Indian woman dancer in traditional dress

PBS Wisconsin Education adds Indian classical and bluegrass musicians to education collection

March 1, 2023 Alyssa Beno Leave a Comment

PBS Wisconsin Education and the Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA) have expanded their Re/sound: Songs of Wisconsin classroom media collection to include Indian classical musician Lavanyaa Surendar and bluegrass/Americana band Black River Revue.

Re/sound: Songs of Wisconsin is a multimedia resource designed to help general music educators and learners in grades 4-8 explore the connections between music, culture and emotion. The collection features culture-bearers of music from Wisconsin, as they share a composition and discuss their musicianship, culture and identity. It includes video interviews and performances; audio tracks; and educator engagement guides featuring learning outcomes, strategies, assessments and aligned standards.

New additions to the collection in February 2023 include Carnatic musician Lavanyaa Surendar and bluegrass and Americana group, Black River Revue. Surendar, of Brookfield, performs Carnatic music, a form of Indian classical music that tells ancient stories from Indian mythology. 

Four musicians with string instruments perform

Black River Revue, a four-piece freshwater bluegrass and Americana band, creates music that references places they grew up, like the Black River, for which their band is named. It is made up of Adam Stariha (guitar/vocals/harmonica), Ian Kvale (bass/vocals), Nate Hynum (mandolin/vocals) and Tim Leutgeb (banjo) from the twin ports of Duluth, Minnesota, and Superior, Wisconsin. 

“We were hearing from music educators and school administrators about the need for an installment on Carnatic music, and having Lavanyaa Surendar as a musician who is a culture bearer of Indian music is a phenomenal resource,” said Laurie Fellenz, executive director of WSMA, Wisconsin Music Educators Association and Wisconsin Foundation for School Music. “It is exciting to feature Black River Revue from an area of Wisconsin that doesn’t get as much attention musically in terms of their stories and for the teachers in the northern part of the state.” 

Re/sound: Songs of Wisconsin features several culture-bearers of music, including Latinx musicians Richard Hildner Armacanqui and Juan Tomás Martínez of Madison; First-Nations musician Wade Fernandez from Keshena on the Menominee Reservation; Hmong singer Maa Vue of Wausau; and the Black American string duo, SistaStrings – Chauntee Ross and Monique Ross from Milwaukee.

Re/sound: Songs of Wisconsin is available for free online access at

Funding for Re/sound: Songs of Wisconsin is provided by the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation, the Focus Fund for Education, and Friends of PBS Wisconsin.

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