World Music concert admission prices are $15 general, $12 senior, and $8 student. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling (916) 278-4323.

The spring 2014 World Music Series opens with kora player Karamo Susso at 8:00pm on Wednesday, February 5. Karamo Susso is an international kora star. Growing up in a griot compound in Mali, he started playing kora as a tiny child, and was performing for large crowds before he was even big enough to hold the instrument up by himself. Fully immersed in the tradition, he learned from world-renowned players like his uncle Ballake Sissoko and his neighbor Toumani Diabate, and studied and taught kora at the Institute Nationale des Artes in Bamako, Mali. Karamo then began touring throughout West Africa, playing with such greats as Salif Keita, Toumani Diabate, Youssou Ndour, Vieux Farka Toure (son of Ali Farka Toure), and Sambou Susso the Queen of Afro-Manding. He performed for national stadiums in Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Senegal as a featured soloist with UNESCO's Fescuao Mali, and for the President's personal events in The Gambia. He made frequent appearances on national TV and radio.

Since his recent arrival in America, Karamo has played at university lecture halls and clubs with everyone from fellow world music stars to jazz and hip-hop groups. Audiences have been mesmerized and moved by his evocative music.The kora, the 21-stringed harp lute of West Africa, originated in the ancient Kingdom of Mali more than one thousand years ago.

On Sunday, February 9 at 7:00pm, South Indian Carnatic music will be performed by vocalist Arvind Rangarajan. Arvind had his initial tutelage in Carnatic vocals and veena from his aunt Smt. Kannamma. Later he came under the wings of two great gurus: Sangeetha Kalanidhi Dr. S. Ramanathan and Sri. Thanjavur Shankara. He has won several prizes, given many performances on Indian radio and television and at leading sabhas all over India & abroad. He is very passionate about music, still considers himself a music student and continues to get guidance from legendary musicians such as Chitraveena Sri.Ravikiran, K.N.Srinivasan, to name a few. He will be joined by Vignesh Venkataraman on mridangam and Parthiv Mohan on violin. The concert is co-sponsored by Sacramento Aradhana.

Vignesh is a mridangam artist hailing from Umayalpuram Sri. K. Sivaraman’s school of music. Over a period of 5 years, he traveled to India every summer to undergo advanced training under the tutelage of Umayalpuram Sri. K. Sivaraman. He has accompanied various artists, including some senior musicians, in concerts in the San Francisco Bay Area and in India. Vignesh has also participated in competitions at the Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana and has won several prizes there. He won the Best Mridangist award at the Spirit of Youth festival held by the Madras Music Academy in 2013. Mohan is a vocal and violin student of Anuradha Sridhar, daughter and disciple of Lalgudi Srimathi Brahmanandan. He has been an accompanist for many youth artists in the Bay Area and has given solo concerts in both vocal and violin in the Bay Area and in India. He is also a western classical violinist, and sings with the a cappella team at Dil Se in UC Berkeley where he's pursuing a degree in Computer Science.

The Sacramento Taiko Dan performs on Saturday, March 1 at 8:00pm. Sacramento Taiko Dan is the premiere Japanese drumming ensemble in the greater Sacramento region. Founded in 1989, their performers include community members and an international touring performance team. The combination of renowned drummers and outstanding drums enables them to provide audiences with world-class entertainment. The group has one of the largest collections of traditionally crafted instruments; their drums were created by Asano Taiko of Ishikawa, Japan, one of the premiere taiko builders in the world that has been crafting drums since 1609.

The Sacramento Taiko Dan has toured nationally and internationally, with annual appearances at the California State Fair, San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival, Sacramento Pacific Rim Festival, International Taiko Festival, and at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall, in addition to performing regularly in the Student Union at Sacramento State. They have collaborated with several artists and arts organizations including the Sacramento Ballet, Sacramento Symphony, Camellia Symphony and poet Julia Conner.

North Indian Hindustani vocal music will be performed by Rita Sahai on Thursday, April 3 at 8:00pm. Rita Sahai is an acclaimed composer and performer of North Indian Classical, Light Classical and Bhajans. She has toured extensively throughout the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and India. She has produced several CDs of her own, one of which, "Rangamalika", was considered for a Grammy nomination in 2003.

In the two decades that Rita has been in the United States, she has conducted classes all over the Bay Area, from Sacramento and Berkeley to Fremont and San Jose, and her students come from varied cultural and musical backgrounds. Ms. Sahai is also the recipient of many awards for her musical efforts. The most recent occurred in March, 2013 when she was inducted into The Alameda County 2013 Women’s Hall of Fame and was recognized for her contributions to Culture and Art.

On Sunday, April 6, we present a performance by the Kiandanda Dance Theater at 7:00pm. Kiandanda Dance Theater, formerly named Studio Rue Dance, was founded in the fall of 2008. Based in San Francisco and led by artistic director Byb Chanel (pictured), Kiandanda is an international dance company that does work between Africa, Europe and the USA. Every year the company holds workshops and the Nzela Program, as well as the Rue Dance Festival which is held every two years in the Republic of Congo.

Chanel is a talent in his own right, having toured and performed internationally with companies originating from Africa, England, France and the USA. His work has been presented at the San Francisco International Arts Festival (2010), the Museum of African Diaspora, and the Black Choreographers Festival (2009-12).

Entitled "Taboo and Heroes", this performance explores the situation of the wars that struck the Republic of Congo in the late 1990’s in a multimedia performance, featuring modern and traditional dance, interactive video design and live contemporary music. Taboo and Heroes addresses the reality and consequences of violence and corruption through the specific experiences of Byb Chanel Bibene, a survivor of the wars. Bringing together dance and theater performers, an original music score, set design and video elements, the piece aims to transport the audience into the charged atmosphere of conflict that permeated, and still echoes in everyday life in the Republic of Congo.

The spring semester of World Music concerts closes out on Sunday, May 4 at 7:00pm with Carnatic music from South India featuring veena players Srikanth Chary and Priyanka Chary. They will be accompanied on mridangam by Shriram Brahmanandam. This concert is co-sponsored by Sacramento Aradhana.

Srikanth Chary began his training at the age of six in Mumbai under the Veena vidwan Devakottai Sri Narayana Iyengar. He later studied music with Smt. Kalyani Sharma. At the age of eight, Srikanth was presented the first prize in a music competition by the music doyen Smt. M. S. Subbulakshmi. After moving to the United States, he had the opportunity to study music from the famed violinist Kum. A. Kanyakumari. He has given many concerts in the United States, India and Australia and has received excellent reviews. In 1999, Srikanth was invited to perform a duet with Sangeetha Choodamani Lalgudi Sri G. J. R. Krishnan at the residence of His Excellency, the Governor of Andhra Pradesh. Srikanth frequently performs on television and radio and is a graded artiste of the All India Radio.

Priyanka Chary started learning the veena at the age of six from her father, Sri Srikanth Chary. Priyanka has performed in several Bay Area venues, such as the SIFA Thyagaraja Aradhana, Livermore Temple, LOTUS, SRFA, Margazhi Utsavam, and the Pleasanton Youth Music Festival. She has competed in several regional and national music competitions, like the Cleveland Thygaraja Aradhana and the Papanasam Sivan Competition, and won 1st place awards for krithi rendition, alapana and kalpana swarams.