Artists

Imtiaz Dharker

Imtiaz Dharker is a poet, artist and documentary film-maker. Awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2014, recipient of the Cholmondeley Award and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, her collections include Purdah (Oxford University Press), Postcards from god, I speak for the devil and The terrorist at my table (all published by Penguin India and Bloodaxe Books UK), Leaving Fingerprints and Over the Moon (Bloodaxe Books UK). Her poems are on the British GCSE and A Level English syllabus. She has been Poet in Residence at Cambridge University Library, and has recently completed a series of poems for The Haunting commissioned by Alchemy and The Leeds Library.  Her drawings have been exhibited internationally in India, London, New York and Hong Kong. A forthcoming exhibition curated by Alchemy – Sense of Line – is due to open at Leeds University Fine Arts Gallery in July 2017. Image and word often go hand in hand in Imtiaz Dharker’s practice as can be seen in the Sacred Sounds commission.

Prabhjot Singh Gill

Prabhjot Singh Gill is a young and upcoming tabla player with a passion for different forms of percussion. His musicianship has been under the guidance of the acclaimed tabla maestro Sri Bhupinder Singh Chaggar. Playing since the age of three, Prabhjot is developing and honing his skills as a student, workshop leader and performer. He has performed solo, as part of an ensemble and with orchestral groups such as SAMYO. Prabhjot’s long experience of accompanying performances of Gurbani Kirtan has been an important part of his musical journey. This is further enhanced by the fact that his playing is strongly rooted and influenced by the Varanasi (Benares) gharana or school of playing.

Prabhjot enjoys playing a variety of percussion instruments and is the founder of ‘Drum Fusion’ – a popular and versatile Leeds-based group of percussionists performing across a range of genres.

Robert Green

Nottingham-based singer songwriter Robert Green has drawn upon the varied genres of music he grew up with – including soul, RnB, indie and rock to inform his own distinctive compositions.

In 2016, his album ROB.GREEN EP debuted in the Top 40 of iTunes Albums Chart in its first week (and #3 in iTunes RnB Chart). He has won international critical acclaim for the innovative, continuous shot music video for Blue – the EP’s debut single. In 2016 alone, he performed over 100 fixtures around the UK including; Y Not Festival, Victorious Festival, and an exclusive performance at the Apple Regent Street store to celebrate the EP’s success as part of their #TodayatApple programme.

Rob is mentored by songwriter/composer Christella Litras. Together they composed the music for Imitiaz Dharker’s poem-sequence A Haunting, commissioned by Alchemy and performed at the Ilkley Literature Festival.

Christella Litras

Christella is a professional singer, songwriter, producer, composer and musician. She has provided vocal and song writing tuition for both national and international educational establishments and has directed many professional studio recordings and performance poetry showcases, which include the Rob Green EP that went to number 3 in the iTunes chart. She has performed as a Vandella alongside Motown Legend artist Martha Reeves on her European and UK tours. She composed the songs for Love Beyond Measure (2014) and The Hidden Diamond: The Many Facets of The Leeds Library (2015), and along with Rob Green, set award-winning poet Imtiaz Dharker’s A Haunting to music for The Haunting: Ghosts of Every Shade curated by Alchemy.  Founder of the Caution Collective you can find out more about Christella’s work by visiting the website www.cautioncollective.co.uk

Jack Lockhart

Jack is a visual artist with a particular interest in using moving image in unusual spaces and contexts.  He did the animation sequences for Love Beyond Measure: The Legend of Sohni and Mahiwal(2014) and for The Haunting; Ghosts of Every Shade (2016). Both commissions, characterised by subtlety and humour and insights into the creative processes of other artists, were very well received.  A multi-disciplinary artist, in addition to film animation Jack works with a wide range of art forms to create visual art, stage design, props and films. His other specialisms include performance, sculpture and digital art. 

Kirpal Singh Panesar

Kirpal is regarded as one of the leading Tar-Shehnai, Esraj and Dilruba performers of today.  Kirpal’s remarkable musical ability was recognised early.  With the blessings of Sri Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji, Kirpal began his learning of Tar Shehnai and Dilruba with Ustad Surjeet Singh Ji in 1994. He also receives tutelage from Ustad Gurdev Singh Ji, who himself was the disciple of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan.  Kirpal is also a disciple of the legendary, late Ustad Bismillah Khan.  He has performed in prestigious venues around the world such as the National Theatre, Bangkok, Cuvillies Theatre, Munich & most recently Buckingham Palace. 

To listen to other performances by Kirpal please visit http://www.philharmonia.co.uk/explore/films/247/adrian_varela_and_kirpal_singh_panesar_in_conversation

Keertan Kaur Rehal

Keertan began singing Gurbani Kirtan at the age of four. She trained in Hindustani classical music under the late Jayasree Sen Gupta and is continuing her training under Poulomi Chakraborty. She has also enhanced her musicianship with Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty and travelled to India in 2011 to learn from Kaushiki Chakraborty and Parthasarathi Desikan. Keertan has performed in a range of venues, competitions and festivals. She is an experienced teacher and offers one to one tuition as well as being a support tutor at SAA-uk Music Academy. Most recently she participated in the Manchester International Festival and Bradford Literature Festival.  She was one of the artists in the Sacred Sounds pilot. 

Ravneet Sehra

Ravneet is a North Indian classical vocalist and actor. She trained as an actor at Birmingham Ormiston Academy which was co-founded by Maverick Television and The Brit School.  She has acted in numerous stage plays and worked closely with Birmingham Repertory’s Youth Theatre.  She has acted in key classics by Shakespeare and Euripides, such as Ophelia in Hamlet and Clytemnestra in Iphigenia. Roles in contemporary theatre include playing Baby in Meera Sayal’s world premiere of Anita and Me and Ojal in A Storm in a Chai Cup. 

Ravneet started her musical journey learning Gurbani Kirtan at the age of seven, parallel with western singing, obtaining qualifications from U.K.’s largest music examining body The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. She is currently under the musical tutelage of Sri Kirpal Singh Panesar.  Recent performances as a key vocalist include the U.K. tour of Between the Two. 

Ravneet’s vocalist and acting skills have led to performances across the globe, including Spain and India. These skills have also given her the opportunity to provide a multi-sensory experience of India for children with multiple learning difficulties on a national tour of The Girl and the Goat with Bamboozle Theatre Company.

Vijay Venkat

Vijay is an outstanding musician with the unique distinction of being one of the very few artists capable of performing on the violin, the flute and the vichitra veena (an ancient Indian fret-less slide instrument) with equal virtuosity.  He also plays a number of other musical instruments like the viola, shehnai, mukha veena, slide guitar, mridangam, keyboards, chopo choor (a Kyrgyzstan’s folk wind instrument) with facility and verve, and is an accomplished singer. 

Vijay has performed in venues all over Britain including Queen Elizabeth’s Hall, South Bank Centre and The Nehru Centre, London; York Minster; Yorkshire Sculpture Park; Birmingham Symphony Hall; The Curve, Leicester; Bridgewater Hall, Manchester; The Lowry, Salford; Howard Assembly Room, Leeds.   He was commissioned by Alchemy and The Leeds Library to produce a piece of music for The Haunting.  He is an empanelled artist for the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).  He was born in Madras, South India, into a family of acclaimed musicians.  His father and prime mentor is one of India’s foremost mridangam players. Vijay holds an M.Phil in Anthropology from the University of Madras and a Masters in Music from Middlesex University.

Keranjeet Kaur Virdee

Keranjeet Kaur Virdee is a creative producer, artistic director and cultural broker. As Chief Executive of South Asian Arts-uk (SAA-uk) she has shaped the organisation’s cultural offer so that its imaginative programming reflects the rich cultural tapestry of the U.K. – with the very best of classical and contemporary South Asian music and dance at its core.   She has deftly erected ladders of engagement that have successfully attracted and retained new and diverse audiences. Under her leadership, SAA-uk  has been a crucible for talent – often nurturing artists from childhood to fully- fledged nationally and internationally acclaimed performers.

Joe Williams

Joe is a Leeds- born performer/researcher and founder of Heritage Corner, exploring Yorkshire links to his African-Caribbean heritage. He has curated the popular Leeds Black History Walk which also informs many of his plays, projects and presentations. Joe uses his rich, basso profundo voice to great effect – for instance playing the role of abolitionists Olaudah Equiano and Frederick Douglass. His work on circus proprietor Pablo Fanque is being revived for 2017/18. Recent work includes an acclaimed performances of ‘Meet the Crafts’ at the British Library, London, and the thrillingly chilling enactment of ghost stories for Alchemy’s The Haunting, 2016. To find out more about Joe, please visit http://heritagecornerleeds.wix.com/heritage-corner