Ty Burhoe is returning to the island. Performing at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, Burhoe and Shubhendra Rao will take the stage with the Hawaiian Islands tour “Classical Music of India 2008.”
Burhoe, who plays the Tabia, began studying under the maestro Ustad Zakir in 1990. Ever since, Burhoe has considered his musical career a spiritual path. His music arises from the ancient yogic tradition of “Nada Yoga”—sound that comes to the ear from within the body.
“When I first started I was doing Native American drumming,” said Burhoe. “The rhythm of the ceremonial music enhanced my spiritual relationship with one’s self and what it creates for other people.”
The way Burhoe weaves Jazz, African, Rock, Celtic, Chinese, Bluegrass, Flamenco and fusion into an inimitable collaboration of melodies seems nearly instinctive. Burhoe has put his talents into creating his own record label, Tala Records, which is a Sanskrit term meaning “to clap” or “to mark time.” Burhoe envisioned Tala as a homegrown label that would release the musical partnerships woven together by different world traditions.
“This recording label was developed because I wanted more freedom to create,” Burhoe said. “Other recording labels determine the type of music that is appropriate for a record. With Tala Records, I have the freedom to work with who I want to work with and create music not just as a form of entertainment but for ceremonial purposes.”
Burhoe has performed with artists like Tony Furtado, Howard Levy and Kitaro. Most recently, Burhoe composed a soundtrack for the Academy Award-winning documentary Born into Brothels. He anticipates more to come.
This is Burhoe’s second appearance on the island to perform his sacred music, and he’ll be performing with sensational sitar player Shubhendra Rao. A sitar player since he was three, Rao learned to play from world-renowned maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar. Today Rao is a big-name composer, known for collaborating with a culturally diverse group of musicians.
“I’ve known Rao for many years,” Burhoe said. “I only started to play when I was 28 years old but I immersed myself enough to be at the point as a representative of the music. It is a real honor for me, not only as a friend but as a musical partner to share the stage with such an extraordinary man. What makes this unique is that Rao has a music ability to create on the spot. Rao can create a melody based on the weather, the mood and/or the audience.”
Burhoe’s show sold out last year. Burhoe wants to come back to Hawai‘i once or twice a year, bringing different musicians and different world music.
“I love being in Hawai‘i,” Burhoe said. “The atmosphere here is touching and unforgettable.” MTW