Jim Santi Owen and Sameer Gupta represent diverse backgrounds in multiple percussion traditions including North and South Indian classical percussion, Jazz, and New Music. Owen and Gupta, along with special guests, will a present an evening of duet and solo percussion compositions and improvisations on tabla, kanjira, morsing, thavil, drumset, and other percussion.
Jim Santi Owen is an American percussionist, educator, performer, composer and producer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Drumming since the age of eight, he has devoted over 26 years to the study of the classical percussion traditions of North and South India with tabla maestro Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri and South Indian master percussionists, T.H. Subash Chandran and K. Sekar. Owen studied Jazz with Charlie Haden, James Newton, and Tootie Heath and African drumming and dance from the Ladzekpo Brothers. He holds a Bachelor’s of Humanities from New College of California and a Master’s degree in World Music from California Institute of the Arts and was a Fellow of the American Institute of Indian Studies from 1998-2000. Owen has worked with internationally renowned artists including: Pharoah Sanders, Hamza el Din, Alonzo King, Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, Subash Chandran, K. Sekar, Chitresh Das, Kartik Seshadri, Sharam Nazeri, Steve Smith, Terry Riley, Alam Khan, John Santos, Joseph Jarman, Yair Dalal, Bikram Ghosh, Ganesh Kumar, Jai Uttal, Myra Melford, Alessandra Belloni, Gamelan Sekar Jaya, Kyaw Kyaw Naing, Rova Saxophone Quartet, Omar Sosa, and Steve Gorn. Owen is also the co-director and founder of the Indian percussion ensemble, Tabla Rasa with whom he produced the San Francisco Festival of Sacred Drumming, Dance and Song and Sacred Drums of India concerts. A dedicated teacher, Owen is on faculty at the Ali Akbar College of Music, Dominican University, the Jazz School, and LINES Ballet and travels around the world teaching master classes for adults and youth. Owen served a Music Director for the San Francisco World Music Festival from 2009-2014 and is currently a curator for the San Francisco Center for New Music.
Sameer Gupta continues to build his career by combining traditional and modern improvisational styles drawing from his dual Indian and American heritage, and has already established himself as an original musical voice in Jazz, World, and Fusion music. From his early percussion studies in Tokyo, Japan in the mid 80s, he has consistently placed himself in many challenging musical environments. Sameer has the distinct honor of studying tabla with the living legend Pandit Anindo Chatterjee for 10 years and has the blessings of his Guru to fully explore his percussive musical vision. Sameer is also a co-founder and an Artistic Director of Brooklyn Raga Massive, which is a remarkable Artist Collective dedicated to Indian Classical Music and Raga-inspired art forms. He has had the pleasure to play with many great musicians including Falu Shah, Rez Abbasi, Marc Cary, Wallace Roney, Karsh Kale, Pandit Krishna Bhatt Ravi Chandra Kulur, Mysore Manjunath, Prasant Radhakrishnan, Pandit Chitresh Das, Jason Samuels Smith, Pandit Ramesh Mishra, Pandit Anindo Chatterjee and numerous other luminaries. From bebop to avant-garde jazz, and European classical percussion to North Indian classical tabla, Gupta continues to compose and perform music from a true multi-cultural perspective that now bridges several continents.