Sitar Music Ensemble
NEWSWEEK: SPRING 2012 'SPECIAL COMMEMORATIVE ISSUE OF THE BEATLES - 50 Years Since The Music Began! We're on page 92 - 'Beatles Tribute Bands From Around The Globe'.
Sandalwood was founded in 1999 by husband and wife, Clar and GiGi Monaco of Chicago who started their study of Indian music in the early 1990's. They began performing as a duo (Sitar and Tanpura), playing numerous Music Meditation sessions around the city and occasionally played with various tabla players from the Chicagoland area.
By 2003, Sandalwood's musical services had grown tremendously for Indian weddings and other public and private events in and around the Chicagoland area. They also played weekly at a popular Oak Park restaurant, Khyber Pass until 2009.
Here are a few venues and events Sandalwood has performed:
The Theosophical Society of America - Summer National Conference, July 2011.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Chicago. 2010.
"Beatles Celebration-The Brendan Hedges Scholarship Fundraiser". Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago. 2010.
"Here Comes The Sun-Cancer Awareness Event", Chicago. 2009.
"World Music Festival - Music For Life Fund-raiser", Oak Park IL. 2008
"What's Blooming" Annual Art Festival, Oak Park Arts District. 2008
"TheoFest" Theosophical Society, Wheaton IL. 2008
Wonderwall's 1st Annual Harrison On Harrison TM Event - George Harrison In Art & Music. Oak Park IL. 2008
Chef Art Smith (Oprah's former chef), private dinner party, Chicago. 2007.
"Sister Cities - Chicago and Lahore Inauguration", Mayors Daley and Mehmood, Chicago Cultural Center. 2006
University Club of Chicago, Chicago. 2006.
House of Blues - Foundation Room, International Bar (Lawyers) Association Convention, Chicago. 2006.
Cuneo Mansion & Garden, Vernon Hills. 2005
Navy Pier - Grand Ballroom, Chicago. 2005
Chase Auditorium, Chicago. 2005
Sri Venkateswara Temple, Calabasa CA. 2005
Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago. 2004
Today, Sandalwood's ensemble has grown and may include and additional sitar players and percussion players for special events.
Sandalwood is based in the south suburbs of Chicago.
Sandalwood's musical performance, their professional attitude and dress attire shows great respect to the Indian music, tradition and culture for which they represent.
Performing musical arrangements on Sitar, Tabla, Tanpura/Swarsangam and Percussion....Indian classical ragas, light classical ragas, Hindi film songs, western pop such as The Beatles.
Co-founder and group leader, Clar Monaco began his study of the sitar in 1993 with Mushtaq Husain Khan, son of the great Ghulam Hussain Khan of the Indore Gharana classical music tradition, and the late Patric Marks who was a disciple Khansahib.
Co-founder, GiGi Wong-Monaco also studied India classical music with the late Patric Marks from 1998-2005.
In 2005, Clar became a disciple of world renowned artist, Pandit Ronu Majumdar, who is also the chairman of Sadhana School of Indian Music for which Ronuji appointed Clar as the Sitar Teacher by the following year.
Sandalwood's performers includes: CLAR MONACO (Sitar); Dharminder Singh (Tablas); Payal Sud, (Tamboori/Swarsangam/Percussion); Monika Sharma, (Tamboura/Swarsangam/Percussion); Amee Majmumdar (Violin). Occasionally, Raju Deshmukh (Tablas); Puranlal Vyas, Tablas (Dholak).