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A Tibetan Monk paints with colored sand in the Kansas Union in Feb. 2015. A concert at the Lawrence Arts Center on March 13 will benefit Tibetan monks in the Mustang District of Nepal.

The Lawrence Arts Center will host a concert of classical Indian music on March 13. This concert will benefit young monks studying at the Chhairo Monastery in the Mustang District of Nepal, as well as the monastery itself. Monks, as is traditional with Tibetan Buddhism, enter the monastery as young as 6 years old. Proceeds will help fund their room and board.

University professors Purnaprajna Bangere and Brandon Draper, along with esteemed Indian musician Amit Kavethekar, will perform a combination of jazz, blues and Indian classical music for a crowd expected to number at least 100. 

Lawrence resident Subarna Bhattachan organized the event. Bhattachan, who owns Asian fusion restaurant Zen Zero on Massachusetts Street, came to the United States in the late '80s to attend school at Bethel College in Newton. He arrived in Lawrence several years later to be with his wife while she was studying at the University.

This is not Bhattachan’s first experience with humanitarian work. He and his family, in partnership with California-based nonprofit Restoration Works International, have supported the upper region of Mustang for years. In 2011, Bhattachan coordinated a medical mission to the Mustang District on the northern border of Nepal, during which 42 volunteers spent four days providing medical care to poor farming communities in the region.

Since monks depend upon alms as part of Buddhist tradition, Bhattachan says his charity work is part of an obligation he has to his home country and its culture.

“What we are doing is a cultural preservation, and that is why I feel [the concert] is going to help,” Bhattachan said. “It’s also my way of giving back to my community, where I came from, and our village. And mostly it’s for cultural preservation.”

The concert will be presented in two halves. Bangere, a violinist, will perform the first half with Kavethekar, who plays a South Asian drum called a tabla. They will play a set of classical Indian music, including a few of Bangere’s original compositions.

The second half will feature Bagnere, Kavethekar and jazz percussionist Draper. Their set will have elements of both Eastern and Western classical music, but Bangere said “fusion” is the wrong word for it.

“It’s essentially a new music — which will sound Indian, it will sound blues, it will sound whatever people identify with — but it’s essentially new, both aesthetically as well as mathematically," Bangere said.

Tickets are still available and can be purchased online at the Lawrence Arts Center's website. Tickets can also be purchased at Zen Zero, La Parilla and Genovese. 

— Edited by Samantha Harms 

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