Women Raga Massive, Out of the Woods

Women’s Raga Massive presents their culminating concert at the Rubin Museum of Art, in a collective expression of local female performers within the indian classical music world. The show begins with an improvised Round Robin style meeting of musical voices and weaves together the multiplicity of their stories and unique creative work. This will be followed by our featured artists who will present a performative introspection on the engendered concerns of their lives as female musicians within a typically patriarchal tradition.

During the show, DJ Tikka Masala will be DJ’ing upstairs from 6-10pm. Join us after the show from 8:30-10pm for a celebration and dance party.


Women’s Raga Massive presents their third annual March festival: Out of the Woods, featuring female-led ensembles in celebration of Women’s History Month 2019 (3/7, 3/14, 3/21, & 3/29). This year’s iteration of the festival reflects on the subtle and violent, the named and often invisible currents that are at play with the role of gender in music within the South Asian musical world. The narratives are multiple, alternating between ecstatic song and lament. Out of the Woods seeks to create a creative clearing in which these stories can be freely told.

The festival will rotate through some of New York’s iconic venues, starting at Nublu, The Jazz Gallery, Joe’s Pub and culminating at the Rubin Museum.
Traditional, experimental and multidisciplinary performances by Samita Sinha (voice), Saraswathi Ranganathan (veena), Malini Srinivasan (dance), Haleh Liza Gafori (poetry), Roshni Samlal (tabla), Rajna Swaminathan (mrudangam), Deepal Sanghavi (santoor), Roopa Mahadevan (voice), Trina Basu (violin), Priya Darshini (voice), Lauren Crump (percussion), Anjna Swaminathan (violin), Amali Premawardhana(cello) from the Women’s Raga Massive collective. They are also co-hosting a series of musical-art dialogues, a panel discussion and “long table” gathering at The Rubin Museum of Art focusing on power and gender in South Asian performing arts communities.

Deepal Sanghvi Chodhari- Santoor
Roopa Mahadevan- Vocals
Roshni Samlal – Tabla
Rajna Swaminathan- Mridangam

Deepal Chodhari graduated in North Indian Classical and acclaimed the title of ‘Sangeet Visharad’ under the tutelage of Smt. Shashikala Kaikini from Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, India. She has been pursuing the santoor since her school years from her guruji, Shri Dineshkumar Sampat (immediate disciple of Pandit Kartik Kumar). She has been honored by University of Mumbai multiple times and has been felicitated from several renowned cultural organizations in India and New Jersey. She has attained the New Jersey Folk Art Apprenticeship Award while studying vocal with Smt. Mitali Bhawmik. She has performed on Zee National Television in India with her Guruji Shri Dinesh Kumar Sampat. Her strong foundation in Indian Classical Music along with her ability to merge nuances from all her gurus inspires her to evolve as a deeper musician each day.

Roopa Mahadevan is known for her powerful and emotive voice. At home in many eras and styles, she is versatile among Carnatic (South Indian classical) performers, bringing the art form and her explorations in genre, text, and theater to audiences around the world. Based in New York City, Roopa frequently collaborates with artists in jazz, creative/improvised music, and R&B soul genres and has her own crossover ensemble, Roopa In Flux. Roopa directs the groundbreaking choir Navatman Music Collective, is an active member of the innovative Brooklyn Raga Massive, and is one of the most sought-after vocalists for dancers/choreographers in the South Asian diaspora.

Roopa received Carnatic training under Asha Ramesh and Suguna Varadachari, the latter under a U.S. Fulbright scholarship. Roopa is a featured vocalist in the Grammy Award-winning album Calling All Dawns, was an inaugural fellow of IndianRaga and has performed on stages such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Jacob’s Pillow, and the Hollywood Bowl. Roopa was a member of the Resonant Bodies program at Banff in 2018 and is a member of the Hedgebrook Residency for Singers/Songwriters in 2019. Roopa has extensive experience in public health with degrees from Stanford University. Her work in art is undergirded by curiosities in the areas of culture, philosophy, and social change.

Roshni Samlal is a New York-based tabla player originating from Trinidad, WI, where she was initiated into the tradition of Indian classical music at the age of 5, into the academic community of “Bharatiya Vidya Sansthan”, taught by the Hindusthani classical theorist and composer, Professor H.S. Adesh, both in vocal performance and tabla. Roshni is an actively performing member of the innovative collective, Brooklyn Raga Massive, and teaches in the NY area.

Rajna Swaminathan is an acclaimed mrudangam (South Indian percussion) artist, a protégé of mrudangam maestro Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman. Rajna is one of only a handful of women who play the mrudangam professionally. She has performed with several renowned Indian classical musicians, most notably mentor and vocalist T.M. Krishna. Rajna has performed in several prestigious venues and festivals, including the Smithsonian (D.C.), Kennedy Center (D.C.), Asia Society (NYC), Lincoln Center (NYC), Walker Art Center (MN), Music Academy (Chennai), Shanmukhananda Hall (Mumbai) and The Esplanade (Singapore). Rajna also regularly gives workshops on the South Indian rhythmic perspective, most notably at the Banff International Jazz and Creative Music Workshop, the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, and the KoSA International Percussion Camp. Rajna holds degrees in Anthropology and French from the University of Maryland, College Park. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Music (Creative Practice & Critical Inquiry) at Harvard University.


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