10/19(SAT.) 14:00 All About Curating International Music Festivals Speaker︰Diana Webley, Mahesh Babu, Nandini Mahesh, Jung Hun Lee, Miriam Brenner
Mahesh Babu｜Founder and Managing Director
Mahesh Babu was exposed to music very early in life thanks to his father’s love for classical music. He grew up listening to great maestros who, at his father’s invitation, would come to his house and perform for a select few listeners. This laid a strong foundation for his journey into the world of music that started under the guidance of one the most revered gurus of Hyderabad, Pt. Narayanrao Punt, who taught him the tabla. He received the prestigious National Scholarship for performing arts and was put under the tutelage of the famous Ustad Shaikh Daood.
In 1985 he joined ONGC as a geophysicist and moved to Mumbai. In 1992 he left ONGC and started working as a consultant for Pan Music to enhance their repertoire of Indian classical music. The following year he joined the UK-based label Navras Records and established it in India as a leading brand. All along, his quest for rare forms and great music continued, as did his search in rural areas.
In 1996, he founded Ninaad Music (a music label) and Banyan Tree Events, which today are among the front-ranking companies known for world-class presentations of performing arts not just all over India but in other countries as well. He has been conceiving and organizing festivals across India of various genres for corporations, tourism departments, PSUs and others. Some of Banyan Tree’s most well-known events are Ruhaniyat – The All India Sufi & Mystic Music Festival, Barkha Ritu, the only national festival of monsoon ragas, Splendor of Masters, and the Golconda Cultural Festival to name just a few. These highly popular festivals are the culmination of his musical journey of three decades.
Babu has also helped create content and market more than 100 albums for labels like CBS, Navras, Crescendo and Ninaad Music. Most of these are chart-toppers in the classical music section.
Nandini Mahesh｜Co-Founder and Director
A graduate of sociology from the prestigious St. Xavier’s College, Nandini did her M.A. in sociology at Bombay University before joining Elphinstone College as a lecturer. After a few years of teaching, she joined the world of advertising as a copywriter and was part of the advertising world for a decade beginning in 1990, working for some of the world‘s leading agencies, like Everest, Madison and Ambience. In 1999 she left the advertising world to join her husband as a source of creativity in his initiative to preserve performing arts through his companies, Banyan Tree and Ninaad Music.
A trained musician in the Hindustani classical vocals, she embarked on an ethnomusicological journey to Rajasthan for her research on the Manganiyars, a community of musicians from the remote villages of Jaisalmer and Barmer districts, under the guidance of Padma Bhushan Komal Kothari.
In her endeavor to reach out to the younger generation, she directed the first-ever music video of classical Indian music featuring the living legends Pt. Shivkumar Sharma and his son (and protege), Rahul Sharma, in 1998.
She has also authored a coffee-table book entitled Sufi & Mystic India, which is based on her experiences of discovering unheard-of forms and talented musicians, carriers of living traditions from across India, for Ruhaniyat – The All India Sufi and Mystic Music Festival, which has been organized by her and her husband in ten different cities for over a decade now. The book is an enchanting journey into Indian culture, crisscrossing history and geography as it relates unique experiences.