Alif Laila

Alif-LailaAlif Laila was initially trained in Indian Classical music and sitar in Dhaka, Bangladesh by the late Ustad Mir Qasem Khan, nephew of legendary maestro Ustad Allauddin Khan. During her final years of training, she attended the College of Fine Arts in Dhaka, where she graduated in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree and received several awards for her watercolor painting. Alif’s mind opened to the world of true art as she painted the moods of life with both color and melody.

In 1988 she moved to the United States. Her intense study of Indian classical music in sitar continued with teachers Partha Chatterjee, Krishna Bhatt, and Kushal Das. Alif Laila has performed in concert at places such as The Smithsonian in Washington DC, Rubin Museum in New York, The Detroit Museum of Arts, The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, The Kerala Arts Society in Kerala, India, the National Museum of Bangladesh, SRA (Sangeet Research Academy) in Kolkata, India, IIC (India International Center) in New Delhi, India, and other venues throughout the world. She has performed and recorded with world renowned tabla artists (Indian percussion) like Pandit Anindo Chatterjee and Ustad Taari Khan. Alif taught sitar in the University of Maryland and has played in numerous benefit concerts to help women’s causes in the Washington DC area. She teaches sitar and inspires students to continue the traditions of Indian Classical music. She has given lectures and demonstrations in various universities and schools in the US.

Alif was the first sitarist ever to perform in the Shahid Minar (memorial monument of the Bengali language movement ’54) in Dhaka, Bangladesh in ‘05. Her audio visual production “Hridayaragam (Melodies of The Heart)” was recorded in Kerala, South India. Alif’s video, along with her live concert, was featured in the Women’s History Month in the Smithsonian in March ’08. In another of her sitar videos, “Strings of Resonance”, Alif weaves the connection of the cultural heritage of the Indian sub-continent with its classical music. It was nominated for the ‘Best Classical Music Award’ in Nov ’10 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She has released seven CDs and two DVDs on classical sitar. Each one of her work represents Alif’s sensitive and creative self.

Alif weaves her tones with melody in a tapestry of colors and textures of feelings, originating from the bonding to her cultural heritage and Indian classical music that crosses all boundaries of culture and genre to free the spirit and soul. To learn more about Alif Laila and her music please visit: http://aliflailasitar.com & http://aliflailasitarmusic.blogspot.com