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The Commons
The Arts

Friends of Music at Guilford presents Datura Trio in a benefit concert

For more information on this event and the music program, contact Friends of Music at Guilford at 802-254-3600, write, or visit

Originally published in The Commons issue #193 (Wednesday, March 6, 2013).

BRATTLEBORO—On Friday, March 8, at 7 p.m., Friends of Music at Guilford (FOMAG) presents a concert by the Datura Trio with guest percussionist Shane Shanahan, a founding member of Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble.

Proceeds from the concert and a pre-concert supper, both set at the Vermont Jazz Center on Cotton Mill Hill, will benefit FOMAG’s Music Enrichment Program at Guilford Central School, where the Datura Trio is in residence March 6-8.

Student participants in rhythm and vocal workshops might also appear at the evening concert.

To set the tone for an evening of music from around the world, a buffet supper of Middle Eastern specialties, prepared by Sarkis Market and Friends of Music chef-volunteers, will be on sale beginning at 5:30 p.m. in a café setting outside the Jazz Center’s performance space. Dinner is $10 per plate, including dessert and beverage.

Concert admission is $10 for general audiences, $5 for students 16 and under. Desserts and beverages will also be sold during the concert.

Founded in 2008, the Datura Trio is a dynamic World Music ensemble specializing in traditional music from Turkey, South India, and the Middle East, as well as original compositions featuring musical instruments and ideas that draw from traditional cultures of South India, Arabic countries, Turkey, Australia, Tuva, Zimbabwe (Shona), Brazil, and the United States.

The ensemble’s music adds American idioms to the traditional music cultures they perform and draw from. Its members include Todd Roach and N. Scott Robinson on drums and percussion, and vocalist K.S. “Ray” Resmi.

Roach is familiar to regional audiences as a frequent performer on drums and percussion, and has been teaching in area public and private schools as well as his studio in Brattleboro’s Cotton Mill Hill complex. He is an artist-endorser and representative for the Cooperman Drum Company, and released an instructional video in 2000 with Carl Fisher Publishing called “The Quick Guide to Playing Doumbec.” He performs with a wide variety of musical groups in the U.S. and overseas, as well as with theater, dance and visual artists, providing rhythms on darbuka, riqq, frame drums, pandeiro, djembe and percussion.

Resmi contributes an important lyrical component to the group’s sound with Carnatic vocal techniques from South India. A skilled classical vocalist and voice teacher, she is working toward a Ph.D. in North and South Indian classical music at the University of Kerala.

Recorded on more than a dozen CD projects between 2001 and 2006, she is the first woman featured on a recording of Kathakali padams (2001). Resmi also is heard on numerous film soundtracks. In 2004 she authored a book on the music of Syama Sastri (1762-1827), among the most renowned composers of Carnatic music.

Robinson rounds out the trio as an exotic percussion specialist on frame drums, ghaval, riqq, pandeiro, sanza, mbira dza vadzimu, and hammer dulcimer. He has performed or recorded with Marilyn Horne, the Paul Winter Consort, Malcolm Dalglish, George Crumb, and John Cage, and is featured on the Grammy Award-winning CD “Harlem Renaissance” by the Benny Carter Big Band.

A full-time lecturer in world, American, and popular music at Goucher College and Towson University, he has published more than a dozen scores and two CDs of his original music, and an instructional video for udu drumming techniques.

Joining the trio is guest percussionist Shanahan, who has cultivated his own unique and highly sought-after sound by combining his studies of drumming traditions from around the globe with his background in jazz, rock, and Western art music.

In the summer of 2000, Shane was invited to join Yo Yo Ma’s new Silk Road Ensemble, with whom he has been recording and touring the world ever since. He is also a member of frame drum master Glen Velez’s Handance Ensemble and cellist Maya Beiser’s Provenance project. He has performed and/or recorded with many noted composers and musicians, presented workshops and clinics for university music programs across the U.S., and performed and created outreach programs for a number of world-class museums.

Friends of Music at Guilford’s annual Music Enrichment Program for students at Guilford Central School this season is supported in part by a grant from the Max Y. Seaton Trust. Additional support will be raised by a spaghetti supper at the school on Thursday, March 21.

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