Monday, November 28, 2011

Major Dhrupad duet festival in Bhopal

During the previous four days, broadcast live on television througout India and the world, was an unprecedented major festival of Dhrupad music performances featuring jugalbandis (duets), by a wide representation of many of the leading artists of this genre, the most ancient and august form of classical music existing in the north of South Asia. For four consecutive evenings, commencing on Thursday, 24 November, each three-hour live broadcast featured three groups of two or three vocalists accompanied by the pakhawaj--the barrel drum so essential to Dhrupad--not only from all over India, but also including Pakistasn's leading practitioner of the art.

The even was jointly sponsored by Doordarshan, India's original and still prominent television network; and the Dhrupad Sansthan, a traditional residential academy or gurukul (of which more later), established and operated by the Gundecha Brothers, who are possibly the most active performers of Dhrupad on concert stages throughout India and abroad. The event was in many ways a tribute to Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar, the seniormost living representative of the distinguished Dagar lineage, which has carried the tradition down through generations, and can safely be credited for bringing the genre of Dhrupad, after a period of relative decline, to world prominence during the latter half of the Twentieth Century

Limited Internet access prevents me from writing further at the moment, but in the coming days I will summarize the various performances and performers, as persuasive evidence that this previously dying art form is undergoing an exciting rejuvenation throughout India, and even in Pakistan.

Stay tuned!

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