Group brings ‘interesting and talented’ Indian musicians to Kent

Andrew Gaug

T.N. Bhargava, former mathematics professor, is a founder of the India Music Circle, which organizes performances for artists from India around the Kent area. He is helping to organize the upcoming concert for sitarist Pandit Nayan Ghosh on June 18. CARR

Credit: Steve Schirra

Music from India will come alive in Kent on June 18 when Indian guitar – otherwise known as a sitar – and tabla drum master Pandit Nayan Ghosh performs in Ludwig Recital Hall.

The India Music Circle was formed by a group of former and current Kent State professors with the intentions of bringing the best artists from India to the area. One of the founders, former mathematics professor T.N. Bhargava, said when the group began, it was able to get some well-known Indian musicians. But after Bhargava took time away from the group to go on sabbatical, it had difficulty booking artists with the same type of credibility.

Currently, the India Music Circle – with the help of the Center for the Study of World Musics – -has found itself coming back in full swing. In March, they held a concert for sitar virtuoso Ustad Nishat Khan, who had played a concert at the Crossroads Guitar Festival a few months earlier with legends such as Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana.

Bhargava said getting the most popular Indian music artists is not what the India Music Circle strives for – it’s looking to bring the most interesting and talented Indian music to Kent.

This is the case for Ghosh, an artist who is loved by popular Indian musicians such as Ravi Shankar. Bhargava said the group wanted to get Ghosh to perform in Kent because he is “an unusual artist who’s very adept at sitar and tabla.”

Bhargava said the problem the group encounters is that Kent is such a small area for this type of music.


Where? Ludwig Recital Hall

When? Sunday, June 18 at 6:30 p.m.

How much? $10 to $40

For tickets? (440) 349-3550

“We could get artists that usually play in Chicago or Boston and pack 500 seats,” Bhargava said. “(But) we’re lucky to pack Ludwig Hall.”

Bhargava sees Ghosh’s concert as a chance to enrich the public in India’s music and its culture.

“Music shows in the best possible fashion what culture is,” said Bhargava. Much like the jazz music of New Orleans shows off the culture of Louisiana, Bhargava said he feels Indian music illustrates the unity of the Hindu religion and India.

The India Music Circle plans to have two concerts in the upcoming school year – one in the fall and one in the spring – Bhargava said. He is also planning a classical arts series that will showcase the wide variety of dances and music from India so “people will have a sprinkling of every different kind of Indian music.”

Most of all, Bhargava said he would like to see these concerts bring people together.

“I would like people to go away from (these concerts) with an appreciation of the East,” Bhargava said. “To me, there’s nothing better than music that brings people together.”

Contact features correspondent Andrew Gaug at [email protected].