Sitar Superstar Reshma Srivastava Returns to Boise 

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Courtesy Reshma Srivastava

Not only does Reshma Srivastava play a musical instrument that's bigger than she is—the many-stringed sitar, an ancient Indian lute that's in the same family as the guitar—but she's one of the world's best at doing it. Since beginning to play as a small child, Srivastava has been honored by the Indian government as a Sangeet Shironami Samman, a leading contributor to the musical arts, and she's also been dubbed a Surmani and a Prayag Gautrav, titles that her promotional team said translate to "the pride of the confluence of the three holy rivers."

As complex as all of that sounds, Srivastava said the goal behind her music, which spotlights ancient Indian ragas, is simple: to communicate emotion.

"I don't have to tell people, 'Now you will feel sleepy' or 'Now you will feel happy' or something. Those ragas, when done well, the emotions are there and it gets to the audience by itself," she said.

Srivastava plays sitting on the floor, and her concerts are always intimate experiences. This time in Boise, she'll perform at The Cathedral of the Rockies on Friday, March 29, at 7 p.m. Because Srivastava curates which ragas she'll play depending on the time of day, she said the evening concert will feature a specific lineup of strong, energetic pieces.

"It's very close to the rhythm of nature," she said, adding that, for example, morning ragas "have more of the flat note combinations, because the flat notes are more gentle than the natural notes."

When she isn't traveling the world sharing her music, Srivastava teaches courses on "the ancient art and science of music to create balance in nature" at the Maharishi European Research University in Holland. At the end of her current tour, she'll wing her way back there in June for a course. She also teaches students across the globe one-on-one via Skype, which enables her to keep up with them while she travels.

"It's working out really well," she said, "...I can be anywhere, and I can still teach anywhere in the world. I just have to have a computer."

You can get a taste of her playing below.

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