Sitar: Alif Laila / Poetry: Gowri Koneswaran

Alif Laila‘s Annual Art of Peace Concert
Celebrating Gandhiji’s birthday and contributions to peace
Sunday October 7, 2012 at 3:30 pm
This event is FREE – RSVP to
Westminster Presbyterian Church,
400 I Street SW, Washington, DC 20024
Waterfront Metro Stop

Join us for our 9th Annual Fall Festival of Indian Arts and our 7th year of partnership with Alif. We are excited to have her back with us this Fall. Gracious and talented, she serves as a role model and mentor to Daniel.

Alif Laila was born and raised in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Her connection with the arts has been very deep since early childhood. In Dhaka, Bangladesh, she began her initial training in vocal music, and was eventually inspired to learn the Sitar by her mother, Shehida. She was trained on a ‘one to one’ basis in the techniques and compositions of classical music by Ustad Mir Qasem Khan, nephew of Ustad Allauddin Khan, and founder of the Senia Maihar school of music. Alif’s passion for the arts was beyond music alone. She attended the College of Fine Arts in Dhaka where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree and received several awards for her water color paintings. The world of rhythm and tone in drawing and painting gradually merged with her music and her love story with the arts began. She was fortunate to receive guidance from teachers like Partha Chatterjee and Krishna Bhatt and blessings from Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. She has performed extensively in many prestigious venues in Bangladesh, India, Europe and the USA. World renowned Tabla artists like Pandit Anindo Chatterjee, Ustad Taari Khan, and Pandit Yogesh Shamsi have performed and recorded with her. In 2007 her DVD ‘Hrydayaragam’ was presented at The Smithsonian. She has recently released another DVD, ‘Strings of Resonance’ with Anubrata Chatterjee, presenting Indian Classical music as the link to the heritage of the land from the past to the present.

With devotion and dedication Alif embraces the Sitar as the instrument of her soul.

To know more about her and watch her video-clips please visit her website: and blog:

Joining Alif for our Art of Peace event is our wonderful friend and colleague Gowri. Gowri Koneswaran is a poet, singer, and lawyer whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from Sri Lanka. Her advocacy has addressed animal welfare, the environment, and the rights of prisoners and the criminally accused. She was a Lannan Fellow of the Folger Shakespeare Library and have been a featured poet at Lincoln Center Out of Doors (NYC), the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Campus Progress’s Protest Through Poetry, and Sulu DC. Gowri’s poetry has appeared in Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Bourgeon, and Lantern Review. In 2010, she was a member of the DC Southern Fried Slam team and released her first chapbook, Still Beating. She hosts a poetry open mic every month at Busboys and Poets (14th+V St. NW) and assists with programming and events at BloomBars community arts space in Columbia Heights, where she previously served as program director. Read more about Gowri here.