Maya Kulkarni Chadda

Maya Kulkarni Chadda

Maya Kulkarni Chadda

Maya Kulkarni Chadda excels in three areas: that of dancing, that of playing the tanpura, and that of being an academic.


Maya Kulkarni Chadda

A September 19, 1966 Clive Barnes article in the New York Times wrote of Maya Kulkarni, “In acting and dancing, Miss Kulkarni was delightful. Her rhythmic sense is strong (and this is difficult to sustain with the mental monotony of recorded sound, which permits not immediate response)….

Maya Kulkarni Chadda


Maya Kulkarni Chadda

Three years later, Maya was a 22-year-old postgraduate student when she serendipitously became part of Ravi Shankar’s tour, replacing an ill tanpura player. She joined the Pandit Shankar and the celebrated tabla player Ustad Alla Rakha Khan.

I know little about Indian music and perhaps the tanpura (or tampura) can be a lead instrument, but  at Woodstock, it appears that Maya was simply a background musician to Shankar and Khan.

According to a 2012 article by Somya Lakhani for the Indian Express, “Woodstock was not Chadda’s introduction to Shankar or his sitar notes. As a young child, she used to be a regular at Bhulabhai Desai Institute in Mumbai, where she learnt Bharatnatyam. ‘Raviji used the institute to work on his own productions. I also worked on one, a dance-drama called Chandalika, written by Rabindranath Tagore, to which he gave music. Vyjayantimala Bali had choreographed the piece and I was her chief assistant. Raviji and I developed a strong bond of affection, and he would invite me to all his performances and to his home.”

Maya Kulkarni Chadda


In the same article, Chadda relates an unusual story. ““Once, we were to share a helicopter with a rock band, and I saw a man chasing a chicken around the farm while we were waiting for the helicopter. Later, during the ride, he sat in the cabin pulling hair from of his chest with studied concentration. While I sat frozen in embarrassment, Raviji kept smiling away at his antics. Later, I found out he was Jimi Hendrix,” 

Maya Kulkarni Chadda

Incredible Thread

In a 2012 liveMINT article, Chadda related how the Woodstock experience was one of a kind: ““The distinctions between artist and audience collapsed—not physically, but there was an incredible thread stretching between us,” she notes. “It’s a spontaneity that I have never encountered since then.”

Maya Kulkarni Chadda


Though her live for music and dance remained, her career choice became academia. Dr Chadda is on the staff of William Paterson University (Wayne, NJ) and according the staff site she holds an M.A. in Government from NYU and a Ph. D. From the Graduate Faculty, The New School of Social Research and is a research fellow at the Southern Asian Institute, Columbia University.

Her publications include Indo-Soviet Relations (Bombay, Vora & Co.); Paradox of Power: The United States Policy in Southwest Asia (Santa Barbara, California, Clio Press);Ethnicity Security and Separatism in South Asia ( New York, Columbia University Press/Oxford University Press) and Building Democracy in South Asia: Pakistan, Nepal and India (Lynne Rienner Publishers, March 2000). Maya Chadda has worked as a consultant to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Family Planning Agency (UNFPA).

In 1998 she was appointed as the Director of Undergraduate Research for William Paterson University responsible for setting up a grant and scholarship program and served on the review board of the United States Institute of Peace, a prestigious think tank in Washington D. C.

Chadda is a recipient of many grants, the most recent among these is the Rockefeller Residency Fellowship at Bellagio, Italy. In 1998 she was given the Excelsior award for excellence in academic achievement by the Association of Indians in America and the Network of Indian Professionals.

Maya Kulkarni Chadda

Dancing Feet

Writer Lavina Melwani was walking in New York City, she came upon the Anamika Navatman Studios and a production called Bhinna Pravaaha: Memories of a Performing Artist – Maya Kulkarni.

Melwani found the experience “a rare treat.” In a 2017 blog piece, she described the early life of Maya.

Her father, Gopalrao Kulkarni, was a writer and editor of Harijan, a newspaper published by Gandhi. Her mother, Nalini, was a political activist who also briefly served in the Indian Parliament after Independence. Her parents spent many months in jail during the freedom struggle, and were part of every satyagraha from Dandi March to the Quit India movement. Their lives were tied to Gandhi and they lived with him, and two of their sons were born in the ashram.

Melwani continued.

Ask her about the greatest joy that she has got from performing and she says, “I live for that moment when movement, music and emotions all blend to elevate the self beyond bodily existence. The dancer simply melts away and what remains is that indescribable state of being. Unfortunately not every time one dances one experiences it. But if one had, then you live for it. I have many times, but not often enough for me. To me that is nirvana.”

Maya Kulkarni Chadda

Woodstock John Morris

Woodstock John Morris

This is one thing that I was going to wait awhile before we talked about, but maybe we’ll talk about it now so you can think about it, because you all, we all, have to make some kind of plans for ourselves.

It’s a free concert from now on.

The Woodstock Music and Art Fair has thousands of pieces. Most people’s first thought is of the festival’s famed performers and their music. Drugs, mud and the kindness of strangers often follow.

Woodstock John Morris

Broad picture

On docent tours at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Museum, we try to give a complete and accurate portrayal of that weekend.  The Museum’s designers knew that they had to put the event in perspective and thus the whole 60s theme that guests encounter before actually getting to Woodstock.

The organizers knew that other festivals that summer had had confrontational issues between the young people attending the festival and local law enforcement’s responsibility to maintain order.  Woodstock Ventures successfully kept the peace by distancing uniformed officers from the Field itself and keeping the throng of attendees well-informed in a calming manner.

Woodstock John Morris

Production Coordinator

John Morris was the Production Coordinator at Woodstock, but his voice (as well as that of Chip Monck) became as important a part of the event and Jimi Hendrix’s Star Spangled Banner.

As disorganized as the Woodstock Ventures may have appeared, the four organizers brought on talented people to carry out their vision. John Morris had already helped set up the short-lived but successful Anderson Theater in New York City before helping to set up the more famous Fillmore East.

He would go on to create and own London’s first major rock concert venue, The Rainbow and produced live concerts for bands including Paul McCartney’s Wings, The Grateful Dead, The Moody Blues, The Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, and Santana.

Woodstock John Morris

It’s a free concert from now on…”

But back to that August 1969 weekend

With so many performers, the image of Woodstock is often on of continuous music, there was a lot of down time both planned and forced upon (think rain storms)

Stage announcements became absolutely necessary for communication and those who made them had to be clear, truthful, and reassuring.

John Morris was that and his voice remains one of the strongest of my memories of my time at Woodstock. Thank you John.

Woodstock John Morris

1989 interview

John and his Woodstock memories (poor audio quality).

Woodstock John Morris


John continues his lifetime association with the arts with Objects of Art. He and Kim Martindale have created a unique collection of art shows curated to create a unique art experience.

The site explains, “The Objects of Art Shows bring together an extensive collection of historic to contemporary material that includes fashion and jewelry, furniture and books, tribal, folk and American Indian art, works on paper and canvas, and three-dimensional pieces in wood, ceramic and bronze. The range is vast, the selection is discerning, and the result is an exhibition of exceptional objects of art.”

Woodstock John Morris

Roderick Rod Jerry Hicks

Roderick Rod Jerry Hicks

Roderick Rod Jerry Hicks

1941 – January 2, 2013

He was the last great bass player from the bebop era,” bassist Ralphe Armstrong.

Roderick Rod Jerry Hicks

Dawn over Bethel

Rod Hicks played with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band on day “3” of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair.  I qualify the number 3 because the band came on at dawn on Monday 18 August which was actually the fourth day of the festival.

Roderick Rod Jerry Hicks
Fuzzy screen grab of Rod at Woodstock

What did Hicks think? A 2009  Metro Times article says: Hicks told us about looking out at night and seeing that audience estimated at 300,000 or more. With the darkness dotted with fires, he felt he was looking at the “biggest Indian pow-wow in the world.

Roderick Rod Jerry Hicks


Rod Hicks was a well-known Detroit bass player. When he died, a page on the Southeastern Michigan Jazz Association: wrote:

Roderick Jerry Hicks, one of Detroit’s premier bassists, died on January 2, 2013. He was 71 years of age.

He died of cancer, which wore down his body but not his spirit.

Hicks worked with many singers and bands, including Aretha Franklin’s trio that included his lifelong friend, drummer George Davidson. He fit into many sounds and styles of music in addition to Franklin’s band; along with Davidson and pianist/arranger Teddy Harris, Hicks was the backbone of the particularly fine Paul Butterfield Blues Band in 1969–71. Those three gentlemen were present at the Jazz Alliance of Michigan (J.A.M.) event which resurrected the style of Butterfield’s band. Hicks sang and played electric bass, and he could sing some fine blues as well as play solid bass.

Hicks worked for many years in Harris’ bands, including the very special 1993 edition at BoMac’s Lounge that included alto master Phil Lasley and drumming powerhouse Lawrence Williams. For nearly a year, that quartet (sometimes quintet with Dwight Adams added) was the best band in Detroit, bar none. Roderick, as Harris called him, was an amazing musician and a great gentleman, with a heart as large as his sound.

During a Detroit Jazz Alive appearance, Hicks insisted that he led “King Zook and the Zookateers,” and everybody in the studio broke up laughing, especially Hicks.

Rod was an easy guy to like, gifted with thoughtful opinions and knowledge on a variety of subjects.

Rest easy, King Zook. We will keep your spirit alive in our hearts.

Roderick Rod Jerry Hicks

Blog Spot

Paul Butterfield Blog Spot article:

Rod Hicks – The Detroit native joins the Butterfield Blues Band after six years with Aretha Franklin’s band, contributes fretless electric bass (a new instrument in the ’60’s), cello, vocals, and composition to Keep On Movin’Live, and Sometimes I Just Feel Like Smilin’.

After the Butterfield Band ends, he moves back to Detroit where he becomes a fixture in the local Jazz scene, and works as a road musician, appearing with Paul Butterfield’s Better Day’s several times. One of his songs, Highway 28, is used by Butterfield on the first Better Days album. Hicks also contributes to 1970’s studio albums by artists such asPeter Paul and Mary, & Peter Yarrow. He dies Jan 2nd, 2013 at 71 of cancer. 

AllMusic credits

Roderick Rod Jerry Hicks

What's so funny about peace, love, art, and activism?

Follow by Email