Musician aims to bend Vancouver’s ears to classical South Indian sounds

Published: February 13, 2013


Curtis Andrews

Percussionist Curtis Andrews acknowledges that south Indian music is not nearly as popular as north Indian, and would like to be part of changing that. Submitted photo

Local musician Curtis Andrews wants Vancouverites to come out and discover something new with his South Indian classical music concert Saturday night.

“[People should] come to hear instruments they’ve never heard and to hear new music, actually, that’s being written based on ancient forms,” said Andrews.

“[I’m trying] to bring [the music] outside of the [Indian] community and have it for people that might just want to come out and hear some new music in the evening.”

Saturday’s performance at the Western Front in Vancouver, titled Sangati, features Andrews playing the mridangam — an ancient Indian percussion instrument — alongside some well-established South Asian musicians, like Vidyasagar Vankayala on vocals, Seattle’s Prabha Sivaratnam on violin and Karthiga Parmeswaran on the veena.

The performance will be a fusion work, accompanied by Vancouver jazz players such as Jared Burrows on guitar and Colin Maskell on flute and saxophone.

“They can expect to hear some exotic music or music you don’t hear very much in Vancouver,” said Andrews.

According to Andrews, North Indian music is much more well known than the South Indian sounds he’ll be playing.

He said North Indian music rose to fame with The Beatles and particularly George Harrison.

“He did a lot to popularize the music of North India and the sitar,” said Andrews, referencing Beatles albums from the late 1960s. “Over the decades it’s just something that more and more people started to become conscious of.

“And with that a lot more people were migrating from the northern parts of India to North America, Europe, England, so they bring those traditions with them. South Indians, they’re not as populist [and] within Vancouver the population of South Indians is very small.”

So while many people have heard of the tabla and sitar, Andrews hopes to expose Vancouver to the lesser-known South Indian sounds with his mridangam.

“Just so it’s more in people’s conscience that something as beautiful as this exists,” he said.

And the music has got something for everyone.

“It’s not part of my heritage at all — this is something I was drawn to,” said Andrews.

He’s been playing the mridangam for about 13 years now and learned from Sri Trichy Sankaran in India and Canada.

“I heard him playing and it totally twisted my musical ear in a different way because I’d never heard this,” Andrews said of the first time he heard Sankaran — his “guru” — play the instrument.

“Rhythmically it opened up a whole new universe of possibility so I’ve just kind of followed it since then and continued it.”

The show starts at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Western Front at 303 E. 8th Ave. Tickets are available at the door for $15 or can be purchased online at

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,



Saskatoon woman, 65, faces death if deported to native Pakistan: lawyer

EVAN RADFORD THE STARPHOENIX A woman in Saskatoon who fled to Canada from her native Pakistan over accusations of adultery has lost a bid to…
Continue Reading »


Man jailed for murder of Vancouver girlfriend wants to withdraw his guilty plea (with video)

KEITH FRASER VANCOUVER DESI A man who spent 12 years on the lam before being convicted in the fatal shooting of his teenage girlfriend wants…
Continue Reading »


Villagers worship ‘miracle’ calf in India born with third eye (w/ video)

VANCOUVER DESI People are flocking to a small village in southern India to worship a “miracle” calf believed to be an incarnation of a Hindu…
Continue Reading »


Saskatoon woman, 65, faces death if deported to native Pakistan: lawyer

By Steve Lambert THE CANADIAN PRESS WINNIPEG — A woman who fled to Canada from Pakistan — and who may be stoned to death upon…
Continue Reading »


Saskatoon woman, 65, faces death if deported to native Pakistan: lawyer

EVAN RADFORD THE STARPHOENIX A woman in Saskatoon who fled to Canada from her native Pakistan over accusations of adultery has lost a bid to…
Continue Reading »

Mediator strides between camps as B.C. teachers and government aim for deal

By Tamsyn Burgmann THE CANADIAN PRESS RICHMOND, B.C. — Negotiators for striking British Columbia teachers and the province huddled separately in a Richmond hotel for…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

underwater photos

Gallery: Couples pose for ‘romantic and beautiful’ underwater photos

VANCOUVER DESI Some memories need to be captured in the most beautiful and romantic settings, especially when it comes to life’s important occasions involving weddings…
Continue Reading »

heptathlete India

Indian athlete with six toes on each foot attempts to overcome deformity to medal at Asian Games

C. RAJSHEKHAR RAO THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW DELHI – Merely wearing shoes is painful for Swapna Barman. She was born with six toes on each…
Continue Reading »

striking teachers

Kids attending Surrey farm school likely helping to feed some striking teachers (w/video)

GLENDA LUYMES VANCOUVER DESI Instead of pencils and books, kids took up carrots and cucumbers Thursday at “farm school.” As the teachers’ strike stretches on,…
Continue Reading »

crime-Reeva Steenkamp

South Africa prosecuting authority unhappy with Oscar Pistorius judgement in shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

IANS Pretoria – South Africa’s top prosecuting authority Friday expressed its disappointment on not being able to secure a conviction on the original charge of…
Continue Reading »

body odour-discrimination

San Diego cabbies outraged by body odour test used to ban foul-smelling drivers

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Body odour is among 52 criteria that officials at San Diego International Airport use to judge taxi drivers. Cabbies say that smacks of…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood Latest

Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger gestures to the waiting media as he returns after visiting Tamil Nadu state Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalitha at her office in Chennai, India, Monday, Sept.15, 2014. The former California Governor is in Chennai as part of a promotional event of Tamil movie ‘I’. AP Photo/Arun Sankar K

Arnold Schwarzenegger, in Chennai for Tamil film launch, says he’d love to work with Shankar

IANS Chennai  – Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was in Chennai on Monday as the chief guest for the audio launch of Tamil film I, said he…
Continue Reading »

Parineeti Chopra and Aditya Roy Kapur

Gallery: Bollywood actors Aditya Roy Kapur and Parineeti Chopra on ‘food yatra’

IANS New Delhi – The lead actors of “Daawat-e-Ishq” Aditya Roy Kapur and Parineeti Chopra have embarked on a ‘food tour’ to promote their upcoming…
Continue Reading »

Shah Rukh Khan Deepika Padukone Bollywood sex

Salman Khan: Shah Rukh Khan and Happy New Year team will promote film on ‘Bigg Boss’

IANS Mumbai – Actor Salman Khan, who is gearing up with “Bigg Boss” season 8 says his rival Shah Rukh Khan will promote his film…
Continue Reading »