Shanti best described as 'an oratorio based on Indian ragas' is a trailblazing venture in the area of choral music based on ragas. Widely described as ''... a unique and groundbreaking creation in the history of world music...", Shanti has created history by being the 'first of its kind' in many ways. Shanti has brought choral music and community choirs to the Indian American diaspora. And it has been the first to see partnership between Indian American communities and other choruses. Shanti has also created widespread awareness about Indian music and culture in the 'experiential domain'.

Shanti is the brainchild of visionary composer Kanniks Kannikeswaran who first experimented with choral harmony in a raga based setting back in 1992. The first choral experiments culminated in Basant, a musical theater production that was performed in 1994. The next major choral performance of rAga based music was The Blue Jewel in 1996, 1997 and 1999 and  'Chants for Peace' in the year 2000 followed by 'Surya' in  2002.

Kanniks wrote 'Shanti - A Journey of Peace' in 2003-2004. What started off as a committed group of people meeting to enhance their choral repertoire, grew into a group of about 85 singers of Indian origin, who shared choral singing with two other community choruses in an amazing experience that led to the highly acclaimed performance of  Shanti - A journey of peace to an audience of about 1700 people under the baton of conductor Catherine Roma.

Shanti was performed again at the Aronoff Center for Performing Arts, to a packed house of 2600 in Cincinnati in March 2006. 

Kanniks inspired the formation of the Lehigh valley Indian community choir What started off as a committed group of workshop attendees grew into a sizeable group of singers of Indian origin from the surrounding area, who shared choral singing with singers from local choruses in what turned out to be yet another spectacular performance of Shanti in May 2006 at Lehigh University to a packed Zoellner Arts Center, Bethlehem PA.  Shanti was performed again in October 2008, hosted this time by the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, in the presence of Swami Dayananda Sarasvati.

Kanniks' work in Tampa FL saw the blossoming of a community choir in the Greater Tampa Bay area that performed 'Chitram - A Portrait of India ' in Tampa in November 2009.

Shanti was brought to Houston by the Greater Houston Indian community in March 2010. The gestation process of Shanti took about 10 months. The first rehearsal in Houston saw about 50 singers in attendance, a number that steadily grew to 90. The community built around Shanti has left many enduring relationships, an undying nostalgia and an enhanced sense of appreciation for and awareness of Indian music and culture.  The Houston Indian American singers collaborated with the United Nations Association International Choir, under the baton of conductor Eric Esparza. The entire process has been described by many as a 'transformational experience..'.

The choral sessions allow participants to get exposed to various rAgas that form the basis of Indian classical music. The simplicity of the parts make it a pleasurable learning experience and over a period of time, the choir acquires the ability to handle complex musical scales and themes.

 
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