In Rabindranath Tagore’s words, “The world speaks to me in colors, my soul answers in music”.
Wherever Samia has traveled, music has remained an integral part of her life. The national flowers shown above – Waterlily for Bangladesh, Lotus for India, Rose for USA and Protea for South Africa symbolize places which have been home to Samia, where her practice of music has been welcomed and nurtured.
Born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and a resident of Maryland, Samia Mahbub Ahmad is a Hindustani (North Indian) classical vocal musician in the Kirana Gharana. Samia has been studying, teaching and performing this ancient music of the Vedic times, live, and on television and radio in North America, South Asia, Europe and Southern Africa for the past three decades. She has earned many awards and recognitions, including, performing for Nobel laureates, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and President Jimmy Carter and Mrs. Rosalyn Carter.
Samia is a recognized Master Artist of the Maryland State Arts Council and the Arts and Humanities Council of the Montgomery County. She is also the recipient of the 2020 Independent Artist Award of the Maryland State Arts Council.
Samia is a full-time arts educator in the Washington DC metro areas, out-of-state and around the globe. She has presented at the Smithsonian Institute; the Strathmore Music-in-the-Mansion; the Montpelier Arts Center (two-time winner of the Classical Recital Series Competition, 2010-12 & 2019); the Atlas Performing Arts Center; the Gandhi Memorial Center (DC), the India International Center (New Delhi), the Edward Kennedy Center (Dhaka), and many leading universities, both within the US and other countries including the UK, India, Bangladesh and South Africa.
Samia is the disciple of Padma Shri Vidushi Sumitra Guha, one of India’s premier classical vocalists, and Sri Tapan Baidya, one of the pioneers of this genre in Bangladesh. Samia has widened her classical base to specialize in Nazrul Sangeet (collections from the Rebel Poet of Bengal, Kazi Nazrul Islam), Bhajans (Devotional compositions), and New Age music, melding Hindustani classical music with contemporary melodies and rhythms of South Asia, South Africa, and the West. She has expanded her collaborative work to combine vocal music with dance choreography and the visual arts. An underlying theme in Samia’s performances and teaching is the exploration of spiritual unity in religions that share a common cultural base.
Her published albums, global releases, include “Srijana Chhande” (2003) – a tribute to Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam – and “Rasneem” (2014) – a tribute to the new generation. These are available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and more. In addition, several of Samia’s songs, composed and performed with Ismail Mohammed, one of South Africa’s leading musicians, have been featured in “Tulku: Doors to Paradise” (2007) and “Tulku: The Way of the Mystique” (2009) — both global compilations produced by Grammy award winner, the late Jim Wilson. These songs are soon to be re-released in a new album titled “Arohi: The Story of Braids”. Her other recordings include sound tracks for the critically acclaimed dance drama, “Sita: Gentle Warrior” performed by the Sutradhar Dance Company (USA) as well as a singles video, “Vaishnava Janato” released globally in celebration of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on October 2, 2019.
Samia holds an MA and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Maryland, College Park, USA.