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Indian Embassy in Washington host classical artists Deepak Ram and Anirudh Changkakoti

Embodying themes of Indian democracy, liberty and justice through music.

Deepak Ram (right) and Anirudh Changkakoti performing at the Embassy of India in Washington, DC, on April 29. Photo via the Embassy of India
Deepak Ram (right) and Anirudh Changkakoti performing at the Embassy of India in Washington, DC, on April 29. Photo via the Embassy of India

By Sonali Ved

Two disciples of world renounced classical artists Ustad Zakir Hussain and Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia performed at the Embassy of India in a soulful musical event called the “Colors of Breath” on April 29.  The concert by Deepak Ram and Anirudh Changkakoti embodied the themes of Indian democracy through music.

The themes of liberty, justice, equality and fraternity were performed by Ram, a disciple of Chaurasia, on the basauri. He was accompanied on tabla by Changkakoti, a budding young artist and disciple of Hussain.

The basuri , a classical Indian flute made out of bamboo ,is a very soulful instrument, especially when played by a seasoned musician.  Playing the raags Upali, Jhinjhoti, and the Carnatic Raag Kirwani, Ram was able to evoke the themes of Indian democracy using the meditative sounds of the bansuri.

Raags have their own beat and pace, creating a distinct mood with each change in Raag.  While the basuri was soothing and peaceful, the tabla was energizing and uplifting, offering a perfect balance to the powerful performance.  Though young in years, Changkakoti showed that his talent and training are on par with the most seasoned musicians.  His hands move to a pace that the eyes can’t keep up, producing an invigorating sound.

The performance was without any practice, in an unscripted manner, where both musicians were just speaking the language of music with each other, and delivering a mesmerizing sound in perfect harmony.  While listening, it was clear that Ram is extremely talented and his maturity flow through his music.  Though still young, it’s evident that Changkakoti has a successful career in music, and with his talent, truly the sky is the limit for this amazing artist.

Ram has lived in several countries and has toured the world performing his melodious music.  A local to the Washington, DC,  area now, he has composed eight albums and performed in dozens more.  In addition to his training on the basuri, he is also a tabla player and vocalist, and teaches music theory.

Changkakoti is currently a college student at James Madison University. He started playing the tabla at the age of 3.  In his young career, he has played at a number of prestigious venues, including the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.  Over the last 6 years, he has been training under the watchful eye of Zakir Hussain.