By Liz Lupton
BOSTON–Vijay “Utsav” Prakash, an award-winning Indian vocalist and producer, will join the Berklee Indian Ensemble for Aaroh: Vijay Prakash Meets Berklee, on November 19, at the Berklee Performance Center. Aaroh means ascent.
Prakash, whose voice can be heard featured in Bollywood hits like “Jai Ho” (Slumdog Millionaire) and “Pal Pal Hai Bhaari” (Swades), is known to be equally adept at Indian classical, folk, and contemporary Indian styles. Dancers from Boston Conservatory will be featured as special guest performers. The students, whose original compositions will also be performed, will sing in five Indian languages: Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Kannada, and Sanskrit.
While on campus, Prakash will meet with the Berklee Indian Ensemble to give feedback on its original compositions as well as share insight into his career.
Tickets are available on berklee.edu or the BPC box office; $8 in advance and $12 on the day of the show. For more information on tickets, call 617-747-2261.
Directed by Annette Philip ’09, a Berklee faculty member, vocalist, and pianist, the Berklee Indian Ensemble is the first class associated with the college’s newly established Berklee India Exchange, a platform for cultural conversation about Indian music through artist residencies, musical collaborations, and performances. With 33 student members hailing from 17 countries this semester, the Berklee Indian Ensemble has gained notoriety on YouTube, with its most popular video, an original arrangement of A.R. Rahman’s “Jiya Jale” from the film Dil Se, attracting more than 3.3 million views and counting.
“High profile engagements like Vijay Prakash’s upcoming visit offer immense opportunities for growth and the experimentation of melding Eastern melodies and rhythms with Western harmonic contexts,” said Philip. “Mr. Prakash has been exceedingly open-minded about the Berklee Indian Ensemble reinterpreting and rearranging some of his repertoire.”
Aaroh: Vijay Prakash Meets Berklee is the third in a series of Berklee India Ensemble performances featuring prominent Indian musical artists. In 2014, A.R. Rahman performed with students from the ensemble when the college presented him with an honorary degree, and, in 2013, Clinton Cerejo visited the college and performed with students in a program entitled Shuruaat, meaning beginning.
(Liz Lupton is a publicist in the Office of Media Relations at Berklee. This article is reproduced here from Berklee’s website.)