a film by SATYAJIT RAY


THE MUSICAL WORD: Devotional Songs from the Sikh Tradition

FRANCESCA CASSIO voice-tanpura






8 pm concert

9.30 pm film


Villa Borghese, Roma


Free admission


Welcome greetings:

Riccardo Biadene
Direttore artistico FIND / Kama Productions

Giorgio Gosetti
Direttore Casa del Cinema


Promoted by

Fondazione FIND

KAMA Productions

Casa del Cinema


In the occasion of

Festa della Musica


With the patronage of




Commissione Europea

Devotional Songs from the Sikh Tradition

The rāga-based performance of devotional songs (Gurbānī kirtan) was established at the end of the 15th century by Gurū Nānak, the founder of the Sikh faith. Transmitted to this day, the Gurbānī kīrtan repertory represents one of the most refined, and yet lesser known, expressions of South Asian music. This recital showcases some of the original compositions attributed to the Sikh Gurus, performed according to the rāgas indicated the Sikh Scripture. Francesca Cassio (voice and tanpura) and Parminder Singh Bhamra (jori-pakhawaj), are both senior disciples of the renowned Gurbānī kīrtan exponent and scholar Bhai Baldeep Singh, and have performed together in some of the most prestigious devotional contexts in India and academic institutions in the USA, such as Harvard, Yale, Loyola Marymount and Columbia University.


Francesca Cassio is full professor of Music and Chair in Sikh Musicology at Hofstra University (NY), Ethnomusicologist and singer specialized in the study and the performance of Hindustani music, she holds a PhD in ethnomusicology from the University of Rome la Sapienza, in affiliation with the Benares Hindu University. From 2000 to 2010 Dr. Cassio taught ethnomusicology, anthropology of music, and Indian vocal music at the Conservatory of Vicenza an Adria (Italy). She was also lecturer of ethnomusicology at the University of Trento (Italy) and Visiting Professor at Viswa Bharati University (Shantiniketan, India). Dr. Cassio lived for long time in India, where she studied dhrupad, thumrī, and Rabindra Sangīt under the tutorage of renowned master such as Ustad Rahim Fahimuddin Khan Dagar, Pandit Ritwik Sanyal, Dr. Girija Devi e Vidushi Pramita Mallik. Disciple of Bhai Baldeep Singh, since 2009 her focus is on the Sikh music literature. Dr. Cassio authored a book on dhrupad, and has published several essays on international journals. Over thirty years of activity, Dr. Cassio has lectured and performed in India, Bangladesh, Europe, Canada and the USA, where she currently lives and teaches. Recipient of several grants and awards, in 2021 she received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the IICR.


Parminder Singh Bhamra is a pakhāwaj and jorī-pakhāwaj player, specialized in the Amritsari Bāj, the oldest surviving style of percussion from South Asia. Mr. Bhamra hails from a Punjabi family of luthiers that preserved the knowledge of handcrafting Sikh traditional instruments, and since 2003 is a disciple of the renowned Gurbānī kirtan exponent and scholar Bhai Baldeep Singh. Mr. Bhamra has also studied other styles of percussion with Pandit Panna Lal Upadhyaya, Pandit Ravi Shankar Upadhyay, and Pandit Mohan Shyam Sharma. He holds a Diploma in Performing Arts by the Anad Conservatory of Sultanpur Lodhi, where he achieved the title of Sangeet Ratan in music, pakhāwaj and jorī (2011). A graduate and awardee as best pakhāwaj player from the from the National School of Dance and Drama of New Delhi (2013), Parminder also holds a five-year degree in pakhāwaj. From 2012 to 2015, Parminder served as Assistant Professor in pakhāwaj-jorī, in the Department of Percussions at the Anad Conservatory (Sultanpur Lodhi, India). Since 2012, Mr. Bhamra is also a Visiting Professor at Hofstra University (New York, USA). In his career, he had the privilege to accompany renowned dhrupad performers such as Pandit Asit Banerjee (rudra veena), Pandit Ritwik Sanyal (vocal), and the Talwandi gharānā exponents Ustad Labrez Khan and Ali Hafiz Khan (vocal). He has also accompanied his teacher, Bhai Baldeep Singh, in various recitals across the USA, India, and Italy. Mr. Bhamra is the recipient of several awards from prestigious institutions such as the Harballabh Sammelan (Special Prize, 2006), Punjabi University of Patiala (pakhāwaj competition, 2006), National Academy of Dance and Drama (First Prize for the best pakhāwaj solo, 2013).


Solstice ragas

Born in 1976 in a music loving Bengali family, in India. Sanjay Kansa Banik has started learning Tabla at the tender age of five and half under the able guidance of Sri Gautam Dam and later Prof. Dulal Natto of the distinguish Benaras Gharana (School of Tabla). Sanjay has participated in various music competitions in the different corner of India. He has won the first prize in the National level competition, took place in Delhi in 1996 and has been awarded by the President of India. He is a artist of All India Radio (AIR) since 1990. Various TITLES has been bestowed on him such as Talmani (Master of Rhythm),Sangeet Ratna (Jewel of music),Sangeet Visarad (Special knowledge in music)etc.are few to name. Sanjay has done his M.Mus. from the Rabindra Bharati University(RBU),Calcutta in the year of 2001,and stood First class First position among all subjects in the university, and for this recognition he has been awarded with Gold Medal by the Governor of the West Bengal state.
Sanjay has been travelling all over the world since 2004. From 2006 he has been living in Rome, Italy where he teaches and performs extensively with Sergio Cammariere, Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio(OPV),Etno Jazz group WORLDREAM. In 2015 a documentary film on Sanjay’s musical life titled ‘A journey on the Tabla’ has been released, directed by Simone Mariani.


Gianni Ricchizzi completed his studies as Maestro of Sitar and Indian Music at the prestigious Banaras Hindu University under the guide of the illustrious maestros Raj Bhan Singh and Amarnath Mishra for Sitar, Gopal Krishnan for Vina and Ritwik Sanyal for Dhrupad singing. He was awarded by Banaras Hindu University for receiving the highest grades in the 1984-85 examination session for the Master Diploma programme and received the title “Young Light of Music” from the Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh. He mastered the fundamentals and techniques to play various ancient Indian stringed instruments; Surbahar, Vina, Santoor, Tampura, and the Indian guitar. In Bhopal in January 2006 he inaugurated the PRATISHRUTI Festival dedicated to non-Indian musicians who have interpreted Indian music for many years. He has been invited repeatedly to perform at the Indian Embassy in Rome and has given concerts in Germany, France and Switzerland as part of leading international festivals, as the only non-Indian performer of classical Indian music; in particular, the concerts of the “Parampara Festival” in Berlin in 1994.


The music room


Bengali sub. Italian/English
Duration: 124’
India, 1958


With The Music Room (Jalsaghar), Satyajit Ray brilliantly evokes the crumbling opulence of the world of a fallen aristocrat (the beloved actor Chhabi Biswas) desperately clinging to a fading way of life. His greatest joy is the music room in which he has hosted lavish concerts over the years—now a shadow of its former vivid self. An incandescent depiction of the clash between tradition and modernity, and a showcase for some of India’s most popular musicians of the day, The Music Room is a defining work by the great Bengali filmmaker.