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Crossroads: Jay Gandhi & Yacouba Cissoko Ragas Live 2019

Ragas Live Festival is returning to WKCR 89.9 FM-NY on November 21st-22nd from 7pm-7pm.
The 9th annual festival will feature many legends of music from 13 cities from Mysore to Madagascar including Terry Riley, Zakir Hussain, Toumani Diabate and Bestayda Machado.  Full lineup at
Today we'll hear a highlight of Ragas Live Festival 2019.  Crossroads: Jay Gandhi & Yacouba Cissoko with Jay Gandhi (bansuri), Yacouba Cissoko (kora), David Ellenbogen (guitar) and Ehren Hanson (tabla).

Saraswathi Ranganathan: Ragas Live 2019 (Midnight Set) #316

This is the first podcast release of a set from Ragas Live Festival 2019.  The event was broadcast live on WKCR 89.9 FM-NY in front of an enthusiastic audience at Pioneer Works.  

Saraswathi Ranganthan is performing the veena here and was joined by her Raghavan Sai on Mridangam.  In a spontaneous decision Swaminathan Selvganesh who had played an amazing set earlier in the evening sat in on the set.

Ragas Live Festival is a 24 hour annual broadcast with over 60 musicians.  We will return in 2020 - stay tuned!



Saraswathi brings with her a legacy of firsts. She is the first Indian woman and Veena artiste to win a Chicago Music Award in its 35-year history, the first Veena artiste to perform as an orchestra member of Disney’s Jungle Book production and the first Veena artiste to receive a $10,000 grant from the Logan Foundation in Chicago. She attributes her path-carving success to the inclusive energy in her music and in her life. Her goal? Bring artists and listeners together as one community united in music and understanding. – worded by Stephanie Jones,

Saraswathi constantly endeavors for sounds of the Veena to reach a cross cultural global audience. She learned Veena from her mother Shantha Ranganathan and from Karnataka Kalashree EP Alamelu in Bangalore.  She has been performing and teaching for over three decades now.

Saraswathi also has the distinction as being the first Veena artiste whose original multi-lingual song “Ennai Azhaithaen – I embraced me” was commissioned by the Chicago Humanities Fest.

Saraswathi is the first Veena artiste to perform live music for Chicago International Moves & Music Fest with original score for screening of the movie Buster Keaton’s Seven Chances. 


Jaimoe of the Allman Brothers #315

 This is an epic hang with Jaimoe the legendary drummer of the Allman Brothers in 2014. He speaks about his early days with Otis Redding, meeting Duane and much more...

We were spinning a lot of records and hanging out...

Check out more about Jaimoe here.  Also in the station was Alan Paul author of One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers and the music critic John Coltelli.  




Recalling the Valley

Recored and broadcast live at the Ragas Live Festival 2017 from the Rubin Museum of Art, we hear the world premier of the new project:  Recalling the Valley. 

Jay Gandhi (bansuri) and Max ZT's (hammered dulcimer) pay tribute to their world-renowned teachers, Shivkumar Sharma and Hariprasad Chaurasia.  With Ehren Hanson on tabla they will perform music inspired by their gurus’ beloved album, “Call of the Valley.”  

They also have a great discussion with Andrew Shantz on the topic of creating art away from its place of origin.  

Ragas Live Festival supported by the Rubin Museum of Art, WKCR and Humanities New York.  

Sebitiyin: Innov Gnawa perform the Jewish songs of Gnawa – Podcast 230

In this incredible episode we capture Innov Gnawa performing the "Sebatayin" repetoire, Gnawa music performed traditionally in Morrocco for the Jewish Community.  They performed this for the end of Passover at Greenwich House Music School as part of the UNCHARTED concert series. The Jewish presence in Morocco dates back to over 2,500 years ago and upon interaction with the gnawa community, a bond formed over appreciation for gnawa music and its healing powers. Gnawa music pre-dates Islam and originally centered around animistic, spiritual, mystical concepts sung in sub-Saharan languages such as Bambara, Fulani and Sudani. Upon embracing Islam, gnawa songs began to incorporate Arabic language and themes around the Muslim prophets. Sebitiyin, meaning The Saturdays in Moroccan Arabic, is the collection of songs that grew out of the gatherings hosted by the Jewish community for the revered gnawa maalems whom they deeply respected. Themes of these songs still include the original elements of spirits and the natural world, and later came to incorporate shared saints from their Abrahamic traditions. Today, it is still rare to find a maalem that knows this full repertoire so we are especially lucky to have Maalem (Master) Hassan Ben Jaafer, son of the late Abdallah Ben Jaafer, lead us through a powerful moment of unity in music.   Personnel: Maalem (Master) Hassan Ben Jaafer - vocals and sintir Samir Langus - vocals and qraqeb (castanets) Amino Belyamani- vocals and qraqeb (castanets) Ahmed Jeriouda- vocals and qraqeb (castanets) Nawfal Atiq- vocals and qraqeb (castanets) Said Bourhana- vocals and qraqeb (castanets) David Lizmi - vocals and qraqeb (castanets) Uncharted is a concert series featuring New York-based artists premiering new projects or meeting with new collaborators for the first time on stage that has consistently drawn the attention of tastemakers and curators from across the city over the past three years. The Uncharted season delivers eclectic excellence in a broad selection of musical genres representing New York City’s diverse artistic community, including Mexican folkloric, ragtime, classical, electronic, jazz, ancient Moroccan devotional and contemporary R&B.  

Brooklyn Raga Massive Honors the Coltrane Legacy

The Coltrane Raga Tribute from Brooklyn Raga Massive has blowing some minds.  As they released their album, we hang with Sameer Gupta, the tabla upstart, drummer and musical director of the project.  We'll listen to a live performance from Pioneer Works. If you want to hear it all you’ll have to get the album! .

The all-star ensemble in the set we hear includes:
Sameer Gupta – Drumset/Tabla,
Brandee Younger – Harp,
Jay Gandhi – Bansuri,
Arun Ramamurthy – Violin,
Pawan Benjamin – Sax,
Trina Basu – Violin,
Neel Murgai – Sitar,
Ben Tyree – Guitar,
Rashaan Carter – Bass
Michael Gam – Bass

Special Guests:

Roopa Mahadevan – Vocal

Pyeng Threadgill- vocal

Anupam Shobhakar – Sarod
Jessica Lurie – Sax
Ken Shoji- Violin
Dawoud Kringle – Dilruba
Giancarlo Luigi – Chekere and Percussion

Recorded by James Clark and mixed by Sameer Gupta

Randy Weston

I just learned of the passing of the great master Randy Weston, whose tall shadow hangs over all of us who love, Gnawa Music, African Music, jazz and the intersection of three.  He was a lovely person, eager to pass along the knowledge he'd gathered through an amazing life.

I hope this podcast helps pass along some of his wisdom.  He was humble, sweet and present and we're lucky to have had him on the planet for 91 years.



McCoy Tyner Podcast 315

We just learned of the passing of the legend McCoy Tyner, who changed the course of jazz piano.  Of course he's most well known for his work in John Coltrane's classic quartet, but he has an amazing body of work beyond that, his album Sama Layuca for a start. 

Here's my 2011 interview that we conducted in the kitchen of the Blue Note.




William Parker #313

William Parker is a force in music and if you listen his words, he'll change your mind about what exactly the mystery of music might be.


This is a celebration of 25 years of the Vision Festival.

We had an amazing conversation until the batteries ran out on my recorder...enjoy!

Zhou Family Band

We have a live performance in studio with Zhou Benming of the Zhou Family Band. 

Zhou Jingzhi, founder of the Zhou Family Band, used to play in the royal court of the Qing Dynasty. After dynastic China came to an end, later generations of the family made their living by playing at local ceremonies. 

The band has become so popular that sometimes people have to book them two years in advance for a ceremony. Now more than 100 members of the Zhou family and over 1000 students are active in playing at rituals in their hometown and the adjacent areas.

The band plays traditional wind and percussion music that has accompanied the birth and death of people in central-eastern China for more than 600 years. Coming from Lingbi, Anhui Province, part of the Central Plain area which formed the cradle of Chinese civilization, the Zhou Family Band have been musicians for seven generations, and are bearers of a tradition that represents the cream of Chinese folk music – Bolin Laba, a national intangible cultural heritage of China.


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