Ganges Delta in concert
Sound to the Source
For centuries the terms ‘East’ and ‘West’ have been used to distinguish, differentiate and divide. Curiously, almost magically, in certain places, at specific moments in time, through what can be described as consciousness, or a deep sense of Oneness, the walls blurred; East and West converged, diverged, and dispersed, re-organizing themselves into something entirely new.
Ganges Delta is an Indo-folkronic fusion band: four artists, vastly different cultures, connecting and conversing through the language of sound and music. The nexus is something they dub 'Sound to the Source'. Within Suno Loka (Listen People) Laboratory, the band radically reinterprets a repertoire with elements of rock, jazz, blues, classical, and folk -- into a fusion of flavours steeped in the mystical sounds of the subcontinent.
Maestro Ustad Dilshad Khan hails from a long lineage of Rajasthani court musicians whose raags rang through the palace walls in the decadent days of the Maharajas. With his deep velvety vocals, and the haunting tones of his sarangi (India’s violin: the instrument of “a hundred colors”), Khan weaves silken threads; strings resonate and sing, mingling, and organizing themselves like a spider’s web around the multi-dimensional guitar tones of acclaimed Italian composer/virtuoso Peppino D’Agostino.
Percussion maestro, Uday Ramdas’ signature sound, coupled with his poly-rhythmic wizardry, continues to baffle and bring audiences to their feet. Teaming together with Canadian producer, Bali Panesar, bringing the bass with a balance of beats, loops, and analog grooves, moves the music to unchartered landscapes: through the deserts of Rajasthan to the dance halls of Delhi. Ganges Delta’s repertoire is vast, from the vanguard in the peaks of the Himalayas, down through the jungles and plains to the very edge: the majestic confluence where the rivers meet the sea. Their music is deep, delightful and transports audiences down the tributaries to touch the transcendent and transcendental.
Music that moves to unchartered landscapes
Journey beyond the borders
Sound to the Source
Later, Panesar would spend time in Indonesia studying the trance rituals of Bali. His fascination with the sonorous dimensions expressed in the gamelan orchestra, introduced him to principles he incorporated in his compositions for theatre. His music awarded him scholarships to study and work in Germany, Ukraine and NY.
In 2006, almost 15 years after meeting Ramdas he found himself once again in India, this time studying disappearing art forms in an actor research centre in rural Bengal. There he encountered the ancient mystical folk tradition of the minstrels known as Bauls. His connection with Nitya Gopal Das Baul (Nitu), a fifth generation Baul musician, vocalist and master of the dotara (a five-stringed fretless guitar like instrument) inspired him to revisit this connection to his roots.
In Tamil Nadu, at the foot of the holy Mt. Arunachala the three musicians gathered for a roof top performance with the majestic mountain glowing by the light of the full moon. The chemistry was reestablished and a band was born.
Ramdas had continued to his advance his education under the guidance of renowned master, Pandit Yogesh Samsi. His solid groove, precise tone and responsive approach established him as a sought after accompanist in the highly competitive classical scene in Pune and Mumbai. He’d worked with Pt.Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pt.Jasraj, Ustad, Sultan Khan, Pt. Vijay Raghav Rao, Ustad Shahid Pervez , Edger Mayer, Shivamani & Ustad Taufiq Qureshi, Shankar Mahadevan, Suresh Wadkar, Sadhna Sargam, Sanjeev Abhanykar, Shaan and many more.
Uday and Dilshad met some 15 years ago. Both artists masterfully meld Indian classical with folk traditions while exploring the frontiers of fusion. Dilshad is recognized as a master (Ustad) of the Sarangi an ancient instrument popularized by Dilshad’s late uncle and teacher, the legendary Ustad Sultan Khan.
Already a tour de force in India and on the international stage Dilshad’s sound echoes that of his late uncle. His work with Ustad Zakir Hussain received a Grammy in 2009. Khan belongs to a Sikar School of music. He is the ninth generation to take up the sarangi. His great grandfather Ustad Azim Khan shaab was a court musician at Sikar Rajasthan. Dilshad began training at the age of 6 and gave his first performance at the age of 10, to date Dilshad has been featured on hundreds of recordings.
As a child, Panesar traveled to Africa and India where he was exposed to many different musical forms and traditions at an early age. His father was very drawn to western classical music and enrolled him in piano lessons, simultaneously he began studying tabla and accompanying his mother at the local temple. In his teens, inspired by the music of Led Zepplin he began studying drums under John McCormik (Edmonton Symphony Orchestra). Later in his twenties, upon hearing a recording of Zakir Hussain, he began dreaming of different ways of bringing eastern and western forms together.
While studying at the University of Pune, India, he had the good fortune of meeting Uday Ramdas. Ramdas, was very generous in sharing his knowledge and soon thereafter began teaching Panesar. A dear friendship developed, and, following the passing of his guru, the late great master Ustad Allah Rakha (2000), in search of new direction, Ramdas traveled to Canada where he spent a year exploring his own vision of fusion music. The two young musicians collaborated on various projects incorporating elements of jazz, celtic, blues and bluegrass. into their repertoire.
Panesar met Peppino D’Agostino in Montreal during the Folk Alliance conference. A warm introduction, followed by a most intimate performance in which Panesar glimpsed the rare and profound complexity of D’Agostino’s compositions coupled with his remarkable deftness and sensitivity. D'Agostino has made his considerable international mark as a musical artist on the guitar since he arrived in America 35 years ago. In 2017 Guitar Player listed him as one of the 50 transcendent superheroes of the acoustic guitar of all times. The CD, "Every Step of The Way," was awarded by Acoustic Guitar's People's Choice Awards with a Bronze medal for Best Acoustic Album of All Time. His signature Seagull acoustic guitar has been voted among the ten best signature guitars by Guitar Player magazine.
Ustad Dilshad Khan
A Story Steeped in Sound