A typical performance interweaves chapters in tabla drums, a 25-stringed sarode, vocal and dance music.  The cultural traditions of India offer unique and beautiful ways to help students connect with a variety of educational themes including math, language, I.T., contemplation, elaborate decoration and the integration of diver sity.


A. Classical Music of India

The Classical Music of North India program introduces the rich melodic and rhythmic structures of North Indian classical music in an entertaining yet educational format. Featuring exquisite instruments like the tabla, sarode and sitar, students are engaged with creative sound play using word and note combinations.  Introductory performances precede themed breakdowns which illustrate various themes with both vocals and instruments including the tuned tabla drums, and the exotic, multi-stringed instruments like the sarode, sitar or sarangi.

Each program involves the students using creative aspects of the music.  Students will leave clapping and playfully singing “Sa Re Ga Ma” (India’s “Do Re Mi”) or the spoken “bols” / rhythmic patterns of the tabla drums such as “Dha Dhin tete kite”.  Upon request, presentations can be especially geared towards the Tabla (rhythmic) or Sarode/Sargam (melodic) themes or instruments.

Technical Requirements: A clean carpet on a riser or presentable floor space plus an adequate sound system as needed for the selected performance space.

Tabla demonstration example by one of my teachers:

B. Musical Diversity in India

Covering several genres in one presentation, Musical Diversity in India illustrates how India’s classical performance arts and it’s contagiously diverse pop/film music share origins in the ancient reverence for sacred sound.

Small ensembles will feature traditional tabla drums, vocals, sarode and some electronic music to illustrate common threads and unique characteristics of several Indian music genres including both Bollywood and Hindustani classical traditions.  Creative activities can include meditative listening & some structural analysis as well as popular group dance moves and sing-alongs.

Technical Requirements: A clean carpet on a riser or presentable floor space plus an adequate sound system as needed for the selected performance space.


Given a series of days to work with students, the above themes are elaborated upon more fully to engaged the students creatively giving them a greater sense of India’s identity as well as their own.



Andrew McLean, a native of New Orleans, has been performing music in New Orleans and beyond since childhood. Andrew’s intuitive musical aesthetic was nurtured early on by jazz guitar great Hank Mackie and later by world music and jazz faculty at both U.C.L.A.’s department of ethnomusicology and the Ali Akbar College of Music including the legendary Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri and Ustad Zakir Hussain as well as Gerald Wilson, Francisco Aguabella and others.  Playing both guitar and Indian tabla drums, he co-founded the Indo-New Orleans group Shringar with New Orleans saxophonist Tim Green and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan’s eldest son, Aashish Khan. Being a pioneer of Indian music in New Orleans, he has performed in the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, recorded in the top local studios, and collaborated with many world-class musicians including New Orleans piano maestro Henry Butler, Michael Ray, Jason Marsalis, Harold Brown, Tony Dagradi, James Singleton, Stephen Masakowski and local “Mardi Gras Indian” Chief Smiley Ricks among others.He also composed music for film including soundtrack for the PBS-aired documentary Time and Tide as well as “Just Breathe” which was featured in one of Oprah Winfrey’s “Super Soul Sunday” episodes on mindfulness with Jon Kabat-Zinn.

andrew pressphoto


Mehnaz Hoosein is an Indian pop singer and songwriter from Mumbai, India, popularly known for her hit song ‘Banoongi Main Miss India’.  At the age of 13, Mehnaz started her vocal training in Hindustani classical music under the tutelage of Pandit Bhavdeep Jaipurwale. She began training as a dancer with Shiamak Davar from 1998 and performed with the Shiamak Davar Institute of Performing Arts till 1995. Mehnaz achieved success with her song Miss India which won her the 1996 Channel V Music Award for Best Female Pop Vocalist. At the time, Mehnaz was managed by Diana Hayden who was crowned Miss India the same year.  In 2012, Mehnaz moved to New Orleans to pursue her dream of living in one of the most musical cities in the world. She has performed at Voodoo Fest with Leslie Blackshear Smith Mehnaz has also performed with Master Sarode player Aashish Khan and (Shringar) Larry Sieberth, Andrew McLean, Michael Skinkus and Tim Green. Mehnaz has been collaborating with pianist, composer and producer Lawrence Sieberth and was featured at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 2015