"He presents a cohesive and comprehensive picture of his Gharana, understanding the complexity of laya and bols as well as a mastery of execution."
- The Times of India
Sanju Sahai (also known as Vishnu Sahai), is currently one of the finest and most sought after Tabla players of his generation. Belonging to the Benares Gharana (lineage) and being the 6th generation of Tabla players in the lineage, he began playing at an early age. Being a child prodigy, and the son of the legendary Pandit Sharda Sahai Ji, he gave his first Tabla solo performance at a major festival in Benares at the tender age of 9. He gained his Bachelor of Music at the age of 13 and Master of Music at 18 years of age.
A phenomenal and outstanding Tabla player, he is well known for mesmerising and captivating his audience with his power, virtuosity and complete spontaneity.
His meteoric rise in popularity in the field of traditional Indian Classical music has led Sanju to regularly collaborate with different genres such as Jazz, Egyptian, Flamenco, Opera, Western Classical, hip hop, folk, blues music and the world of contemporary music and dance. This makes him an imaginative and sensitive musician, having an elegant and poignant style of his own. He has and continues to collaborate with various international artists from around the globe such as: Manuela Carrasco (Flamenco dance), Michael Nyman (British composer), Patricia Rozario (opera), BBC Philharmonic, Naresh Sohal (composer), Pete Lockett (multi percussionist), Yair Dalal (oud), Jason Carter (guitarist), Matthew Barley and Anup Biswas (cellists), Don Li (clarinet), Harp Quartet, Dominique Vellard (Gregorian chant), Gilles Petit (composer and instrumentalist) and the acclaimed dancer Akram Khan.
Sanju is an international artist and performs all over the UK, India, Europe, Middle East, USA, Australasia and the far East. He has accompanied many of India's legendary musicians and dancers such as: Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia (bansuri), Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma and Pandit Bhajan Sapori (santoor), Ustad Vilayat Khan Saheb, Ustaad Imrat Khan Saheb, Ustaad Shahid Parvez, Pandit Kartik Kumar and Pandit Manilal Nag (sitar), Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (mohan veena), Pandit Birju Maharaj, Natraj Gopi Krishna and Smt Sitara Devi (Kathak), Ustaad Aasheesh Khan and Ustaad Amjad Ali Khan (sarod), Pandit Jasraj, Smt Girija Devi, Pandits Rajan and Sajan Misra, Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty and Smt Veena Sahasrabuddhe (vocal) Ustaad Sultan Khan and Pandit Ramesh Misra (sarangi), Kala Ramnath (violin) and maestro Umyalpuram Shivraman (mridangam) to name but a few.
His performance concert venues include: Carnegie Hall (New York), Sydney Opera House (Australia), Sherover Theatre (Jerusalem), The Siri Fort (Delhi), Novell Hall (Taipei), Muhsin ErtuÄŸrul Stage (Istanbul), Theatre De La Ville (Paris), Villa Adriana (Rome), The Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, House of Commons and Westminster Abbey, City Hall (London), Bridgewater Hall, The Lowry (Manchester), Philharmonic Hall (Liverpool), The Sage (Gateshead), Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City (USA), Glastonbury and Womad festival (UK) and Sfinks festival (Belgium). Sanju's recent projects and collaborations include: BBC Proms, Sangeet Yatra, Rhythm Xchange, The Raga Taal, Bach to Benares, Ancient Future, Sangam, The Raga Jazz, Encounter, Romali, Pan Jazz, Sacred Beats of Benares, Aakrisht, Gnosis, Medici Edinburgh and Dante String Quartets. He has also been privileged to be invited to perform for Her Majesty the Queen on 4 separate occasions and has also performed at a private function held by HRH Prince Charles at Highgrove.
Sanju has played for numerous live recordings including BBC TV, Channel East, Asian Network TV, Zee TV, Sony TV, Sky, BBC World Service, All India Radio ("A" grade artist), Doordarshan and also on CDs with ARC Music, On Air, Sense World, NA Classical India, Warner Brothers and Universal Records.
In addition to his performance and touring work he regularly conducts lecture demonstrations, workshops and residencies in schools, colleges and universities. He has been a tutor at SOAS London University leading a course in Tabla for over 15 years. Sanju was also Percussion Conductor of a unique South Asian music youth orchestra (SAMYO) and regularly leads workshops with the National Youth Orchestra involving some of the brightest young musicians based in the UK.