North Indian Raga Music

North Indian Classical Tenor & Soprano Saxophone

Bansuri, Esraj

Emerging as the first to traditionally render the full form of North Indian Raga music on his tenor and soprano Saxophones, Jonathan Kay has been recognized as an important innovator by many of India’s Maestros, praising his devotion and dedication to the tradition of Raga music and his mature realization of the Ragas most intricate expressions.

Under the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and the Shastri Indo-Canadian Fellowship, Jonathan has spent the past 10 years living in Kolkata India, learning the instrumental and vocal styles of Indian Raga music in the traditional Guru-Shisya Parampara with his Guru, Pandit Shantanu Bhattacharyya, one of India’s premier vocalists. Jonathan has also been formally studying the Bansuri, with Sri Sudip Chatterjee since 2008, as well as the Bora Esraj, a rare 21-stringed bowed instrument, in Santiniketan with Sri Abir Singh Khangura, since 2012.

Through his devotion in the pursuit of Nada Brahma and the study of Raga Consciousness, Jonathan is experiencing higher ideals of creativity and expression and its purest application to his musically. His dedicated Sadhana, has already helped him emerge as a contributor to the evolution of Raga music performance by rendering the entire Raga on Saxophone, in both the vocal and instrumental styles, innovating certain techniques hitherto not attempted.  This includes the research and development of the first non-tempered saxophone, The Shrutiphone, designed to play in the drone based temperament of Raga music, and to more perfectly express the subtle shruti’s (mirco-tonal inflections) of the Ragas.

Jonathan became the first artist worldwide to premiere the Hindusthani saxophone (Shrutiphone) on the professional Raga music stage in 2013, when he was accompanied by one of India’s greatest living tabla maestro, Pandit Subhankar Banerjee in Dhaka. His solo performance at Kolkata’s Ramakrisha Mission, Gol Park, was also a historic event as it was the first time the Hindusthani saxophone was featured on such a prestigious stage.

The Monsoon Trio, co-lead by Jonathan Kay, is  first ensemble to individually and collectively study in the traditional Guru-Shishya Parampara system and perform the vocal and instrumental styles of North Indian Classical music on modern western instruments. Released in 2015, Pranaam, is the first recording of its kind and the debut of the Shrutiphone. Produced by the ensemble’s Guru, Shantanu Bhattacharyya, it contains his as well as his Gurus compositions in 5 of the most beautiful and penetrating Raga of Hindustani music. They are accompanied by one of India’s finest tabla exponents Subhajyoti Guha.

Jonathan has also been blessed to learn from and collaborate with many of India’s greatest maestros including; Ajoy Chakraborty, Rashid Khan, Dhruba Ghosh, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Bickram Ghosh, Tanmoy Bose, Subhankar Banerjee, Tejendra Majumdar, Ronu Majumdar, Subhen Chatterjee, Subhajyoti Guha, Sougata Roy Chowdhury, Prattyush Banerjee and Ranajit Sengupta.

Being recognized for outstanding cultural achievements by the High Commissioners of Canada in India and Bangladesh, Jonathan performed at The Canadian High Commission in New Delhi in 2012 and 2014, and in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2013.

Over the past 10 years Jonathan has performed in Canada, USA, Japan and extensively in India at many prestigious Indian Classical music festivals; Ramakrishna Mission Golpark (2016), Anubhooti Fesitval Nagpur (2016), Ballygunge Maitreyee Music Circle (2015), All-Bengal Music Conference (2013), Champaran Music Festival (2013), Bangaluru International Arts Festival (2013), Salt Lake Music Festival (2011), and All-India Music Circle (2011).


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Live at the Ramakrishna Mission, Kolkata

The big stage premiere of the Shrutiphone (modified saxophone) at the prestigious Ramakrishna Mission, Gol Park, Kolkata

Featuring Pandit Subhankar Banerjee

Raga Jaijaiwaniti – Alaap, Madhya Jhaptal, Drut Ektal

Featuring Pandit Subhankar Banerjee

Live at the Canadian Embassy, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Solo Performance

Raga Jaunpuri  – Vilumbit Ektal, Drut Tintal

Full Youtube Playlist

Ragas on Esraj

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Saxophone Brothers - Bilaskhani Todi

The first big stage performance in Kolkata for Jonathan and Andrew Kay.

Saxophone Brothers - Raga Hamsadhwani

Raga Biliashkani Todi – 17th Sangeetachaarya Radhika Mohan Maitreye Music Conference, Kolkata, India.

Full Youtube Playlist.

Monsoon Trio

Raga Marwa – Alaap, Rupak Taal, Madhya Tintal and Jhala

Full Youtube Playlist


Esraj and Saxophone accompaniment with Shantanu Bhattacharyya

FULL Youtube Playlist

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