"[The Delhi to Damascus theme] questions the role of music, culture, and art in our lives and in our current scenario– how we must popularize these things to foster connections among individuals and communities to shape a world perspective through musical compositions."
Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, a Sanskrit shloka, means “the world is one family.” For centuries, the human spirit has been transcending literal and figurative borders to survive and thrive. Inspired by the confluence of cultures this brings, Delhi to Damascus— both the Project and the HUM Ensemble’s debut album— is a celebration of the shared history between India and the Middle East. These countries were major trade centers of the legendary Silk Road and flourished with a vibrant cultural, musical and linguistic exchange, exemplified by their common Sufi music tradition and the ancient Indo-Iranian and Indo-European Sanskrit script.
A collaboration between Indian Classical/Semi-Classical and Middle-Eastern music, Delhi to Damascus world music concerts feature some of the most iconic instruments of these countries. The eclectic and soulful repertoire, a mix of new compositions and rearrangements, draws on traditional Indian ragas, melodic Arabic maqams, philosophical Sufi poems, pulsating folk grooves, and lyrical thumri. The transformative and transcendental music, at times foreign and others familiar, engages differences only to overcome them, and then connects us at an innately human level. It takes us on a mesmerizing journey of new beginnings, exquisite poetry, lyrical exposition, romantic yearnings, and embracing humanity as our community.
An earnest quest to start a dialogue, spark compassion, and stimulate the imagination to see beyond geographical borders, Delhi to Damascus is a musical invitation to a spiritual odyssey, inspired by the spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam—the beautiful ideal of inclusion, empathy, global community, and humanitarianism.
About Sandeep Das
A 2019 Guggenheim Fellow, Sandeep Das is one of the leading Tabla virtuosos in the world today. Since his debut concert at the age of 17 with legendary Sitarist Pt. Ravi Shankar, Das has established himself as one of India’s top Tabla maestros, building a prolific international reputation spanning over three decades. In addition to performing at major Indian music festivals with renowned musicians such as Ust. Amjad Ali Khan and Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, he is one of the unique Indian Classical musicians to expand beyond his traditional roots and collaborate with musicians and ensembles from across the globe, such as Yo-Yo Ma, Paquito D’Rivera, the New York Philharmonic, and the Silk Road Ensemble, with whom he collaborated on the 2017 Grammy-winning album, "Sing Me Home.
Das has performed at prestigious events such as the 150th anniversary of the UNO, the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics, and the BBC Proms, and for visiting dignitaries including the Queen of England, the Queen of Thailand, the Pope, and various other world leaders. He has received the prestigious Brother Thomas Fellowship, the New England Choice Artist of the Year Award, and multiple grants and commissions for his prolific work as a composer. Das is also an active recording artist and has recorded over 30 albums for major labels such as Sony, Virgin Records, and T-Series for genres including Indian Classical Music, World Music, and more. To learn more about him, please visit the bio page.
About the HUM Ensemble
Founded by Tabla Maestro Sandeep Das in 2010, the HUM Ensemble is dedicated to promoting global understanding and transcending borders through the power of music. The HUM Ensemble’s debut concert took place in New Delhi and by popular demand it continued performing throughout India in major cities such as Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai. The ensemble has since expanded to a global scale, performing at venues like the Europalia Festival in Brussels, Cal Performances in Berkeley, California, and other venues throughout the US, in addition to regular invitations for residencies and masterclasses by major universities.
Artists of the HUM Ensemble have performed at music festivals worldwide including the World Music Festival (Prague), WOMAD (Madrid, Incheon, Australia, and New Zealand), and the Mystic Music Festival (Turkey), among many others.