We’re here to help!

MELA (music.entertainment.live.arts) Agency is a full-service booking agency and artist management company started by performing artists representing world music and world dance artists and attractions from the US and abroad.  We strive to facilitate the creation of sustainable careers for artists, looking after the live performance aspect of their careers, specifically in the US and Canadian market.

How we got here

MELA Agency draws its roots from Rhythm Riders Music Productions – the production house and management company for creations by rhythm meastro Pandit Divyang Vakil and his son and world music composer Rushi Vakil. Affiliated with Pandit Vakil’s music institute – Rhythm Riders Music Institute in Ahmedabad, the company promoted Indian classical arts through performance and education. While the Vakils created high-quality accessible performances of Indian arts, contemporary and classical, the business head Heena Patel worked to build sustainable performing careers for the artists, honing her expertise as a manager, booking agent, and marketer.

Rhythm Riders’ first artist was contemporary classical tabla ensemble Talavya. In the process of growing the band’s presence and career in the United States and Canada, the founders became acutely aware of the hurdles that prevents South Asian performing arts from being as widely represented as they could be in the international marketplace – setting the stage for phase 2 of the company.

Building on its ongoing collaborative efforts to promote Indian arts and world music, by 2014, Rhythm Riders began to more formally expand its booking and management roster, while also working with US and Canadian presenters to grow their programming of performing arts of the Indian subcontinent (finding the right artists for their needs) and matching a larger network of artists to the rights gigs, including performances for South Asian organizations and Indian weddings. In 2015, in light of the larger mission and changed goals of the organization, Rhythm Riders became MELA Group – a parent company for organizations working in the performing arts business. Two companies under MELA Group are MELA Agency – the artist booking and management company; and MELA Arts Connect – cultural consultancy services for performing arts of the Indian subcontinent.

The Team

Pandit Divyang Vakil
Pandit Divyang Vakil
Pandit Divyang Vakil is renowned for his teaching excellence, composing brilliance, and commitment to his students and art. Over his 30+ year career as a guru, he has produced innumerable professionals in the world of Indian and international music.

With thousands of compositions to his name, Pandit Vakil has established a modern form of classical tabla playing. He not only creates pure tabla compositions, but has worked with various arts bringing together different instruments and art forms, including Korean drumming, standard drum kit, and more.

Pandit Vakil brings over 40 years of experience in performing arts to MELA Agency.

Heena Patel
Heena Patel
Heena Patel’s experience in the performing arts space is that is of a student, teacher, choreographer, booking agent, and manager. She stepped into the business of performing arts when she began exploring how to build US tours for India based artists Jin Won and tabla ensemble Talavya. In the process of building Talavya’s presence in the US from nothing to 2-3 tours per year for 5 consecutive years, she has assumed the role of manager, agent, marketer, and artist (harmonium) for the ensemble as well as other artists.

She’s now looking forward to sharing her expertise to help more artists realize their dream of having financially viable careers as artists, while nurturing cross-cultural exchange through the arts. Heena Patel is also the founder of MELA Agency’s sister company MELA Arts Connect.