What applicants are looking for about the Fellowship

Interested in joining the IndianRaga Fellowship programme? Wondering where to start, and looking for insight from fellows on the programme? Read on…

My name is Santosh Baynes, and I’ve been part of the IndianRaga Fellowship 2016 programme, held at Boston in August 2016. While my experience may be different from those in earlier or subsequent batches, as well as, for other artists like dancers, and even vocalists, it should give you a good place to start at in your own preparation.

I’m going to outline the fellowship experience and expectations, from those of us who were at Boston. This is a follow-up to the Webinar series hosted for prospective fellows, outlining the programme and answering questions following our session.

You can also catch the webcast featuring Vinod Krishnan, our very talented Carnatic Vocalist, incase you missed it. These blogs and videos should give you an idea of how you can make the best of this programme.

Lets get started with first things first, what is IndianRaga all about, and what the fellowship means :
IndianRaga aims to bring together artists from different backgrounds and locations, to collaborate on interesting ideas. Providing a platform for emerging artists, people with potential. IndianRaga, will invest in audio and video production, as well as marketing.

Yes, you have probably read this at various places, got hooked on and want to know more about us, so where else can we start at than here.

Although it started off primarily with Ragas and Indian classical projects, it has evolved over the years, into fusion with other styles, contemporary work, and now hosts creative ideas that dont have traditional Indian concepts to it.
One such new dimensional project is the “Dangerous-Skyfall” that I was very happy to work on, with Shankar Iyer. This project set of in a completely different direction than other projects you have seen hosted on IndianRaga.

I highlight this, so that you can see the direction in which the fellowship is moving, and align your goals accordingly. Whether you are a pure classical artist, or a contemporary one, you know what you can bring to the table, and what kind of projects and experiments the fellowship looks at. Going forward, the fellowship aims to bring in more diversity through the platform.

At IndianRaga, the goal is not to be yet-another-platform that focuses on traditional performances etc., for which there are already a lot of platforms, nor to go too far in the other direction with just hard-core experimental music only meant for audience with a degree in music!

Why am I telling you this? Because, at first glance, it may seem that this is similar to what Coke Studio, or Kappa TV do with artistic collaborations. While there are similarities because of the nature of creativity involved, at IndianRaga, the focus is on bringing individuals together than getting an existing band to play; providing exposure to folks who have potential, over established artists.

While there are many platforms for pure classical art forms, even in broad categorization such as  Hindustani, Carnatic, Western, Classical, Baroque, Romantic, Jazz, etc., here, we look at complementing the different genres to create interesting pieces. One recent example at the time of this writing, would be the “Cheap Thrills – Desi Cover” Project.

This example, although specific to musicians, indicate the direction that IndianRaga is venturing into from where it originally started off, over the years.

Further note on this subject : IndianRaga does not guarantee that every category will have a Fellow chosen from. The IndianRaga Fellowship only accepts Fellows who cross a threshold of excellence as decided by the selection panel, and if we do not find entries in a given category to match these standards then we may not have anyone selected from that category

Remember that, the preference is for artistic competency over credentials and titles when applying for the fellowship.

We are looking for people who can go beyond traditional structures and rules and create something unique by complimenting other styles of music and dance, our focus will be on what you bring to the table in terms of creativity versus how qualified you are in your field.

Notes on the 2017 Fellowship :

2017 Fellowship will be in Virginia, close to Dulles airport. This will tentatively be for about 9 days in the second half of July and exact dates will be announced within a month from now. It is not mandatory to attend all days, but the number of productions Fellows can do will be directly proportional to how long they stay. This can be discussed and planned with the IndianRaga team once they become a Fellow and doesn’t have to be confirmed right now.

Starting 2017, IndianRaga will invest substantial amount of resources in audio-video production and post production, marketing, and other aspects that are related to the production. Fellows are expected to cover costs of their flights, visa if they need to attend, local transport and meals. IndianRaga will negotiate a discounted rate for Fellows at a good hotel close to the location, and try their best to minimize costs through finding sponsorship support for various costs, but at this time there is no guarantee of the same.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have and we are happy to assist.