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StringFEST 2017 - Festival of Plucked and Bowed Instruments Sitar recital...
Tue 28 March 2017, 18:30 – 20:30 BST
Clem Alford was born in Glasgow where he studied the Scottish national instrument, the bagpipes. He was introduced to the sound of the sitar in the mid-sixties. He travelled to India and studied with Pandit Sachindranath Saha, principal of the Midnapore Music College in West Bengal. Clem was awarded Junior Sangit Ratnakar with one of his examiners being the late great Md. Dabir Khan, the noted Dhrupad vocalist and Been player. He secured the diploma of Sangeet Sudhakar for expertise in sitar from Surer Maya Sangit Samaj of Calcutta in 1970.
Clem's first major recital was in Bombay in November 1970, and had the Times of India critic saying "...... astounding skill, ease in sitar ". It was this sitar recital at the celebrated Kal-ke Kalakar Sammelan of Bombay which won Clem the rich accolade of 'Sur Mani' (a jewel of notes). Since then Clem has performed not only in the West but also in India and many other countries. He has been hailed by many experts and the press as the best western sitar player of today. An example of this recognition was his participation in the concert held in 1975 in the Royal Albert Hall, in which he was presented along with the leading Indian vocalist Lakhsmi Shankar.
Clem has been associated with the famous John Williams (classical guitar), John Mayer (composer/ Indo Jazz Fusions), Maurice Jarre (film scores), John Dankworth (jazz), Hemant Kumar (vocalist), and a host of other striking personalities in the world of music.
Clem has composed music for number of films, including the government of India's Dateline Bangladesh and Staying On, TV series Jewel in the Crown, Film Foreign Body starring. Clem's sitar can be heard on many numerous films and documentaries. Clem was music principal and sitar teacher at the Bhavan Centre (London) from 1972-76 and he was visiting lecturer at CCAT in Cambridge from 1985-88.
Accompanied by Udit Pankhania on the Tabla
In association with SAMA Arts Network