World-class woman sitar player comes to Lafayette

Hasu Patel said that the sound of the sitar, an Indian stringed instrument, connects her with her inner voice.

She is one of the few world-class female sitar players playing classical music, and she is scheduled to perform Saturday at the Williams Center for the Arts with the Lafayette Concert Chorus. According to the Williams Center for the Arts webpage on Patel’s performance, she specializes in the Gayaki Ang vocal style, in which the sitar replicates the fluidity and nuances of the voice.

Still, she said it was difficult to receive acknowledgement for her work.

“In India, being a female musician means that is very hard to be recognized as a musician both in the professional and non-professional world,” she told Tokafi in an interview. “This was the greatest challenge in my life. But this strong conviction put me today as an accomplished female sitarist.”

Now a music professor at Oberlin College, she plans to celebrate the music of India, including what will be “the first concerto ever composed for sitar and tabla with chorus and orchestra,” according to the Williams Center for the Arts webpage.

Patel teaches the performance of classical music of India on sitar, tabla, violin, double bass, guitar and flute. She will also perform her own compositions at the concert.

At age 10, Patel made her first public performance. She is also the first woman to receive a music degree with a gold medal from the Faculty of Fine Arts School in Baroda, India.

She has played at Woodstock, Chicago Jazz Festival, Rhineberger Chamber Hall of Cleveland Orchestra and Women in Music Festival at Eastman School of Music.

Hasu Patel will perform at the Williams Center for the Arts this Saturday at 8 p.m. The event is free for students, but tickets are required and can be obtained through the ticket office.

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