Mohana Veena lifts the Divinity of Arts

Ratna Venkat

Long rehearsals are currently the norm for artistes of the much-awaited live music and dance concert, ‘Sargam Fusion with Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt,’ scheduled to take place on Friday, July 7 at Dorothy Winstone Centre, Auckland Girls’ Grammar School, 16 Howe Street in Newton, Auckland.

Organised and presented by Old Fort Bar & Eatery, this two-and-half hour Programme (with an interval of 15 minutes) will commence at 730 pm.

Band with a Difference

‘Sargam Fusion,’ the band known to cross horizons and create new benchmarks in the contemporary music and dance world, has promised its fans that, like last year, it will deliver something new this year.

As reported in our June 1, 2017 issue, following are the artistes.

Piano – Ahi Karunaharan

A classically trained pianist and cellist, Ahi plays both Indian and Western Classical music and has collaborated with organisers of various International Arts Festivals and diverse local communities. He has also performed solo in London, Malaysia and Canada. Apart from music, Ahi is a trained actor, writer and director.

Vocal – Ashish Ramakrishnan

A winner of the popular Zee TV Saregama & Close-up Antakshari, Ashish has performed at over 500 concerts across the world. He has sung and composed jingles for radio stations in the UK, India and New Zealand, and has several voiceovers to his credit. Ashish has performed with veterans of Indian music such as Ustad Fazal Qureshi and Ustad Dilshad Khan.

Vocal – Seetha Jandhyala

A prominent Hindustani vocalist, Seetha began her early training in Carnatic vocal tradition from her mother Jandhyala Rajyalakshmi and later from Gowri Gokul. Her aunt, Jagarlapudi Shobha is a well-trained Hindustani singer in Mumbai and has been a strong influence in sparking Seetha’s interest in Hindustani vocal tradition. She continues to hone her skills in Hindustani singing from her guru over Skype.

Tabla – Basant Madhur

Principal and Director of ‘Sargam School of Indian Music,’ Basant is a prominent Tabla player in New Zealand’s music community and is known for his modesty and sense of humour. Born and raised in a musically oriented family, he has accompanied renowned Indian Classical stalwarts such as Rakesh Chaurasia, Pt Ronu Majumdar, Pt Vidya Bhushan and Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt.

Tabla – Akhilesh Madhur

Disciple and nephew of Basant, Akhilesh has over the years, inspired many people with his impressive performances on the Tabla. He is a multi-faceted concert accompanist, including as a solo Tabla player and as a spirited part of Jugalbandi.

Veena, Mandolin and Ghatam – Saketh Vishnubhotla

Trained in Keyboard and Saraswathi Veena under the guidance of Vidwan Diwakar, Saketh presented his Veena Arangetram in February this year. He is a self-taught performer on the Mandolin, Guitar, African Udu Drum, Flute and Ghatam and has participated in many classical and light music programmes in Auckland. Saketh has also lent his musical talents to numerous Dance Arangetrams.

Fiddle – Krissy Jackson

Composer, performer, teacher and choral ‘Musical Director,’ Krissy has played with many Irish/Celtic bands including Reel Men and Shenaniganz and has performed with Craig Smith at the ‘Taranaki For Christchurch’ concert. Besides classical, Krissy enjoys playing Celtic, Bluegrass, NZ Folk, Jazz, Gyspy as well as country. She loves to jam with singer-songwriters and cover bands.

Guitar – Rob Mita

A popular musician in New Zealand, Rob has been a regular guitar player at several music festivals. He plays the lead (Acoustic and Electric) as well as Bass guitar. Specialising in Jazz and Western music, Rob has participated in many international events and has contributed to numerous albums across the globe.

Percussion – Ravi Nyayapati

Ravi is an active figure in the Auckland music scene, mainly involving stage management and anchoring concerts over the last few years. A multi-skilled percussionist, he has resumed his interest in playing Dholak and side rhythm for concerts, giving ‘completeness’ to live music arrangements.  Ravi will be seen playing as many as six rhythmic instruments at the forthcoming programme.

Drums – Swap Gomez

Son of prolific Bengali singer Leonard Gomez, Swap is best known for his drumming work in the NZ music industry, working with artists such as Nick Hohepa, Bailey Wiley and The Exponents. He has performed widely across Europe and Asia and has worked with international artists namely Oli Goz, DJ Disk, Vernon Reid (Living Color), Uli Jon Roth (The Scorpions) and Karsh Kale.

Dance – Ratna Venkat

An award-winning Indian Classical and Fusion Dancer, Ratna Venkat is known for her unique dance presentations and passion for excellence on stage. She has performed in numerous local and international events including ‘Tribute to Sir Edmund Hillary,’ ‘Asia-Pacific Culture Day,’ ‘Mother Teresa Interfaith Committee,’ ‘Diwali’ at New Zealand Parliament and at the 103rd National Day of the Republic of China Celebrations. Being a dancer, Ratna will be a visual treat at the forthcoming concert. She is Assistant Editor of Indian Newslink.


Tickets, priced at $60, $40 and $25 are available at Old Fort Bar & Eatery and Sargam School of Indian Music (419 Blockhouse Bay Road, Blockhouse Bay, Auckland).

Readers are encouraged to book early to get the best seats.


What: “Sargam Fusion with Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt”

 An evening of Indian Classical and Fusion Music

When: Friday, July 7 at 730 pm
By: Old Fort Bar & Eatery
Where: Dorothy Winstone Centre,

Auckland Girls’ Grammar School,

16 Howe Street, Newton, Auckland.

Tickets: VIP – $60, ‘A’ Reserve – $40, ‘B’ Reserve – $25
Contact: Basant Madhur on 021-0357954; Email:

Photo : File Photo of the Performing Artistes of Sargam Fusion with Rakesh Chaurasia in June 2016.

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