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I dont think Indian classical music is neglected: Santoor maestro Rahul Sharma

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New Delhi: Rahul Sharma, the son of santoor maestro Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, regards it a misconception that one needs to be absolutely aware of the know-how of classical music in order to enjoy it.

Following his fathers’ footsteps in taking the Indian classical music scene globally, the young maestro is often seen adding a foreign touch to his work.

“It’s a misconception that if you don’t understand the classical music you cannot enjoy it. This is not true. Today I see several youngsters at my concerts. I guess when they see a younger artist who has the potential to be an icon, a connection is made with the younger listener.”

“I think more classical concerts should be broadcast live and collaborations with popular western artistes will also help in making people aware of Indian classical music,” Rahul told reporters on the phone from Mumbai.

He had collaborated with Egyptian artist Georges Kazazian and Indian playback singer Sunidhi Chauhan for a project in 2011.

It was not the first time that Rahul joined hands with an international artist. He has also worked with French pianist Richard Clayderman and keyboardist Kersi Lord. He even collaborated with international musician Eric Mouquet on “Deep India” concert in 2013.

With the receding popularity of classical music amongst youth, does he think the art form is fading?

“Not at all. Apart from my collaborations with Grammy winners such as Kenny G, Eric Moquet of ‘Deep Forest’, which had great sales in India, we also managed to reach the number one spot on the Billboard jazz charts with Kenny G and my album ‘Namaste’.”

“I don’t think it (classical music) is neglected. It’s an individualistic imagination that helps an artiste to bring in audiences in India,” said the musician, who started accompanying his father to concerts at the age of 24 in 1996.

The talented composer, who gave music for the 2002 Hindi film “Mujhse Dosti Karoge!”, is a sought-after concert artiste and has released more than 40 albums including “Maya”, “The Rebel” and “Samandar”.

Rahul, who endorses Brooke Bond Taj Mahal Tea, a brand that has been synonymous with classical music, became part of a 14-hour-long music concert recently in Mumbai with sitarist Shahid Parvez and djembe player Taufiq Qureshi along with other artistes to celebrate the brand’s golden jubilee.

The artiste says he was floored by the idea as it presented different variations of Indian classical music.

“I think it’s a great idea to have so many classical musicians come together spanning a 14-hour duration. The beauty about Indian classical music is that it has a time cycle and different ragas are played from sunrise to sunset,” he said. (Sugandha Rawal, IANS) (Image source: blogspot.com)

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Indian Classical Music is For a Certain Class: Vocalist Suhas Vyas

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An Indian classical music performance
India Night for the Cultural Association of India's 50th anniversary at Mizzou. Wikimedia

New Delhi, Sep 24, 2017: Indian classical music generally has a limited audience. Pune’s popular vocalist Suhas Vyas feels that it is because classical music is for a certain class of people.

Asked why the genre is mostly restricted to the elite audience, Vyas told IANS in an email interview: “As it is called, it is classical music. Therefore, it is for a certain class of people. Surprisingly, our music has been received with extreme love abroad.”

“In India too, the audience is opening up and the newer generation is learning and taking the art to their generation too.”

He is doing his bit to promote Indian classical music by training students, conducting lectures and performing in India as well as abroad.

Earlier this month, he experienced “nothing short of extraordinary” when he performed in China.

“The show was in Xiamen, China for the BRICS Summit cultural conference. To represent our nation and culture on foreign soil was a great experience. The auditorium was packed to its complete strength and we received standing ovation,” he said.

What about language barrier?

“As they say art has no language, it is all about emotions. The entire audience connected with the music. I performed a very rare composition by S.N Ratanjankar (scholar and teacher of Hindustani classical music).

“One delegate came backstage after the concert. As we both didn’t understand each other’s language, he kept on pointing at his heart and then mine. I got the message.”

There is another reason why, he feels, the audience connected with his music at the event where artistes from other BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa) also performed.

Also Read: Ragas for Preschool Children: Combining Classical Music with Fun Exercises 

“Among all other performances, which were more opera style, ours was the only one which had a seating arrangement and percussion so, it fascinated the audience and was very well received,” said the artiste, whose music is about peace and spirituality.

People often use music as a means to promote peace, but when things go politically wrong, it’s the artistes who first get affected. Why?

“Artistes are usually the first ones to take the brunt because the reaction from artistes are the least damaging politically and gives maximum political mileage to parochial political parties and pressure groups during conflicts.A

“During peace time too, due to the public connect of artistes, it is the thing that gives most political mileage.” (IANS)

 

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