IndianRaga Fellowship

Application ProcessFAQs
India FellowshipUSA FellowshipReturning Fellows

What is the IndianRaga Fellowship?

This is a new-age program where,
1. The best young artists are selected
2. They collaborate with some guidance from the IndianRaga creative panel
3. They come together for 5-10 days and produce high quality videos of their collaborations

The IndianRaga Fellowship is the world’s most prestigious network of performing artists producing the best collaborations and music videos. Past Fellows have performed at Lincoln Center, Chicago Cultural Center, Joe’s Pub, and been featured on NPR. The videos have collectively garnered over 10 million views.


There are no pre-requisites for participants, but data shows that candidates who have done at least 2-3 Raga Labs or taken a few levels of the IndianRaga Certification have a distinct advantage in the Fellowship selection process. The IndianRaga Certification feedback by our panel of experts helps develop strong technical competence while the Raga Labs process helps participants get familiar with the process of collaboration, audio/video production, and developing creative approaches. Please note that the IndianRaga Fellowship selection team is not provided with any information on who has done a Raga Lab or Certification so as to keep the process fair.

To learn more about the process, see these overview videos to get an idea of the program:

Read our FAQs below. If you still have questions, email info@indianraga.com
Check out some of the most successful productions from the Fellowship:


Q: When and where is the Fellowship?
A: The IndianRaga Fellowship happens annually in North America and also in India, and for exact dates and timeframes please sign up at indianraga.com/fellowship and information will be sent to you as and when each Fellowship is announced

Q: Is the Fellowship only for applicants in a certain age group?
A: The Fellowship is open to applicants from all age groups.

Q: Are there any pre-requisites to apply to the Fellowship?
A: There are no pre-requisites for participants, but data shows that candidates who have done at least 2-3 Raga Labs or taken a few levels of the IndianRaga Certification have a distinct advantage in the Fellowship selection process. The IndianRaga Certification feedback by our panel of experts helps develop strong technical competence while the Raga Labs process helps participants get familiar with the process of collaboration, audio/video production, and developing creative approaches. Please note that the IndianRaga Fellowship selection team is not provided with any information on who has done a Raga Lab or Certification so as to keep the process fair.

Q: Who evaluates the Fellowship applications?
A: IndianRaga does not reveal the names of panelists who evaluate Fellowship applications. The panel itself consists of a mix of experts in the genre who are able to provide meaningful feedback with logical reasoning, as well as past senior Fellows of IndianRaga who have stood out for their technical as well as creative competence to deliver world-class collaborations. The panelists change every year, and are not aware of who their co-panelists are, to ensure as fair and unbiased a process as possible.

Q: How many productions will each Fellow be able to feature in?
A: The resources made available by IndianRaga are available in the Indicative Fellowship Schedule section. This includes rehearsal slots, audio recording, video shoot and provides the basic framework of what we provide with our available budget. As and when pieces are ‘approved’ by our creative panel, we will start scheduling them in till we reach the maximum number possible.

Since we select Fellows based on number of approved productions in Round 3, that can be some indicator of how many pieces they will have at a bare minimum. Fellows who are able to invest substantial amount of time and effort in advance to refine pieces as a team, with our feedback, generally end up being in more productions. Those who wait till the last minute, not as many – which is fine because its not about the number of pieces but about the quality of work, and given different backgrounds of Fellows not everyone is able to invest the same amount of time.

As an added option for Music Fellows, those who have high quality resources to record from home can start producing pieces in advance of the Fellowship week. Once the piece is approved we will ask for the recorded tracks and send to our mixing engineer. Likewise, dancers who have the time and capability to envision group choreographies remotely will have a distinct advantage of shaping pieces very strongly in advance and being able to invest more time at the Fellowship week on other collaborations.

Q: Do I need to have training and knowledge of other genres than the one that I am trained in to be a Fellow?
A: No, we look for musicians and dancers who have deep knowledge and training in the genre they are applying in, and a willingness to collaborate and open their minds to other art forms. We do not need you to have any previous training or experience in collaboration. We believe that the Fellowship is designed to help you develop the ability to collaborate as long as you are strong in one genre and are open-minded.

Q: Are the music videos based on traditional classical music or is it about new-age explorations?
A: There is no fixed policy on the creative aspect. Fellows are encouraged to come together and work with each other to create music that inspires them and that is relevant to audiences today. The IndianRaga production team will work with you in advance to understand your ideas and help shape the ones that would be most feasible for the Fellowship productions. You can review the productions from past Fellowship years to get some more insight.

Q: What is the cost of attending the Fellowship?
A: The IndianRaga Fellowship is an opportunity to feature in multiple productions in collaboration with different artist groups, in one shot! The program is designed for those who are looking to have an involved and diverse experience including feedback from experts, opportunity to meet and work with diverse artists, and of course the final productions, and joining a global network of advanced level performers. It also opens up the possibility of being invited to perform Fellowship pieces on prestigious live platforms.

The costs of attending the IndianRaga Fellowship are:

Application Fee: There is a non-refundable application fee depending on which cycle you register. Starting this year, we have split the fee into Round 1 and Round 2. Exact details are given on the respective fellowship pages. There is no separate fee for Round 3.

Program Fee: In North America, candidates who are offered a spot in the Fellowship will all pay a nominal program fee of $250 to cover a small portion of the Fellowship expenses. The program fee is Rs.5,000 for the India Fellowship. There is also a refundable security deposit that is to be paid which will be returned after all post production is completed satisfactorily.

Travel, Boarding and Lodging: All candidates must support the costs of their travel to the Fellowship venue, accommodation, local transportation, meals and any other others costs of attending the Fellowship.

Please note that in a small number of cases if we have an internal waitlist due to limited spots in the Fellowship, we may make some Conditional Offers to expand the number of spots. If this happens the specific candidates will be notified suitably.

Q: What are the requirements for Round 2?
A: In Round 2, you will be required to submit one Traditional piece and one Creative piece as defined below.  Each piece can be approximaltely 3-5 minutes long.

Traditional Piece : This is something that you would submit to a maestro or an expert in your field for evaluation. The emphasis will be heavily on foundational concepts, technique, believability*, presentation and overall impact. Please make sure to showcase diverse facets of performance – for instance in dance, do not only show abhinaya or emotion, make sure to also showcase fast, complex footwork, balance, etc. In music, do not only stick to slow renditions, make sure to include fast-paced patterns, improvisation (if it applies to your genre). Our panel will pay attention to minute details, so do work on facial expressions when you sing or dance (performers must look pleasant and composed). The best submissions are ones that are done with a simple camera and shot especially for the Fellowship instead of previously done concert performances or submissions. Please ensure that the submission is unedited and unmixed – which means there has been no professional alteration or polishing of it – we are interested in seeing how you perform naturally without any professional editing.

For Carnatic and Hindustani Percussion categories, the Traditional Piece is expected to be a showcase of how the applicant can accompany a vocal or instrumental artist. The video must be of the applicant accompanying someone either live, or to a recorded track that does NOT have percussion already. The panel will only evaluate the applicant, and not whom they are accompanying.

*Believability refers to how effectively or naturally the performer brings out the core emotion or essence as if he/she were actually feeling and experiencing it.

Creative Piece :
For the creative piece, we are expecting something that is so out-of-the-box, and bold in its thinking, that it showcases your ability to blend traditional concepts with what is relevant and exciting to the generation today. This is something that would go viral, and be shared extensively by lay audiences who may not be familiar with core concepts of your artform. We recognize that the ‘Creative Piece’ requirement is particularly unique to IndianRaga, so our panel will focus on identifying ‘potential’ and will not expect professionally produced pieces.

Taking a niche, technical concept and applying that to a traditional piece is not something we are looking for in the creative piece. We are looking for fresh approaches that make the art form accessible to audiences who are not connoisseurs of the art form, thus expanding the reach and impact of the art form to appeal to new audiences and cultures. If you look through the IndianRaga Fellowship productions from 2016, you will see several examples of this. Please remember we are not looking for professional audio mixing or video editing, and we do understand that as an individual there is a limit to what you can produce in this round – but our panel will be able to visualize the idea based on the best effort that you put into it.

Examples of what NOT TO DO would be:

1. Pick up two songs in different genres and just perform them one after the other and call it a mashup. A mashup is always a creative, interesting blend, it is never a sequential performance of pieces

2. Try to condense something that is designed for a 30 min or longish performance and try to condense to fit into 5 mins. For example a 5-min Ragam Thanam Pallavi or Bandish presentation is not what we are looking for.

3. Pick a song from a different culture and just add some Indian classical alaaps to it. This does not work.

4. Pick up a popular jugalbandi by two maestros and try to give your own spin to it.

5. Take extremely intense subjects and choreograph a story around it. Do not pick serious themes and do a ‘preachy’ choreography to it. We are looking for depth of thought that goes beyond this to think of hooks of surprise, unexpected twists, grooves and light-hearted moments.

For Percussion categories, please remember that you do not have to restrict yourself to your primary instrument. Any form of percussion ranging from other musical instruments to daily household items can be used to put together the Creative Piece.

NOTE : For the Composition and Arrangement, Sound Engineering and Mixing, Costumes and Set Design, and Videography and Screenplay categories, the distinction between tradition and creative may not be as clear and well defined. Hence applicants can feel free to use both submissions to showcase works that enable us to get a sense of diverse skill sets and approaches that you bring. We will not evaluate them as ‘Traditional’ and ‘Creative’.

It would greatly help you to review productions from the past IndianRaga Fellowships (youtube.com/indianragaproject), or review the Fellowship info webinar recording (available in the FAQs section of the fellowship page) to get a feel for how past fellowship productions have been approached.  You can have someone accompany you to support your piece.

Q: What is the Evaluation Criteria for Round 2?
A: Featuring in a music video involves a strong visual component and hence we expect candidates to focus on all aspects of performance and presentation style. We will be evaluating candidates on the visual aspect of their performance in addition to the technical and creative aspects. This includes but is not restricted to location and setting, lighting, interaction with camera/audience, body language, costume and style, make up and anything else that you think will enhance the audience experience.

Q: What are the requirements for Round 3?
A: Round 3 is a Collaboration Round where participants are expected to collaborate with other Round 3 participants and come up with pieces that meet the standards of IndianRaga productions.  IndianRaga provides a list of ideas, but the participants are free to modify or choose their own concept.  They will be submitting the concept and its relevance to our panel for review and upon approval they will rehearse and submit a draft audio/video recording.  At each stage, our creative panel will review and approve or approve with changes or reject.  Each participants can work on max 5 productions and at the end our panel will decide the Fellows based on what we observe in Round 3 collaborations as well as feedback from other participants.  More details will be sent when you are selected for Round 3.

Q: If I am selected to be a Fellow but am unable to participate, can I still be called an IndianRaga Fellow and get access to other opportunities through IndianRaga?
A: No. Only those who accept the invitation to be a Fellow, and attend the Fellowship Recordings to feature in productions with us will be called IndianRaga Fellows.

Q: If I am selected to be a Fellow, is there a contract I need to sign?
A: Yes. IndianRaga invests a lot of money to produce high quality productions with Fellows, and the productions created at the Fellowship are owned by IndianRaga. In order to ensure consistency of quality and high standards, we also retain creative control on productions to decide which ideas are approved for production and which are not. There will be an MoU to this effect shared and signed with invited candidates as part of the onboarding process.

Q: What kind of mentorship is provided during the Fellowship selection process and for the productions?
A: IndianRaga provides a list of ideas in Round 3 that candidates can use or review to get inspired for other ideas. We will also connect all candidates with each other, however candidates are expected to be able to reach out and collaborate with other candidates without any handholding. Once ideas are formed and drafts are shared with us we do provide feedback to help refine them, but in Round 3 we are looking primarily for candidates who are able to collaborate and produce exciting work. For those looking for hand-holding and mentorship, we recommend the Raga Labs program – many of our Fellows have done a few Raga Labs before applying to the Fellowship and found the process helpful in aiding the collaboration process. In short, we provide the infrastructure to facilitate collaboration but there is no handholding or individual mentoring offered towards this process.

Q: Where will the content be released by IndianRaga?
A: IndianRaga will release videos produced at the Fellowship on its YouTube and Facebook channels, with a view to maximizing visibility for Fellows and their collaborations. IndianRaga owns the content produced at the Fellowship and may license it to generate revenue that will be invested in supporting future IndianRaga Fellowships and making more opportunities available to IndianRaga Fellows.

Q: Would all approved pieces at Fellowship be released on the IndianRaga channel?
A: In most cases this is true. However, this is subject to all participants submitting work of high standards including technical as well as performance content. After all videos are edited, the IndianRaga panel will review each piece to ensure they all live up to the standards expected by audiences on the IndianRaga channel. If any piece is found to be sub-standard, we reserve the right to not release it at all.

Q: I registered for the Fellowship this year, but I am not able to send in the application due to personal reasons. Would it be possible for me to get a refund?
A: No, the application fee is non-refundable.

Q: Are there any recordings of the “IndianRaga Fellowship Info Webinars” conducted earlier? Can I view the recording?
A: Yes, here are the links to the recording of the sessions conducted for the 2017 Fellowship in USA.

Also check out the video from Mahesh on Creative Viral Ideas

You can also read the blogs by Santosh Baynes on Fellowship
What you need to know about Round 1 in the IndianRaga Fellowship Application
What Applicants are looking for about the Fellowship

If you still have questions, email info@indianraga.com