Interviews, Features, Events, Bengali & Indian Performing Arts & Artist Reviews

WBRi Special Event Report - Swagatalakshmi Dasgupto and Anurekha Ghosh at Rabindrasadan, Kolkata on July 7, 2010

Swagatalakshmi Dasgupta - Anurekha GhoshOn 7th July, 2010 we got the opportunity to experience dancing of famous singer Swagatalaxmi Dasgupto with another legendary dancer, BBC award winner Anurekha Ghosh at Rabindrasadan, Kolkata.

Swagatalakshmi Dasgupta - Anurekha GhoshEvery year, in memory of her father; Classical Legend Late Shri Pabitro Dasgupto, Swagatalaxmi arranges the annual function of her institution Ashokrenu. Ashokrenu has completed its journey of one era as it is 12 years old now.

Swagatalakshmi Dasgupta - Anurekha GhoshAnchored by elocutionist Alok Roy Ghatak, the program had three major parts; - Dance drama Chitrangada by Rabindranath Tagore, felicitation of another famous singer Lopamudra Mitro and solo program of Swagatalaxmi compromising songs of her own composition.

The sound was very good that day.

Swagatalakshmi Dasgupta - Anurekha 
GhoshThe conception of set and the lighting for Chitrangada was awesome specially presence of bow and arrow in front of a tree and a idol of a girl dressed partly as boy as and partly  as girl indicates the story of Chitrangada very clearly.

Swagatalakshmi Dasgupta - 
Anurekha GhoshRabindranath conceptualized story of Chitrangada from Mahabharata where Manipur princess Chitrangada, who always dressed as boy as per her father’s wish, met Pandav Arjun at the time of his 14 years of absconding at the time of hunting in forest. She felt in love with him so prayed to God of Love, Madan to become feminine and beautiful and she became with his blessings. Then she went to Arjun, who was in sainthood but felt in love with her but after listening to everybody felt his love for Chitrangada as she was before getting blessings from Madan. Then Chitrangada realized the actual essence of love and went to Madan to get her actual look. She got and came to Arjun who accepted her and they married.

Swagatalakshmi Dasgupta - Anurekha 

Swagatalakshmi Dasgupta - Anurekha Ghosh

Swagatalakshmi Dasgupta - Anurekha Ghosh

The dance drama used voices of Ashokrenu disciples as well as Swagatalaxmi for songs and interpretation of Chitrangada even the performers on stage were none but students of Ashokrenu along with Swagatalaxmi and Anurekha, who is eventually taking her singing lessons from Swagata by the side of her dancing.

The singing part was very good but they might use male voice for male characters in stead of female voices. After her performance as mother in Chandalika, Swagata was more matured in her second attempt as dancer as Kurupa Chitrangada (Chitrangada in male dress) but her steps were slower than expectation as per the character demanded. The dancer as Arjun has to improve as lot. We thought sometimes that he was dancing forcibly!! Madan was good but excellent was Anurekha as Surupa Chitrangada ( feminine Chitrangada ). We really appreciated her dancing skills and she truly ruled the stage as long as she was present on stage.

Swagatalakshmi Dasgupta - Anurekha Ghosh

The middle part was felicitation of Lopamudra Mitro by Swagatalaxmi on behalf of Ashokrenu. Every year Ashokrenu, in memory of Late Pabitro Dasgupto, felicitates one young legend for his or her contribution in cultural field. Lopa was very cordial through out her speech.

The last part was solo presentation of Swagata where she excelled with every presentation and showed her command to sing hymns (slokas) with proper pronunciation and music as well as lyricist and composer. We hope to listen more songs of her own lyric and music again and again.

Many eminent personalities including actor-cum-singer Arjun Chakraborty were present at auditorium that day.

Pope criticized for charging for mass

Hindus have criticized His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for charging for
mass on his upcoming Glasgow (United Kingdom) visit.

One should not be charged to listen to the “word of God”, Hindu
statesman Rajan Zed stated in Nevada (USA) today.

Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, argued
that it could be a real burden on a devotee who had a large family.

This is first Papal trip to Scotland in 28 years and there is
reportedly a cost involved for the faithful (including children) to go
see the Pope in Bellahouston Park on September 16, where he is

Toronto Tabla Ensemble - Acclaimed Independent Band Exploring World Music with Rhythms rooted in India

Washington Bangla Radio is pleased to present a selection of the beautiful and unique compositions of Toronto Tabla Ensemble (  for your listening pleasure. These audio tracks are presented courtesy of the Toronto Tabla Ensemble and their Artistic Director, Ritesh Das (e-mail: riteshdas [at] tablaensemble [dot] com). Click on the play button above to listen to the songs on WBRi On-Demand Radio.

The songs are:

  • Indo Africa -Toronto Tabla Ensemble. Composer Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri
  • Weight - Toronto Tabla Ensemble. Composer Ritesh Das
  • Tap Root -Toronto Tabla Ensemble and Donald Quan. Composer Ritesh Das & Donald Quan
  • Waterfall - Toronto Tabla Ensemble. Composer Ritesh Das
  • Joyfully Seven- Toronto Tabla Ensemble
  • Weaving - Toronto Tabla Ensemble. Composer Ritesh Das
  • Bable - Ritesh Das and Hari Krishnan. Composers Ritesh Das and Hari Krishnan.

About Toronto Tabla Ensemble

This critically acclaimed independent band from Toronto, Canada, is a total music experience. The TTE has developed its own powerful style using rhythms from India, while exploring contemporary musical landscapes with artists from other cultures.

Playing to sold out audiences since 1991, this influential voice in Canadian music, brings together the North Indian percussive tradition of Tabla, with some of Canada's best music and dance groups.

Staying true to form, content and feeling, the TTE moves what is traditionally a solo instrument to an unparalleled level of ensemble work.

The intricate rhythms and abundant tonal variations possible on the tabla combine to make it one of the most expressive of all percussion instruments. Add to this the versatility of mallets, percussion, voice, violin, bass and dance, and you have what the Ensemble is all about.

The Ensemble has performed at all of Canada's best folk, jazz and art festivals, has appeared nationally and internationally on Bravo!, CBC News World and Much Music, and in 2003 was commissioned to create the current theme music for the CBC RADIO 1's daily morning show Metro Morning.

MP3 Download

Toronto Tabla Ensemble albums are available in MP3 Audio download format online. Click on the album names below to listen to free samples and download Mp3 Audio tracks.

Band Members

Ritesh DasRitesh Das

Ritesh Das, composer and musician, has studied tabla with gurus Pandit Shankar Ghosh, Ustad Zakir Hussain and most extensively with Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri. He has toured throughout the US, Canada and India, and performed with many of India's great music and dance innovators. Since moving to Canada, he has established himself as an extraordinary teacher of tabla and founded the Toronto Tabla Ensemble in 1991.

Joanna De SouzaJoanna De Souza

Joanna de Souza is perhaps the only Canadian born artist to achieve a Master's Degree in Indian Classical Kathak dance through Prayag Sangit Samiti, Allahabad, India. Her study of Kathak, which began in 1978, continues under Pandit Chitresh Das. Since her return to Toronto, she has gained reputation as an excellent Kathak dancer, teacher and choreographer. Her traditional and collaborative works have earned her a variety of nominations and awards. She is Artistic Director of M-DO and has been a member of the TTE since 1993.

Neel PunnaNeel Punna

Neel, a native East Coaster, began studying with Ritesh Das upon his move to Toronto in 1993. As an integral member of the Toronto Tabla Ensemble, he regularly accompanies kathak dance classes and is on the teaching staff of the M-DO and Toronto Tabla Ensemble Centre for World Music and Dance. Neel has traveled with the Ensemble on many tours and has attended all professional development workshops with Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri.

Jonathan GoochJonathan Gooch

Jono Gooch completed Grade 10 piano in 1996, under Clayton Scott at the Royal Conservatory of Music. A keen interest in rhythm lead him to the drums & he has been playing the kit drum since 1992 & has studied tabla with Ritesh since 1999. He has toured nationally with the Toronto Tabla Ensemble & plays locally with the Three Bears, Shiver Mc Timbers, Clocknuts and You Left Saving The Planet.

Heather ThorkelsonHeather Thorkelson

A passion for tabla lead Heather to begin studying tabla with Ritesh Das upon her return from abroad. She has toured internationally with the Ensemble and participates in all professional development workshops, including those with Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri. She is a member of the Ensemble's Board of Directors and plays a vital production and promotional role in all concerts and fund-raising events.

Bindu SadasivanBindhu Sadasivan

Bindhu made her debut with the Toronto Tabla Ensemble in 2007. She participates in all performances, classes and workshops and is studying the art of kathak dance accompaniment. Outside of the Ensemble, she works as a full-time occupational therapist.

Robin KalninRobin Kalnin

Robin had his first exposure to the Indian classical performing arts while completing a degree in music at the University of British Columbia. A saxophone player by training, he has composed music and played in a variety of jazz, classical and contemporary settings. Upon moving to Toronto, an interest in Indian percussion lead to studies in tabla. Robin performs with the Toronto Tabla Ensemble and accompanies kathak dance classes and performances.

Vitra GosineVitra Gosine

Vitra has been studying tabla for the last several years and made her debut with the Ensemble in 2007. She participates in all classes and workshops and is studying kathak dance accompaniment. Outside of the Ensemble, Vitra is an Investment Finance Analyst.

Tagore by Teresa Sebastián in Spanish Poetry Concert - 27 to 30 July 2010

Tagore Poetry In Concert - Teresa Sebastien

A series of Spanish poetry recitations accompanied with musical performances will be held during the new edition of the unique Poetry in Concert program to be held from 27th to 30th July, 2010.

2010 marks the premiere of  "new house" in the Spanish Theater - which is an exciting happening for Poetry in Concert enthusiasts everywhere.

Teresa Sebastian, who has famously composed and performed her wonderful "Poesi­a en Concierto - Tagore" (Tagore Poem In Concert), will perform in, and is also the Artistic Coordinator of, the event.

Washington Bangla Radio is glad to present the entire original poem and an English translation of Teresa Sebastian's poem "Tagore" as well as a live recording of Teresa reading her own poem "Tagore" with musicians J.C. Blancas on electronics/keyboards, X.Paixarino on the flute and Niraj Kumar on the Tabla.

Hindus greet Muslims on upcoming Ramadan

Hindus have sent early greetings to Muslim communities world over for
the upcoming blessed ninth month of the Islamic year.

Hindu and Indo-American statesman Rajan Zed, in a release in Nevada
(USA) today, expressed warmest greetings on holy month of  Ramadan
which ends with Id al-Fitr, wishing that it brought joy, happiness and
cheer to all the Muslims.

Rajan Zed, who is the president of Universal Society of Hinduism,
stressed that all religions should work together for a just and
peaceful world.

TARGET (2010) Bengali Movie Review by Aditya Chakrabarty

An action film from Tollywood with an English name and an added title-‘Target-the Mission’. Target is the full fledged action film from Brand Value Communications (the film division of the Rose Valley Group) starring Joy, Sayantika and Mithun in a special role. Now it seems that that the group is trying to best to promote this pair because we just saw them a month in Hangover, a delightful comedy also starring Prasenjit and Sayantika was there in Ghar Sansar, also produced by Rose valley as well.Mithun in fact plays a very special role in this film and has in fact a small role though significant.


Michigan, July 26th, 2010: How do you define a white Zinfandel; a sensational Californian wine with a delicate colour and flavour bringing out the billowing summer berry fruit flavors.

Lebanese Food

Michigan, July 25th, 2010: Middle Eastern cuisine is sometimes described as refined art; such is its diversity and richness. It is influenced by dozens of cultures, and its spicy dishes reflect the fact that the Middle East was either the source or the way for spices that eventually spread to the whole world. Rice and various legumes, especially lentils and chickpeas are staples of main course dishes and it also includes lots of salads made from both fresh vegetables and fruits. Meaty items like lamb, chicken and beef plays an important role in the cuisine, be it in grilled or barbequed form and blends of common ingredients like coriander, cumin, mint and other Arabian spices adds to the uniqueness of this fare. Lebanese cuisine plays a very important role in placing Arabian food in the world map of exotic food.

Ambuja Cement declares Standalone Results for Quarter ended 30th. June 2010

Ambuja Cements Ltd (ACL) today announced that production of cement for
the quarter ended 30th.

June went up by 12.7%, to 5.5 million tonnes, compared to 4.9 million
tonnes for the same quarter last

Domestic sales volumes increased by 12.6%, from 4.6 million tonnes to
5.2 million tonnes. Exports
were 161 thousand tonnes compared to 219 thousand tonnes last year, a
decline of 26%. Net sales
increased by 10.8%, to reach Rs.

Lady Gaga spent time at a Cleveland yoga studio before her sold-out performance

July 24, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio) Lady Gaga spent time at a
Cleveland yoga studio before her sold-out performance

American cultural icon Lady Gaga reportedly had a private yoga session
in Cleveland (Ohio, USA) before she performed at a sold-out Quicken
Loans Arena recently.

She reportedly had this session barefoot in an area studio of “Om
Yoga”, which is described as a practice of flowing yoga asanas
informed by precise attention to alignment and supported by the
relaxed wakefulness.

Yoga teacher, who lead this session, reportedly remarked later about

Littlei - This week (23+26 July, 2010)

July 23, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio) Friday Night Live (FNL) are very exited to present two amazing shows this week.

Friday 23rd July @ The Big Ben:
9 PM - 12 AM

Monday 26th July @ The Big Ben:
8 - 10 PM

These are free entry/no cover charge shows at The Big Ben, Kenilwoth Hotel.

Bal Hanuman 2 3D Digital - DVD and CD with Glasses from Shemaroo Entertainment launched


23 July, 2010 Mumbai: Let your children enjoy the adventures of Bal Hanuman 2
with their 3D Glasses on!!

School, homework, tuition, projects – and the day gets over for your children. The increasing pressure and the tough competition have already shown the punch of fun and excitement an exit door in their life. The ongoing TV serials and movies which have become their meager source of entertainment serve no purpose for the innocent minds. Feed their mind a spoon of fun with an added spice of a little knowledge of our mythologies. Grab Bal Hanuman 2 DVD or VCD with 3D glasses absolutely free to make the action live for them!

Shemaroo Entertainment launches Bal Hanuman 2 on DVDs and VCDs. Bal Hanuman 2 is India’s 1st 3D Digital animation Feature Film made to entertain all specially kids & youngsters. The film is directed by Pankaj Sharma and Sanjay Dhakan composed the music of the film.   

Lutheran World Federation lauded for its call to other religions of developing ‘common vision’

Hindus have applauded Lutheran World Federation (LWF) for its call to
different religions to develop a common vision of solidarity, respect,
justice, and compassion.

According to reports, LWF President Rev. Mark S.

Orchid registers turnover of Rs 331 crore during Q1 FY11

Rapid Global Gambling Growth concerning

Hindus critical of rapid global gambling growth

Hindus have strongly criticized speedy growth of gambling worldwide,
which has now reportedly become about $335 billion industry, and is
still expanding.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement today in USA, said that
gambling many times resulted in devastated families and broken homes.
With continually rising Internet online gambling, it had become highly
and universally accessible round-the-clock, which was quite scary.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said
that Rig-Veda, oldest existi