Slideshow: The Berklee Indian Ensemble Performs for Thousands in Bengaluru

By 
Kimberly Ashton
September 19, 2016
The Berklee Indian Ensemble performs a medley of A. R. Rahman songs from the film "Lagaan" at the 54th Bengaluru Ganesh Utsava festival.
Ensemble singers reenact a moment from the film "Lagaan" in which villagers await rainfall to end a long drought.
Drummer Yogev Gabay '16 and hand percussionist and tabla player Kaushlesh “Garry” Purohit '16 rock on out on the ensemble's interpretation of the song "5 Peace Band" by the band Remember Shakti.
The ensemble at the opening of the song "Sati," by Salim-Sulaiman, Taufiq Qureshi, and Vijay Prakash.
Renowned vocalist Vijay Prakash joins the ensemble while it performs "Sati," a song about the banned Hindu ritual where a widow would burn herself alive on her husband's funeral pyre. "The song led us to discuss matters of liberation, equality, women's rights, and freedom of choice," Annette Philip, the ensemble's director, said. Purvaa Sampath, a music therapy student, was responsible for the choreography performed on this piece.
Acclaimed singer-songwriter Raghu Dixit performs his original composition "Lokada Kalaji" with the ensemble at the Bengaluru Ganesh Utsava festival.
Raghu Dixit and Vijay Prakash perform "Vande Mataram," the national song of India, with the ensemble as the last song of the group's three-hour show in Bengaluru, India.
Vijay Prakash talks with ensemble members in preparation for the September 6 show at the Bengaluru Ganesh Utsava festival.
Annette Philip, the director of the Berklee Indian Ensemble and artistic director of the Berklee India Exchange, rehearses with the group a few days before the show.
Sanchitha Wickremesooriya '15, contemporary performance and production student Agney Mulay, and Rohith Jayaraman '15 practice for the upcoming show at the Bengaluru Ganesh Utsava festival.
Sharayu Mahale
Sharayu Mahale
Sharayu Mahale
Sharayu Mahale
Sharayu Mahale
Sharayu Mahale
Sharayu Mahale
Sharayu Mahale
Sharayu Mahale
Sharayu Mahale

For its first performance outside of the United States, the Berklee Indian Ensemble played to a crowd of more than 5,000 people in India at the 54th Bengaluru Ganesh Utsava megafestival, which attracts nearly 1 million people over the course of 11 days. The 36-person ensemble, headed by Berklee India Exchange Artistic Director Annette Philip, took the stage on the second day, September 6, for a three-hour performance that paid tribute to film composer A. R. Rahman and featured guest artists Vijay Prakash and Raghu Dixit.

See more coverage on A. R. Rahman and Vijay Prakash with the Berklee Indian Ensemble. 

Two of Rahman's songs the ensemble covered were "Dil Se Re" and "Jiya Jale," both of which the group sang in YouTube videos that have reached millions of viewers. The Bengaluru concert also included three original ensemble songs. 

During and after the concert, fans took to the internet to express their excitement about the show. Below are some of the excerpts from social media about the show. To see more, visit the ensemble's Facebook page and Twitter account