SEATTLE, Wash. — The National Endowment for the Arts recently announced a $10,000 Art Works award to the Anindo Chatterjee Institute of Tabla Seattle, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting tabla drumming and Hindustani music through educational programs, concerts and classes, many of which are attended by local Indian Americans.

The funding will help to support ACIT’s 2016 Access to Ustads Project, an effort to bring four Indian maestros to western Washington for public performances and to provide accompanying educational workshops and lectures.

"This means more music education, especially for kids, young people and local musicians in King County,” ACIT Seattle board president Priya Marita Diaz stated in a press release.. “It’s a chance for performing artists and the public to study one of the world’s greatest musical traditions, and offers opportunities to learn that are rarely seen in the United States, thanks to the support of the NEA."

ACIT Seattle is one of 64 recipients nationwide who were awarded $1.3 million in Art Works grants in the Folk and Traditional category by the NEA. These awards were part of $27.7 million awarded by the NEA in its first 2016 funding round.

The Access to Ustads Project will take place in between April and November 2016, in King County, Wash. Four master guest musicians — including ACIT Seattle and master tabla player Anindo Chatterjee — will demonstrate, engage and share techniques of their art form in the oral tradition with the public, including student and professional musicians of all ages.

Each performance will feature one of the artists on a traditional Southeast Asian instrument: bansuri, sarod, sitar and tabla. In addition, each master will also give a lecture and interactive workshop to engage children, musicians and the general public.

“It is a significant opportunity to have musicians of this caliber presenting and teaching in this area,” said ACIT executive director and co-founder Ravi Albright, who is also a professional tabla player and percussionist. “In presenting these community programs, there is value both for those familiar with, and new to, the melodic beauty and rhythm of Hindustani music.

“ACIT will collaborate with many local community organizations and partners to promote and produce the concerts,” he added.

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