German Ambassador, Pandit Birju Maharaj named for top SaMaPa honours

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The Sopori Academy of Music And Performing Arts (SaMaPa) announced the names of the recipients of this year’s SaMaPa awards, the exclusive national level honours pertaining to Jammu & Kashmir.

The awards will be given on 22, 23 and 24 November during the ninth edition of the Academy’s Annual festival, the SaMaPa Sangeet Sammelan, the topmost classical music festival of Delhi, and one of the most prestigious festivals of the country.

SaMaPa is a cultural movement translating from a deep-rooted vision of its chairman, music legend Pandit Bhajan Sopori, and the tireless efforts of its board members in creating a unique, unbiased and empowering national level platform for presentation, propagation, and teaching of traditional music and performing arts.

The prestigious ‘SaMaPa Kala Vardhan Samman’ is being conferred on German Ambassador to India Michael Steiner for significantly contributing toward the growth, development and promotion of the music of Kashmir. The prestigious ‘SaMaPa Vitasta Award’, which carries a cash honour of Rs. 50,000, is being conferred on Pandit Birju Maharaj for his lifetime contribution in the field of Hindustani Classical Dance, Kathak (Delhi), and Pandit Anup Jalota for his lifetime contribution in the field of Hindustani Devotional & Light music, Vocal (Mumbai).

The prestigious ‘SaMaPa Sher-e-Kashmir Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah Award’, which carries a cash honour of Rs. 25,000, is being conferred on veteran musician of J&K Shri Abdul Gani Rather ‘Trali’.

Arun Chatterjee is being honoured with the ‘SaMaPa Acharya Abhinavgupt Samman’, which carries a cash honour of Rs 11,000. Salil Bhatt, a promising young instrumentalist, and Ms. Ragini Rainu, a budding Sufi singer, are being awarded the ‘SaMaPa Yuva Ratan Samman’, which also carries a cash award of Rs. 11,000.

The ‘SaMaPa Kala Vardhan Samman’ has been instituted to honour eminent personalities, cultural philanthropists and visionaries who go beyond the conventional areas of working to promote the art and culture of the country.

The announcement was made by the General Secretary of SaMaPa, the internationally acclaimed Santoor maestro, music composer and music conductor, Abhay Rustum Sopori, in New Delhi.

He said that the awards were decided by the SaMaPa board comprising Pandit Bhajan Sopori, Patrons Union Minister for New & Renewable Energy Dr. Farooq Abdullah, veteran Kashmiri singer Shameem Azad, eminent musicologist Pt. Vijay Shankar Mishra and other committee members.

In the years since it began, SaMaPa has created a new generation of music connoisseurs by evolving the right platform for better appreciation and understanding of traditional music and its technicalities.

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