Meet our Global Collaborators
The beauty of an RCP story lies in the magic of collaboration among some of the best artists in the world. Explore the composers, illustrators, authors, and narrators who make RCP special.
Ben Foskett: Paris (FR) & London (UK)
Ben Foskett is a composer and arranger working across many different genres from classical concert music to ballet, dance, theatre, pop, film, TV and sound libraries.
Ben met Preeti when he was still a student at the Royal Academy of Music in London (back in 2002). Accosted into the world of dance by Preeti, he has since gone on to work on a number of dance pieces with her and other leading dance companies including the Ballet Boyz. His orchestral piece "From Trumpet" was commissioned by the BBC Proms.
We asked Ben some questions about his process in creating the music for "The Golden Mango"—he gave us some great answers which you can see by clicking the button. To see more about Ben and his work go to www.benfoskett.com.
Jerome Korman: New York, NY (USA)
Jerome writes: "I’m the music director of the National Dance Institute in New York City. I get to write music and work with kids…it's the best!
Through NDI I met Preeti and have been so thankful for the stylistic stews we have created. I recently composed the music for 'C is for Choreographer' for Sesame Street, a serious career highlight! In addition, just this month I partnered with All of Us Films to create a piece for the UNEP that will bring awareness about taking care of the environment. I love to play piano and percussion, and I really hope you enjoy these stories!"
Click the button for a video where Jerry talks about his process for creating the music for the "Sacred Rivers" series.
Listen to Yo-Yo's work in Imbo & Eli.
Yo-Yo Ma: USA
Yo-Yo Ma was born in 1955 to Chinese parents living in Paris. He began to study the cello with his father at age four, and three years later moved with his family to New York City.
There, he continued his studies at the Juilliard School. After his conservatory training, he sought out a liberal arts education and graduated from Harvard with a degree in anthropology.
Yo-Yo’s career is a testament to his faith in culture’s power to generate the trust and understanding essential to a strong society. This belief inspired Yo-Yo to establish the global cultural collective Silkroad, and, more recently, to set out on the Bach Project — a six-continent tour of J. S. Bach’s suites for solo cello and an invitation to a larger conversation about culture, society, and the themes that connect us all.
Wu Man: China
Pipa virtuoso and composer Wu Man is an ambassador of Chinese music, creating a new role for her lute-like instrument in both traditional and contemporary music. Brought up in the Pudong school of pipa playing, Wu Man became the first person to receive a master’s degree in pipa performance from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. She has appeared on more than 40 albums, including a Grammy winner with the Silkroad Ensemble ("Best World Music Album") and five additional Grammy nominees. She was named Musical America’s 2013 Instrumentalist of the Year, but the best measure of her achievement is that her instrument, which dates back 2000 years, is no longer an exotic curiosity.
Listen to Wu Man's work in Mei-Mei's Lucky Birthday Noodles.
Kamala Sankaram: New York, NY (USA)
I'm a composer and teacher who likes to write music for opera and theater. My dad is from Andhra Pradesh in Southern India, so I'm always looking for ways to combine Indian and European classical music.
I've been thrilled to write two children's operas that do this: The Jungle Book, written for the Glimmerglass Festival, and Monkey and Francine in the City Tigers, written for Houston Grand Opera. I also have a band called Bombay Rickey. We love it when people come to our shows and dance, so I hope we'll see you at one soon!
To read more about Kamala's work and her many accolades, visit www.kamalasankaram.com.
We also asked Kamala to share with us her inspiration for her music composition. Click the button below to see a short video.
Mal Stein: New York, NY (USA)
Mal is a much sought-after collaborator for choreographers around the world both as a percussionist and composer. Mal lives in the East Village of Manhattan with his partner Judy and a large collection of percussion instruments from around the world. You can groove to more of his sounds on SoundCloud here.
Click below to hear Mal talk through his creative process—how he came up with themes and textures to support Preeti's storytelling. He also explains his process for The Clever Antelope.
Charu Suri: India & New York, NY (USA)
Charu Suri is a South Indian born pianist who became the first Indian American jazz composer to premiere an evening of work at Carnegie Hall, in Dec. 2019. She has released three albums so far, including a new blend of a jazz trio fusing Indian ragas and Sufi sounds.
Charu recently became a voting member of the GRAMMYs and is planning to release two new albums this year. Follow her on @CharuSuriMusic (Instagram) and @CharuSuriTrio (Facebook).
Listen to Charu's work in Lights for Gita.
Biswajit Balasubramanian: Chennai, India
Biswajit Balasubramanian (known to his friends as "Biz") is one of the best-loved cartoonists in South India, appearing in many newspapers and magazines. His endearing characters give life to a happy congregation of people and animals that populate his work.
Apart from drawing cartoons, he regularly conducts cartoon and comics workshops across India and abroad. He has worked on several private and public commissioned projects including wall murals, his three dimensional sculptures has been an exciting foray that brings to life his world of characters. He lives in Chennai with his wife Shalini, also an artist, with whom he runs one of the leading galleries of contemporary art in India, the Forum Art Gallery.
Click the button below for a video where Biswajit talks about how he came up with his wonderful illustrations.
See Harsha's work in Lights for Gita.
Harsha Biswajit: Chennai, India
Harsha Biswajit currently lives and works in Barcelona, Spain. His work explores transformations brought about by technology by creating anti-environments to reveal the true nature of the environment we live in. Working with a diverse range of media—from drawings to digital photography, video, and sculpture, he often infuses them together in search of a balance between the old and new, natural and digital.
Taking references from philosophy, literature, economics, and politics, his works weave around issues of dualities between humans and nature, ecology, and time. He is also the co-founder and creative director of SPACE BISKIT, multidisciplinary art and design studio established in 2017. To find out more about Harsha and his work www.spacebiskit.com www.harshabiswajit.com
See Alaina Buffao Spirit's work in Imbo & Eli.
Alaina Buffalo Spirit: Lame Deer, MT (USA)
Alaina Buffalo Spirit is a self-taught artist from the So'taa'ee band of the Northern Cheyenne Nation, whose work honors the women that made a difference in her life. Alaina Buffalo Spirit's artwork is based on the traditional ledger art, originated by Indian warriors who were incarcerated in the 1800s.
Using the materials that were available to them, these warrior artists recorded their powerful stories through images made on the ledger paper issued by the government for tallying and record-keeping. Inspired by these early images which depicted life on the Plains, both before and during times of conflict, Ms. Buffalo Spirit uses ledger paper made during this period in much of her work.
Seema Shakti: New York, NY (USA)
Seema Shakti is a self-taught visual artist inspired by Mother Earth and the power of the divine feminine.
According to Seema: "I’ve been creating since my childhood and my art practice is a nourishing ritual meditation and portal that deeply connects me to my ancestors, kundalini shakti, and the cosmos. Through the female form, I explore the cross-section between women, nature, and spirituality. My primary mediums are digital and watercolor. My upbringing as well as my Indo-Caribbean and South Asian heritage have a strong influence on my work. I was born, raised, and currently reside in New York City (Lenapehoking)."
See Seema's work in Mei-Mei's Lucky Birthday Noodles.
Bhumnejoy Konsam: Manipur, India
Bhumenjoy is a multi-talented illustrator and animator based in Manipur, in the far North East of India.
He's worked with Preeti on many previous projects, and also works with major corporations as a commercial animator.
In 2008 Bhumenjoy directed a feature-length animated feature film called "Tiger Head", based on an epic tale from his native Manipur (see trailer here).
His website is www.oomaibi.com.
Tom Lynch: New York, NY (USA)
Tom is one of New York's most in-demand illustrators and commercial artists. He's designed numerous book covers for leading publishers.
He's written and illustrated numerous children's books—you can see more of his incredible work at Tom Lynch & Company.
For his version of "Aesop's Fables" he was (to his amazement) described as "a kind of genius" by the New York Times.
Tom first worked with Preeti in 2010, when he and partner Tony Reonegro created incredible set designs for her award-winning production "The Absent Lover".
We asked Tom for some background on how he became an artist—you can see his reply by clicking on the button below.
Shreya Mehta: New York, NY (USA)
Shreya Mehta is an award-winning visual artist who confronts questions of identity and spirituality in her vibrant and eclectic practice.
Shreya was born in India and raised in Antwerp, Belgium, where she attended the Royal Academy of Art as its first woman of Indian origin. After graduating with the prestigious V.R.I.K.A Award, she eventually settled in New York, where she continues her practice. Mehta’s work has a global presence and has been exhibited at galleries and fairs in New York, Dubai, and Mumbai. Her paintings can also be found in several prestigious private collections, such as that of the Prime Minister of India. See more of Shreya's work at her website www.artshreya.com
We also asked Shreya to share with us her inspiration for her artwork. Click the button below to see a short video.
Authors & Narrators
Nikhil Sethi: New York, NY (USA)
Nikhil is 11 years old and in Fifth Grade. He lives in New York City, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
He loves to read, play soccer, piano, run and hang out with his friends and younger brother. When he grows up he wants to be a professional soccer player or a scientist.
Nikhil was born in the USA and is very interested in learning about his Indian heritage. He feels that with diversity come different ways of thinking and expressing critical experiences. He feels that life would be extremely boring if there was no diversity.
Hear Nikhil's story in Eidgah.
Hear Mona's story in The Tree-Hugger.
Mona Seghal: New York, NY (USA)
Mona is the author of "Under the African Sky", a children’s book that follows an Indian-American boy on a magical adventure that helps him appreciate his cultural heritage. (See more about the book here.)
Mona is currently writing a story about the encounters of a pair of twins in a school in India. She has written scripts for several cultural performances launched by The Culture Tree.
Mona is also Assistant Director at U.S. Government Accountability Office, where she utilizes her public policy and project management experience in designing and conducting performance audits of multi-million dollar U.S. government foreign assistance programs.