Ragas Live Festival 2023

Pioneer Works is excited to present Ragas Live Festival 2023. From October 14-15, Ragas Live Festival will present 24 continuous hours of transcendent, spiritual music at the Pioneer Works main stage.

An event with a global audience, all 24 hours of live performances will be broadcast on the radio in NYC & online at WKCR - 89.9 FM and live-streamed in HD video on the Pioneer Works Broadcast / Youtube & Fans.Live.

The full performance schedule is below.

19 Performances will include masters of the raga tradition such as Ramakrishnan Murthy and The Akkarai Sisters alongside legendary figures in ambient music, minimalism and new music including Vicky Chow, David Cossin & Mark Stewart of the Bang on a Can All-Stars and Mind Maintenance from the influential duo of Joshua Abrams and Chad Taylor.

Presenting music as diverse as a Georgian Polyphonic choir, Supruli, amongst traditional classical raga sets on the Sarod from Sougata Roy Chowdhury and sitar legend Gaurav Mazumdar, the event is a refreshing and enlightening iteration of the traditional Indian Classical overnight concert. Other genre expanding artists include Quadrature and a new group, Amirtha Kidambi, Qasim Naqvi & Rafiq Bhatia Trio.

Reflecting ragas influence on jazz, Celebrating John McLaughlin & Mahavishnu will feature Premik Russell Tubbs on woodwinds, an original member of the Mahavishnu Orchestra.

Breaking ground within the tradition will be a jugalbandi, or duet, of Kunal Gunjal & Suhail Yusuf Khan Kunal on santoor and sarangi, two traditional classical raga instruments that have never been performed together in the United States. To sarangi maestro Suahail Yusuf Khan’s knowledge, the last time these instruments performed together was in India featuring his legendary grandfather Ustad Sabri Khan.

As Raga has influenced the genre of minimalism, the Ragas Live Festival has had a fruitful relationship with composer Terry Riley, an Artistic Advisor, who performed virtually for the festival in 2020 and 2021. This year, Riley has given his blessing to composer Amir ElSaffar to create and premier a new work inspired by Terry Riley’s seminal work In C. The new composition, In E half-flat will be the finale of the 24 hours of music and will be performed by an ensemble of 12 musicians steeped in the microtonal Maqam tradition of North Africa and the Middle-East.

Other trailblazers in New Music and Ambient Music, Vicky Chow, David Cossin & Mark Stewart of the Bang on a Can All-Stars will be performing for the first time as a trio and interpreting works by Nik Bartch, Brian Eno, Cassie Wieland and others.

The 24-hour format is inspired by ragas' unique time cycle in which specific modes are only played at specific times of the day. This year marks the 12th annual incarnation of the event, which is rooted in raga—the classical music genre of South Asia.

An event with a global audience, all 24 hours of live performances will be broadcast on WKCR - FM and livestream on the Pioneer Works Broadcast.

About Ragas Live Festival

Ragas Live Festival was born as an in-studio radio broadcast at Columbia University's radio station, WKCR, in 2012 and immediately gained a global listening audience. The annual presentation of 50-70 musicians and its expansive presentation of music inspired by the Indian Classical tradition became central to a musical movement that the New York Times, New Yorker, NPR, and others have called “The Raga Renaissance”. The event first left the studio and became a live, in-person broadcast in 2016 at Pioneer Works, where it has since grown a passionate following.

Presented in collaboration with Brooklyn Raga Massive and the Society for Arts and Culture of South Asia.

Special thanks to the Ravi Shankar Foundation for their support.