The Ravi & Shashi Bellare Arts Foundation memorializes and implements the rich legacies of Pandits Taranath Rao, Ravi and Shashi Bellare. It’s larger purview includes the stewardship, preservation, and presentation of the Indian Classical Arts: vocal music, dance, instrumental music, and the percussive arts, specifically the tabla, as a solo and as a accompanying instrument.
The foundation, created in 1992, by Rupesh and Mona Kotecha honors the memory of twin brothers, Pandit Ravi and Shashi Bellare, who were the first to introduce the tabla-duet, or the Tabla Jugalbandi, to Indian audiences in the 1940s. Both were world class performing artists. Ravi Bellare was a polymath genius: musician, dancer, scholar of the arts, and visual artist. Shashi Bellare was a highly regarded tabla accompanist who worked with Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, and numerous other musical legends who lived in the 19th and 20th centuries. The Bellare brothers were the nephews of Taranath Rao, maestro of the tabla, pakhawaj and the visual arts. Rao taught at California Institute for the Arts for many years and developed the idea of the Tabla Jugalbandi.
The foundation continues the tradition of passing the knowledge and proficiency of the Indian Classical Arts to the younger generations. We recognize the richness of our traditions, but also recognize its failings and we hope to shift the historical paradigm by which female tabla artists have been either ignored, or not given a proper platform to display or perform their art. And thus it is also of importance to present at least a few females percussionists at every festival. Our activities include: holding intimate concerts, tabla pedagogy and presentations, which include audio and video documentation, as well as a platform for younger artists to showcase their art. The organization also curates exhibitions of Indian visual arts and musical performance for Southern California audiences. The most public forum of our Saraswati-stewardship is our annual Festival of Tabla™.
The Festival of Tabla™ originated in the mind of Rupesh after learning the art of Tabla solo from Pandit Taranath Rao, Ravi Bellare, Shashi Bellare, Shashanka Bakshi, Saleem Hai and from his Gurubhai's from around the world. Rupesh found that although having learned so much material, there was never any avenue to play an authentic tabla solo in front of a grander audience. He felt that youngsters who are currently learning tabla will rarely, if ever, get a chance to present the profoundness of this art. To fill that gap, Rupesh & Mona created the Festival of Tabla™. The Festival focus is to give the new generations a chance to present authentic tabla solos in front of larger receptive audiences and play on the same stage as the maestros. The Festival of Tabla™ is today the largest gathering of Indian classical musicians on the west coast and is rapidly becoming globally recognized.
To realize our goals of supporting our foundation and continuing the tradition of the Festival of Tabla™, we require ample sponsorships, grants, suitable professional venues, and generous donations.
The Ravi and Shashi Bellare Arts Foundation is a 501c(3) non-profit organization, founded by Rupesh and Mona Kotecha.