Grammy-Nominated YouTube Stars Perform Friday at the Wortham

Grammy-Nominated YouTube Stars Perform Friday at the Wortham

Berklee Indian Ensemble (photo courtesy of the Indo American Association)

EACH YEAR, HOUSTON’S Indo-American Association presents a diverse and wide-ranging series of entertainment and educational programs featuring music, dance, and film from across the Indian subcontinent.

Now in its 30th season, the nonprofit organization is a major contributor to Houston’s diverse, international community, and is helping to preserve India’s rich, cultural heritage for a new generation of audiences.

On Mar. 24 at the Wortham Center, IAA presents the Berklee Indian Ensemble, one of the hottest world music groups touring today. Its forward-thinking fusion of contemporary and classical Indian musical styles is winning fans all over the world. The ensemble has accumulated over 300 million YouTube views, and its debut album Shuruaat (“Beginning”) received a 2023 Grammy Nomination for Best World Music Album.

Founded in 2011 by Annette Philip, the first Indian music faculty member at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, the ensemble is a rare example of a university ensemble transformed into a professional, touring band, with 11 full-time members representing India, Jordan, Israel, Nigeria, Indonesia, Norway, the USA, and other regions across the globe. When Philip first joined Berklee’s faculty, the school did not have an ensemble that explored and performed Indian music. Since then, more than 700 students from 49 countries have played in the ensemble and created profound connections between their different respective cultures through the language of music.

“There is a unique power when musicians from different cultural and musical backgrounds make art together with vulnerability and openness in a space that celebrates their similarities and differences,” says Philip. She’s not kidding.

The 10 tracks on Shuruaat feature a whopping 98 musicians from all over the world, including special guests, Grammy-winning tabla master Zakir Hussain and Bollywood superstar Shreya Ghoshal. This Friday at the Wortham Center, the 11-member version of the ensemble promises a program of lushly orchestrated, groove-centric originals and arrangements of modern and classic Indian music. “The music that gets created in this space comes across viscerally,” says Philip, “and allows a song in a foreign language to feel completely relatable because of the human connection.”

Ancient French Wellness Cures Reimagined at Houston’s Escape Spa: The Power of Vichy

Serial entrepreneur and spa visionary LeBrina Jackson

NESTLED IN THE heart of France, the town of Vichy holds a rich history in the world of wellness and hydrotherapy. Acquiring fame for their alkaline springs in the 17th century, the Romans were among the first to recognize the therapeutic benefits of the springs. They established a French spa known as “Vichy,” which still exists today and continues to attract spa-goers from around the world to experience the transformative effects of hydrotherapy.

Keep ReadingShow less

Slushies at Fuzzy's

IT’S OFFICIAL: THE long holiday that kicks off summer arrives this weekend, and Houstonians are due. Getting hungry, thirsty, and ready for some R&R? Whether you want to grill at home, start with casual brunch, or hit a Memorial Day celebration to honor our veterans, we’ve got you covered.

Keep ReadingShow less

“DO YOU KNOW how a river forms?” is the question that begins Houston author Vaishnavi Patel’s new book, Goddess of the River. The voice belongs to Ganga, goddess of India’s Ganges river, who has been transformed against her will by Lord Shiva from “a tributary of the cosmic ocean” into the physical form of a mere winding river, with no path to the heavens, only the sea. Later, Ganga runs afoul of a powerful sage who transforms her yet again into a human, and as it happens in myths, things get complicated.

Keep ReadingShow less
Art + Entertainment