Indian song and dance chime

2014-02-20T00:00:00Z Indian song and dance chimeBy Johanna Willett Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Tucson, meet traditional, Indian music — with a twist.

The first event presented by Tucson Meet Yourself since the October festival, Music Meets Bells joins the flowing choreography of Odissi dance with the rhythmic lilt of a santoor, a classical string instrument.

Just like the cultures showcased at Tucson Meet Yourself each year, the musical styles presented by husband and wife Tarun and Sanchita Bhattacharya typically do not go together. Tarun will be joined by tabla drummer Prosenjit Poddar.

“Santoor is stroke-based and Odissi dance is fluid,” said Sanchita in an email from Kolkata, India. “They are totally reverse from each other.”

The couple married their musical styles live on stage for the first time in February 2012. It was a new concept for Indian classical music, Sanchita said. In the show, each has a solo before they come together for a musical conversation.

Their Friday performance in Tucson will launch a tour through more than a dozen other U.S. cities.

For Tucson, the performance marks the start of monthly programming for Tucson Meet Yourself, said festival program director Maribel Alvarez. The organizers of the folklife festival want to explore cultural traditions throughout the year.

Presented in partnership with the Indian Society of Southern Arizona and the Phoenix-based Indo American Cultural Connect, Music Meets Bells initiates that exploration.

“We didn’t even pick the name,” Alvarez said of Music Meets Bells. “This was sent to us. I hope that means the angels are smiling on us and wishing us well in this venture.”

Contact reporter Johanna Willett at jwillett@azstarnet.com or 573-4357.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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