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Famous Musicians of India

Interview: Tabla Maestro Nishikant Barodekar

For a long time, I wanted to interview this radiant and joyful Tabla Maestro, Nishikant Barodekar. I heard him first when he accompanied Rakesh Chaurasia at a concert in Pune. What a coincidence it was! I, my wife Dakshayani, Rakesh ji and Nishikant Barodekar- all of us came out together from the parking area. As Rakesh Chaurasia is a good friend, we exchanged a few words with him. After this brief conversation, Rakesh Chaurasia and Nishikant Barodekar went to the green room and I and Dakshayani to the auditorium!

Mandar and Dakshayani with Nishikant Barodekar
Mandar and Dakshayani with Nishikant Barodekar

At that time, I was unaware of the fact that Tabla Maestro was Nishikant Barodekar, grandson of the great Kirana Gharana vocalist, Smt. Hirabai Barodekar. It took us almost three years to meet in person after the concert that day!

Anyway, meeting Nishikant Barodekar was a totally new experience. Nishikant conveys certain things very clearly- he is humble, calm, devoted to the purity of his art and is well aware of his role in the world of music- not only as an artist but also a person and more importantly, as a teacher.

For almost one and half hour, Nishikant Barodekar took us on a ride, touching various aspects right from music, riyaz, spirituality to his observations about the young generation. Though he hails from a musical family, his musical journey was as tough as anyone else’s.

“For three years, I used to travel every day to Mumbai to learn Tabla from Abbaji (Ustad Allarakha) and come back to Pune. It was after three years of testing, that Abbaji asked me to stay at Mumbai”, humbly Nishikant unfolds the efforts which he has taken to master the art.

Nishikant started learning vocals and had to switch to Tabla due to some reasons. Under the initial guidance of Ustad Ghulam Rasool Khan, he began his Tabla lessons and was awarded national scholarship for three years. After this initial study, later he was accepted as a Gandabandh disciple by Ustad Allarakha.

“Ustad Allarakha was a great artist and had very simple personality. Ammaji (Abbaji’s wife) looked after us like mother. She always ensured that we are not hungry even if we were practicing late in nights.”

In this digital age, where many students of music meet their teachers only through Skype, the point made by Nishikant makes us realise that somewhere, the love and intimacy between Guru and Shishya is spiralling down.

When we asked him about who his favourite artist is or who are the artists he likes to listen to, he opened up his wide canvas.

“I am listening to all the great artists right from my childhood. Hence, there is no comparison. I just learned to pick up good things from each one of them.”

Nishikant Barodekar is a seasoned artist and his contribution to the field of art is significant. He has accompanied greatest of the great artists including Pt. Kumar Gandharva, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, Ustad Vilayat Khannad many many more. He is a teacher passionately sharing his art and knowledge with students. Nishikant also conducts workshops regularly.

“How is your experience with the young students who learn from you?”

“Well, there are lot many distractions which keep them away from focusing”, he tells.

“When we were kids, television was the only entertainment and distraction. Today, life is so fast and there are so many things to keep you away. But in spite of that, due to this, the speed of understanding and grasping has also improved.”

Nishikant Barodekar is a devotee of Satya Sai Baba and teaches Tabla at Music College at Puttapurthi. I appreciate his concern about music and his art which is not limited only to performing in concerts but also stretches to openly sharing his knowledge with students.

Meeting Nishikant Barodekar has left behind many impressions and has given us many things to reflect and contemplate on. He has invited us to Puttapurthi, and we are much excited to see the place and the work which he is doing over there.

After a long chat and filling dinner, we got up. I was a bit upset as hotel management insisted on visitors picking up their plates and keeping them at the washing counter.

“This is very similar to our place (Puttapurthi). Here at least you do not have to wash your plates!” commented Nishikant, with twinkle in his eyes, gauging my anxiety. We came back home with memories which will be cherished for long!

Visit Indian Classical Music Section 

Read Interview with Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia

Read my entry on Ustad Zakir Hussain

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Pt. Mukul Shivputra

Review: Pt. Mukul Shivputra Concert, 15 March 2015, Pune

As many other music lovers do, I also keep on waiting for some good concerts. A long time entry in my wish list was a concert by Pt. Mukuls Shivputra.

In the last week of Feb, I was in Ahmedabad for some official purpose. I had been there for a conference. While going to the conference venue from our guest house, I passed by CEPT.  I have a collection of around 6 recordings of Pt. Mukul Shivputra performing at CEPT. All of them are high quality audio recordings and Mukulji has sung many Ragas like Malkauns, Puriya Dhanashree, Jog, Chhayanat etc. and also has given a demonstrative talk.

While passing by, I asked my wife this many times repeated question- “When would he sing again?”

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Pt. Mukul Shivputra after the concert

As clueless as I was, she was unable to answer. Just after reaching the venue, I got an alert from Facebook about Pt. Mukul Shivputra performing in Pune on 15th March 2015.

Though both of us were quite busy with the launch of our book, we marked the date. The occasion was Mukulji completing 60 years. The concert was to be followed by dinner.

Many music lovers and fans of Pt. Mukul Shivputra were already present, waiting for him to arrive on the stage. We could coincidentally meet renowned Tabla Player Shree Anand Badamikar during the concert.

He arrived and after some formalities, the concert began. In spite of having some issues and trouble with the sound system, Mukulji sang. Unfortunately, the concert was arranged in open lawns and another classical concert was going on in the immediately next place. In spite of all these hurdles, Mukulji took audience to a different plane.

As a policy, I avoid writing elaborately on what Ragas were sung in a concert, which Bandishes, which Talas etc. The purpose is go beyond all that and taste the environment which the artist builds in his concert. It is a precaution to ensure that reviews are not intellectual.

Pt. Mukul Shivputra opened the concert with Multani, very stirdy yet delicate. The chain went on ending with Bageshree and then Bhairavee. The music was enriching, sensitive. One of the biggest problem I see with musicians is their insensitivity. They take all the efforts to make their music wide, entertaining, intellectually compelling. All these things can be added with practice, sensitivity cannot. Pt. Mukul Shivputra won the audience and made a mark because of his sensitivity and delicacy.

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Pt. Mukul Shivputra Uncategorized

Pt. Mukul Shivputra sings Raga Jaijaiwanti

He is whimsical and many people in the world of Indian classical music simply avoid talking about him. Still, many more miss him and miss his divine music. Mukul Shivputra quenched a thirst of music lovers which no other singer can.
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His concerts are now rare. Not many of his recordings are available in the stores. Some clips are uploaded on the internet but they lack the quality.

A few days ago, when we were attending a concert by Rahul Sharma [Barkha Ritu], on a CD stall there, I found a recording of Raga Jaijaiwanti and Kedar by Pt. Mukul Shivputra.

Without a second thought, I bought the CD.

Raga Jaijaiwanti- by different artists

I have listened to this melodious late night Raga Jaijaiwanti by many artists. Many of them are records and a few were the live concerts which I attended. The first rendition of Raga Jaijaiwanti which I came across was that of Pt. Bhimsen Joshi. [Kanchan SInghasan and Jhanan Jhanan]. Later, I got more and more curious about this Raga and listened to its renditions by different artists including Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pt. Jasraj etc.

I have attended a concert in which Pt. Rajan and Sajan Mishra sang this melodious Raga in Pune.

Till the date, I loved Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia  and Pt. Kumar Gandharva’s approach the most. This recording of Pt. Mukul Shivputra has changed the situation a bit.

Mukul Shivputra : Jaijaiwanti live in Mumbai

Jaijaiwanti is a vast Raga, with many possible combinations producing strikingly different emotions and moods. An artist can mend it to justify his feelings. At the same time, Jaijaiwanti has its own flavor also, which is very delicate to keep intact through out the concert.

Pt. Mukul Shivputra has done a really marvelous job while presenting this Raga. His swift movements from Dha to Ga, a trademark pattern in which he takes both the Gandhars together takes the Raga to another level. This also opened up a completely unexplored aspect of personality of the Raga. The quality of the recording is also excellent which adds up to the overall joy of listening.

I would highly recommend music lovers to listen to this live recording to experience the nonperishable beauty of this Raga.

View all concert Reviews

Read more about Mukul Shivputra

 

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Famous Musicians of India

Milind Sheorey – The Divine Confluence

When I listened to Shri. Milind Sheorey for the first time, I remembered what Pt. Shivkumar Sharma said in ‘Antardhwani’, a documentary made by national film archives exploring the journey of this Santoor Maestro.
He says-

A Guru should not look at sculpting dozens or hundreds of disciples. Even if you are able to create one or two disciples who can understand the music of  Guru and then add something of their own to it, that is more than enough.

As my observation goes, this is quite true. Musicians cannot be bulk produced. At the same time, three factors play their role simultaneously. The first is disciple’s hard work- both as a musician and a human being, second is finding a Guru and the third and the last is the divine grace.
I feel, when all these three factors work out together positively, a great musician is born. It is quite clear that rarely something like this happens. It happened with Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, it happened with Pt. Nityanand Haldipur and yes, it is happening with Shri Milind Sheorey.

Gurumata Annapurna Devi- The river of knowledge

Gurumata Annapurna Devi, who is taking efforts beyond human capacity to transfer the treasures of knowledge which she has, is very lucky as far as getting disciples is concerned. I could meet and have a discussion with Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia and Pt. Nityanand Haldipur. During our discussions with both the artists, we realized the tremendous efforts taken by Annapurna Ji and also the two disciples. Listening to Shri. Milind Sheorey made me realize that the chain does not end with these two artists.
Though Milind Sheorey learned music from same Guru, his style is very different than his two Gurubandhus. As Nityanandji had rightly said, Annapurna Ji crafted each disciple considering his personality and skills. As it is said, true Guru never forces his knowledge own disciples but tries to understand each disciple and cultivates him accordingly.
Being accepted as a disciple by Annapurna Ji is in itself a big thing- it certifies that you are honest with your art. Being accepted by a godly Guru is a difficult thing to happen. But, being with such Guru and trying to manifest her dreams is even more difficult. When a demanding Guru and a hardworking disciple comes together, the third factor has to come into the picture- the grace of the god.

Miilnd Sheorey and his Music

It is quite visible from Milind Ji’s performances that he plays Ragas which are generally not played on flute. It is a feast to listen to Ragas like Shuddha Kalyan, Puriya Dhanashree on flute which are generally played on string instruments. As one can imagine, the task is not that easy, I would say, it is not at all easy. Flute is a very different kind of instrument as compared to string instrument where the show is managed by artist’s breath.
Before this, I had listened to such ‘non flute’ Ragas being performed on flute but one could easily make out that something is missing and not fitting. When I gave a try to Milind Sheorey’s rendering, there was nothing missing. It had superb blend of stable breath, correct approach to play the notes, immense continuity.
I am sitting here, close to Annapurna Ji’s house, listening to Puriya Dhanashree, played by Shri. Milind Sheorey. It is a perfect evening, with winds blowing without any control and sea roaring. Milind Sheorey has reached to some different height, and his music is accommodating enough to take me also there, with him. The sun is about to collapse in the sea and the curtains are dancing. So are the notes, though a bit constrained by the rhythm.
Osho says music should bring you to your origin. It should make you look inside. That is what happening. At this time, I am experiencing the three factors pouring in- the hard work of this disciple, the perfect Guru and yes, the grace of the almighty, blowing around as wildly as these winds.

You can further read this article talking about Pt. Kumar Gandharva

Please enjoy this rendering of Raga Kedar by Milind Ji-

 

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Kumar Gandharva

Pt. Kumar Gandharva- The purpose behind a Tarana

Note- Tarana is a type of composition which generally does not carry any meaning. As per the trend goes, Taranas are sung in a fast tempo.  

Many times, it is seen that listeners as well as vocalists are not aware of purpose behind different types of compositions that are being sung. Ideally, everyone should do what Pt. Kumar Gandharva used to do- contemplation. I really like the way this maestro, Kumar Gandharva has put forward his original thoughts on different aspects of Indian Classical Music, Tarana not being an exception

I often used to wonder, why Tarana is sung in any particular Raga. It is made up of syllables which carry no meaning at all. What people generally think is, it is some kind of adventure in Classical Music. For casual listeners, Indian Classical Music is very slow, boring and monotonous. I know many of my friends whose interest levels suddenly boost up when any artist says that he will be performing a Tarana. Generally, Tarana is thought to be the athletic part of classical music, unfortunately, not only by casual listeners but even by the many of the most famous musicians.

Pt. Kumar Gandharva singing a Tarana Courtesy- FiIms Division (Hans Akela)
Pt. Kumar Gandharva singing a Tarana
Courtesy- FiIms Division (Hans Akela)

While listening to Tarana sung by different artists, I used to feel unsatisfied. The constant fight with rhythm and notes used to seem senseless. I remember a concert, where Pt. Mukul Shivputra had sung a Tarana in Bhairav Raga. It was an early morning concert organized on the birth anniversary of Pt. Kumar Gandharva in Pune. It was first time when I listened to a Tarana in Madhya Laya (medium tempo). Otherwise, it is always performed in Ati Drut Laya (Super fast tempo). I enjoyed that Tarana a lot. It had conveyed something- which was beyond words.

Still, I was looking from some statement or document written by some authority which explained why Tarana is sung or what is the purpose behind singing Tarana. They say, when you are searching for something seriously, you get it.  Last week, I had ordered for myself a copy of ‘Hans Akela’ , a documentary made on Pt. Kumar Gandharva. This documentary was directed by Jabbar Patel. Somewhere in this documentary, they have mentioned what thoughts he had about Tarana. As he says,

‘When singer sings everything, and still wants to say something more, something which he could not convey through the compositions sung, he sings Tarana- which has no meaning. ’

– Pt. Kumar Gandharva

 I found this explanation very relevant, authentic and having some experimental value. Pt. Kumar Gandharva has sung his Taranas in same way. They convey something which the words cannot.  

Related Articles-

Pt. Mukul Shivputra and laughing Pt. Kumar Gandharva

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Famous Musicians of India Personal Interviews Pt. hariprasad Chaurasia

Enlightening Interview- Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia

Dear Readers, a few years ago, I got a chance to interact with Pt. hariprasad Chaurasia for around one hour. As all of us know, Hariji is a towering figure in the world of Indian Classical Music. Apart from that, he is a very nice human being, trying to spread flute and music around the world. During this interaction, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia touches different topics- from his Guru to Osho. He also talks about his Gurukul, other musicians and the young generation taking the responsibility to carry forward the tradition. Presenting the first part of the interview.
Mandar- Our generation knows flute only as an instrument. But it is something beyond that. Can you please tell us something about this divine instrument, flute?
Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia- Flute is the only instrument in the world which is associated with lord Krishna, made by the lord himself. In case of other instruments, you have to the factory, you have to buy and you have to choose. In case of a flute, you need not go to any factory. You have to go to the forests and get a bamboo. You have make holes according to your fingers and your breath. Flute is the oldest instrument; It is just a hollow piece of bamboo. There are no strings, no skin and no straining. In a way, it is the purest instrument. In case of other instruments, you have to tune the instrument to get the proper sound. In case of a flute, it is absolutely reverse. You have to tune yourself according to the flute. In case of other instruments like Sitar etc., you just have to tune it and play it with some practice. It is not the case with flute. You have to tune your entire breathing pattern according to it. It may take one day, one month or even years. So, it is the most difficult instrument.

Mandar Karanjkar with Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia. At Vrindavan Gurukul, 2011.
Mandar Karanjkar with Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia.
At Vrindavan Gurukul, 2011.

Mandar- What do you exactly feel when you are playing the flute?
Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia- Just like sitting and playing the flute. Music is certainly like a prayer and god also does not understand English or Hindi or Marathi or any other language. But, he understands my language.
Mandar- How is music connected to spirituality?
Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia- It is very closely connected to spirituality. It is a form of meditation. Particularly, flute helps you to regularize your breath. It is Pranayama. It takes care of your devotion and health both at the same time.
Mandar- Can you please tell us something about your Guru?
Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia- Shrimati Annapurna Devi is my Guru. She is my mother, she is my teacher. She is everything for me. She is more than a goddess.
Mandar- What was your schedule like when you were a student of music?
Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia- My lifestyle was just as usual. I just used to play as a prayer. There was not any fixed schedule or time. It just depends. It was just like Pooja. You do it when you wish like doing it. You do not have to find a fixed time. Whenever you feel like doing it, you do it.
Mandar- It is said that music is a way of worshipping Nadbrahma. Have you ever experienced this vibe of Nadbrahma?
Panditji- Everyday! When I sit with my instrument, I feel it. When I play the flute, I feel the vibe. And remember; only when I feel it, my audience will feel it.
Mandar- In Indian Classical Music, there are hundreds of Ragas, for each and every human mood. What were then your inspirations behind the inventions of new Ragas like Haripriya and Kalaranjani?
Panditji- I thought about creating something new for the young generation. You know, sometimes, young generation wants to listen to something new, which is not written in any books. So, I wanted to create something for the young generation.

Mandar- Which is your favorite raga?

Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia– All are my favorites. It depends on ones mood, mindset and also the timing. But to be honest, all are my favorites. Like you have ten children. You cannot say that I should love this one only and not the other. The useless child we love the most!

Mandar- your latest Album was Kirwani- The message of the Birds. It was praised a lot by the listeners in India and abroad. Can you tell us something about this album?

Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia – (Laughing) Yes! You, know, Kirwani is a south Indian Raga. But these days, we north Indian Artists also play this Raga. What I observe while playing this raga is that, it is appreciated very much by the people in Europe or you can even say in the entire west. They have similar notes in their music also. So, they just love it. When we play it in the Indian way, they love it even more! Also, I have noticed that people outside India understand and appreciate this raga even better. So, no wonder, the Album was a hit!

Mandar- Are there any activities other than music which you love to do?

Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia – I do not have time to do any activity other than music. (Satirically) I would love to do some business so that I can earn money and become rich!! Whatever time I get, I spend it here, in my Gurukul, with my students. I try to make them musically fit! Whatever I have, I give it to this Gurukul. Many people are helping this Gurukul. Students do not have to pay anything here for accommodation. The supporters are working hard to earn their money and they give it to the Gurukul. So, I have to take care that it is being utilized properly.

About His Gurukul

Mandar- What is your vision behind this Gurukul?

Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia – Because I love my teacher, I love my Guru. My teacher’s father had even a bigger Gurukul at Maihar.

Mandar- Are you talking about Ustaad Allauddin Khan?

Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia – Yes, Ustaad Allauddin Khan, Annapurna Devi’s father and Guru. They used to have a great number of artists and students there. These students used to play music, sing music, write about music, and think about music. They used to compose new songs. There used to be many festivals arranged there. Various artists used to come and play. So, everything was just musical!  So many activities were going on there. So, I thought, that I should try. I should just see if I can also do it, if I can do something. And yes, god is there. He is helping me. When god is there, many people come forward to help you. To help us, many people came forward. Mr. Rajeev Gandhi came forward to help us and he helped us a lot! Mr. Ratan Tata came forward. I cannot think of even one inch of land to buy here in Mumbai to make this kind of Gurukul. It is so costly.  But when god is there, one need not worry.(Laughing) God must I have loved my business and the way I do it!

Mandar– Your favorite musician?

Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia – Every musician I like very much. They are doing really very well. You know, everybody is doing his part in this world of Music. No one is the whole. I am doing my part of music; other artists are doing their part of music. I have something to tell. So, that is my part of music. Others are also having something to tell, that is there part of music. And I love the whole music. So, I love the each part.

Mandar- What are your views about the approach of young generation about the music?

Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia – They are really very very hard workers. They try to do something, they try to learn something. They try to learn as much as possible, through the books, through the teachers. They are thinking wonderfully about music, they are writing thoughtful articles about music, they are composing very well. We were just dumb! They are very sharp.

Hariprasad Chaurasia on Osho

Mandar- Can you tell us something about Osho, who was a very intimate friend of you?

Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia – What can I tell you about Osho? He was not one, but he was many He was the best speaker in the whole world. He was the best philosopher I have ever seen. He used to play flute very beautifully. I have not seen a person having so much knowledge of all kinds of activities going around. Very calming and down to earth. There was a time when were friends, when nobody knew him, he was not famous. But then, he became internationally famous, everybody knew him. But, he wanted to keep the friendship with me which we had earlier. He did not change, his love did not change. So, I used to come often to Pune to play for him, to record for him. When he left this world, when he left us, I do not go there anymore. It was he for whom I used to go to Pune so often.

Message for Young Generation

Mandar- What is your message for the young generation?

Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia – It is the time they must do something about music; not by playing only, but also by listening, thinking, involving themselves in the world of music. There are many young people interested indie and outside India. So, it is now duty of teachers that they must take some time for the younger generation; they should put some efforts to create interest in the young generation about the music. So, it is your responsibility to take out not much but at least some time for the music!

 

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Kumar Gandharva

Pt. Kumar Gandharva- The musician who made a difference

Whenever any famous musician from the world of Indian classical music is questioned about the quality of newcomers in the field, the answer we get is very positive. Almost all of them say that the young musicians are doing very good. If someone listens to some records of pt. Kumar Gandharva and then gives a thought to this question raised above, he will get depressed. Yes, there are many maestros listening to whose performances can make us doubtful about the  quality of new generation of classical musicians. But to compare with, I chose Pt. Kumar Gandharva. Certainly, there are reasons for the same.

For last many decades, the word innovation has been dominating every sector. Right from manufacturing to education, every field has been changed and affected by this word innovation. Though classical music is there for hundreds and thousands of years, many innovations have taken place into the world of classical music. These innovations are not ordinary innovations as they have not damaged the crux of classical music. If we make a list of all the creative and innovative musicians, certainly Pt. Kumar Gandharva has to be there in the list.

Pt. Kumar Gandharva made a difference in many ways- right from the quality of music to living life as a person. He practiced music when the field was not as glamorous as it is today. He performed, when artists were not paid as much as they paid today. Sound systems, infrastructure, publicity and hospitality were in much poor state at that time as compared to today’s scenario. But still, one can find peace in his music which is hardly visible today. Yes, he made a difference.

The other aspect of Pt. Kumar Gandharva which separates him from others is his capacity to experiment. While listening to his performance, one suddenly realizes that the canvas occupied by seven notes is infinite. He had the power to sing one line in infinite ways- each one of them being equally enchanting and equally creative.

By doing this comparison, by no way I am trying to say that all the artists from the young generation lag behind. But I will surely say that we have a lot to learn from Pt. Kumar Gandharva. As a student of Indian Classical Music, when I am learning any Raga, I listen to its rendering by different musicians. When I say musicians, it includes both vocalists and instrumentalists. In case of every Raga, I without fail listen to its rendering by Pt. Kumar Gandharva. He always has some different story to say. He opens up many new dimensions in that Raga totally unexplored by others. There are many musicians who have made a difference, but in case of Pt. Kumar Gandharva, the difference is huge with unfathomable impact.

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Pt. Hariprasad Chauasia- A living wonder

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Famous Musicians of India

Pt. Nityanand Haldipur – Silencing the mind

When I meet music lovers around, I always have one question ready for them. The question is, “Why do you listen to music?” Of course, every person has a unique answer. Some of them listen to music to forget their worries and hassles of the life. Some of them have approach of a learner- they try to learn and improve their own performance. If someone asks me this question, I have quite different answer. For me, music is a meditation. Not only playing music, but also listening to someone else’s music.

Pt. Nityanand Haldipur
Pt. Nityanand Haldipur

Can music help you to meditate?

Pt. Nityanand Haldipur is a unique flute player as far as meditative quality of music is concerned. Very few artists have this quality in their music as it is quite difficult to inculcate it in one’s music. I often face this question by many of the music lovers- what is meant by meditative music? How do we come to know if the music is meditative or not? I have a very simple answer for this question. The answer is, meditative music makes your mind silent. The activity of mind simply drops down. Many times, all of us find it very difficult to cut down the thoughts. During my talks, many students ask me this typical question- we sit silent for hours but we are never silent.  The fact is, it is always very difficult to separate ourselves from our thoughts, to cut the supply of energy going to thought process. Listening to some good music can always be useful.

As I mentioned earlier, Pt. Nityanand Haldipur carries this unique ability in his music. His music is like a constant flow. As soon as you start listening to it, you are dragged in it. Your mind just cannot function.  Almost all the masters who have ever walked on this earth, in some way or other ask us to silent our mind. Zen masters say, drop the mind. For hundreds of years, Indian Classical Music is being used as a gateway to god- in form of worshipping god and also in form of meditation.

If we go a step down, silencing mind is an outcome of breath stabilization. We need to stabilize our breath. So, when you listen to someone like Pt. Nityanand Haldipur, who plays flute with a steady and controlled breath, you are bound to be like him. I always keep on telling many of these students and friends to listen to such kind of music. Many of them report that it helps!

Read All Articles on Pt. Nityanand Haldipur 

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Famous Musicians of India Kishori Amonkar Uncategorized

Kishori Amonkar concert at Gateway of India : Review

When you are into world of music, attending concerts makes a big portion of your life. It is the time when you can see the maestros performing. As elders say, you should never miss an concert irrespective of the artist who will be performing. But, some artists rarely perform. In case of such artists, the listeners strive for every single concert. Whenever they hear even a slight discussion that there is some concert by such an artist, they try their best to be there,to experience the magic of divine notes.WP_20140105_001

also, if a concert is written on your fate, you will never miss it. Ganasaraswati Kishori Amonkar is one such artist who performs rarely compared to other artists.  During my first four years in Pune, I attended concerts by all the famous musicians including Pt. Mukul Shivputra, who is considered to be most infrequently performing artist in the world of Indian Classical Music. But somehow, a concert by Kishori Amonkar was something which I had not experienced. Then I got an opportunity to listen her live for couple of times.

This particular concert on 5th Jan 2014 was quite special because it was arranged in Mumbai. This was my first experience with Mumbai audience. The venue and time were both spiritual. It was an early morning concert scheduled at 6.30 in morning in front of gateway of India, facing the endless sea. Kishori Amonkar, though I had listened to two of her concerts before,was quite an unfamiliar artist for me. I was sincerely looking for more of her concerts so that I could understand her music better. Existence created the opportunity. And yes,I did not miss it!

The audience of more than 2000 stood up to salute Kishori Amonkar
The audience of more than 2000 stood up to salute Kishori Amonkar

the performance started at 7 O Clock.Without wasting much time, the organizers  requested her to start the performance.  Kishori Amonkar started with Raga Bhairav,a morning raga. The composition was spiritual. The skies were spiritual and so was the artist. The tall and robust structure of Taj at back, pigeons flying in their internal rhythm were adding to the already spiritual atmosphere.

It took some time for her voice to open up. When it opened up, she was beyond all the limits. What strikes me most about performance of Kishori Amonkar is her devotion and her level of involvement in the music. Her voice carries a deep resonance. Another thing worth noting is the patience in her performance. Kishori Amonkar is never in hurry. She is always giving full attention to each and every note and nuances of the raga which she is playing. While listening to her rendition of Raga Bhairav, I met many phrases in Raga Bhairav which I had never realized while practising. It was as if you are meeting completely unexplored side of a person whom you know for years. The second Raga chosen for the concert was Lalat Pancham. Her voice was moving steadily and gracefully in all the three octaves.

Kishori Amonkar carries a vision behind her every performance. One can find her constantly trying to materialize this vision through her performance. This striving, this struggle is so beautiful, so valuable! Her performance has nothing to show. It does not tell you how great the performer is. There is no effort done to show the greatness of the performance. It is like a waterfall, which flows for no reason. Perhaps this is what makes Kishori Amonkar one of the greatest artists ever….

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Rakesh Chaurasia

Rakesh Chaurasia- Swarbhaskar festival 2013, Pune

Winter is the season of concerts. I somehow find winter to be most pleasant season around. The first reason is, it is truly a pleasure to sit silently in sunlight early in winter morning. The another reason is, winter is,the season of concerts.  In these four months of winter, dozens of concerts take place. So, for almost three months ahead, we will be fortunate enough to enjoy dozens of enchanting concerts.

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Rakesh Chaurasia performing in Swarbhaskar Festival Pune, 2013

the series has already started with a wonderful concert given by Rakesh Chaurasia. As Rakesh Chaurasia says, he enjoys playing for Pune audience. It is in a way true. Every year he comes to Pune and delights the music lovers with many memorable concerts.  The another remarkable point is, he always plays something new. We have  attended around eight concerts where he performed. Every concert was unique with a different raga played. We were quite curious to see which Raga he chooses for Swarbhaskar Festival.

the entire audience was excited when Rakesh Chaurasia said he would be playing Raga Janasammohini. Considering the time constraints, he explored the raga briefly but thoughtfully. After that he started playing Raga Jog, one of the most loved late night melody. Jog is a popular Raga, with quite strong and intoxicating flavor which depends a lot on how the performer uses two Gandhars- the sharp and the flat. I liked the way he posed both of these notes and used them to establish the mood.

considering the limited time available, he switched to Pahadi. Rakesh Chaurasia has played Pahadi in almost every concert he gave. Everytime he explores it in a different way. The concert concluded with the ever green tune of Vaishnav Jan to.

It is really nice to see not only consistent but more and more refined performances from Rakesh Chaurasia. He is performing with Ustad Zakir Hussain at Ganesh Kala Krida Manch, Pune on 08 Nov. 2013. I guess, that is the most exciting concert of the season!