UCSB Indian music group Raagmala will hold a concert to honor music professor Pandit Hom Nath Upadhyaya’s dedication and years of free instruction to students and community members.

Pandit Hom Nath Upadhyaya (Hom Nathji) teaches lessons about the tabla — an Indian percussion instrument that he has been playing for over 40 years. The concert, which will feature both Hom Nathji and sitar artist Paul Livingstone, will be held on Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the MultiCultural Center Theater. Nathji, the headliner, has held prestigious performing positions throughout the world and received numerous grants including the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center Collaborative Projects Grant from UCSB.

PHOTO COURTESY OF homnathtabla.com

Raagmala President Dilip Gopalakrishna, a second-year electrical engineering graduate student, said the group wanted to pay homage to Hom Nathji’s dedication to the university.

“Pt. Hom Nathji has been administering the tabla classes for free for the past several years, which is quite a remarkable service to the UCSB community,” Gopalakrishna said. “Raagmala wanted to identify his selfless service by hosting a concert in his honor.”

Gopalakrishna said Raagmala hopes the event will familiarize the broader UCSB community with traditional Indian music in an intimate setting.

“Raagmala also uses this event to introduce Indian classical music to newer members of the community every year and promote a diverse and rich musical environment at UCSB,” Gopalakrishna said.

According to Gopalakrishna, the performance will also provide a rare opportunity for students to see Indian music in a more personal environment conducive to musical creativity.

“Indian classical music is traditionally performed in a very small gathering and to a limited audience,” Gopalakrishna said. “Whereas organizations like Arts and Lectures have hosted legends such as Pt. Ravi Shankar and Zakir Hussain in a packed Campbell Hall, our concert will be in a very authentic and personal setting, and the students will intimately experience the spontaneous improvisation and ‘musical communication’ between the artists.”

Hom Nathji will continue to provide basic and advanced tabla lessons to UCSB students and community members until mid-December 2010.

“Students love learning instruments, but would not have [otherwise] been exposed to different forms of exotic musical instruments — percussive or tonal,” Gopalakrishna said.

Hom Nathji teaches “Fundamentals of Hindustani Tabla” from 2 to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Music Department (Gamelan Room, #1231). Students of all skill levels are welcome to attend.