington, DC; Smithsonian Folk Life Festival on the National Mall - multiple: '85, '87, '93, '03, '10; Sackler Museum of Near Eastern and Asian Arts; National Folk Festival - multiple: 47th & 53rd sponsored by the National Council for the Traditional Arts; various conferences including the UN's Micro-Credit Summit Conference attended by many world leaders; Richmond Folk Festival; Northern Virginia Folk Festival. Colleges: Syracuse University-SUNY; Georgetown University; Davidson College; Colgate University; Baldwinsville Academy; Oswego-SUNY; George Mason University; University of Mary Washington; Mount Holyoke; Dennison College; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; Northern Virginia Community College; Daemen College.

In the European Union ECU, House Der Welt Kulturen, Berlin; Bal Haus, Naunyn Strasse, Berlin; Len Bach Haus, Munich; Postaff, Linz; Audio Arts Festival, Korzo Theatre, The Hague; Stockholm, Sweden; Volkerkrunde Museum, Dahlem, Germany; Donguy Gallery, Paris, French Cultural Ministry, National Foundation.

GANGA's instruments are crafted by villagers: Dotara, a four-stringed member of the lute family; sitar, India's most popular stringed instrument; Harmonium, a South Asian adaptation of a small keyboard; "Tabla", India's most popular hand drums; brass cymbals and dance. A written program with translations and concert notes will be provided. GANGA's CDs are: "Setting Down Roots" and "Bringing It Home".