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Renowned sitar player to perform on campus

Sugato Nag

Editor’s note: This event has been cancelled.

The sounds of sitar, the instrument that marked a definable moment in 1960s music and remains evocative of India, will return to Western Carolina University.

Sugato Nag, a sitar virtuoso and citizen of Bengal, will perform Tuesday, Oct. 2, at 7:30 p.m. in the recital hall of WCU’s Coulter Building. The event is free and open to the public.

Nag previously performed on campus in 2007. Known for his distinct style and skillful improvisations, Nag began playing sitar as an 8-year-old. Today, he represents a dwindling number of musicians who learned sitar from respected purists. The classical tradition of Indian sitar playing is hundreds of years old, being handed down from master to student for generations.

The sitar gained popularity worldwide during the psychedelic era of rock music, with George Harrison of the Beatles, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones and others playing the instrument on hit songs. An appearance by sitar master Ravi Shakar at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 further elevated its status for American audiences.

“Sugato Nag is a well-known Indian sitarist who plays Hindustani classical music,” said Debasish Banerjee, a native of Ranchi, India, and a WCU professor in computer information systems. “The sound of the sitar is very melodious. Anyone who loves classical music will appreciate the sound of the sitar. A unique feature of Indian music is that the musicians sit cross-legged on the floor while playing their respective instruments, and sometimes a concert can last hours. Since I rarely get the opportunity to listen to live Indian classical music, it will be a treat to have Sugato Nag come and play for us all at WCU.”

For more information about the performance, call the WCU School of Music at 828-227-7242.

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