In an era when the society is inclined towards Western music and culture, it has not been an easy journey for the sitar and sarod duo, Lakshay Mohan and Aayush Mohan, popularly known as Mohan brothers, to make classical music their life. “We have been so engrossed in music that everything else becomes a distraction. You think about it all the time, so you basically eat, breathe and sleep with music in your head. It has been very satisfying for us but, at the same time, it has been very challenging as well, as people around you may not understand your way of life,” share the duo, who are all set to perform for the India edition of Strings in Harmony.
Talking about their background in music, the duo shares, “Since a very young age we were exposed to classical music which was for the major part, in the form of sitar and sarod, so we were naturally attracted to these instruments. We have been playing duet on stage since 2008. Though it was difficult venturing into the profession, which has mostly seen generations of musician families, we were fortunate enough to receive blessings of legendary musicians like Pt Jasraj and Pt Ravi Shankar.”
Their musical repertoire is very traditional but they have redesigned their presentation keeping in mind the new mindset of today’s audience and maintaining the classical discipline at the same time. “While playing duet we take care that there is a perfect co-relation between the content played on the Sitar and the Sarod which is the most important of our collective sound and should not be missing in a duet. This coordination comes naturally to us as we’ve been learning and practising together for many years,” they share.
Indian classical music is a living tradition has always been evolving over the years. And today, most of the classical musicians are reinventing themselves within the traditional discipline. “One has to understand that this type of music demands a certain exposure and patience from the listener and it doesn’t need to have a mass following. We always maintain the discipline and true essence of classical music in our performance. So a purist or a connoisseur would never find anything ‘un-classical’ in it but at the same time, the presentation is planned to keep in mind the balanced role of all aspects so that it can appeal to the musical sensibilities of a new listener. It’s hard to describe it in words. One has to experience that in our concert,” share the two pioneers of the Indian classical music.
India is such a culturally rich and diverse country and the duo feels immensely proud of being born here and being a citizen of this country. “We are of the belief that, in a free society like ours, individual opinions should be viewed with an open mind and should be met with constructive criticism. Although the suppression of artists or other creative individuals, who voice an opinion, which opposes that of the state has been going on for long, the current trend of running propaganda against these kinds of individuals (instead of responding to them in a civilised manner) by state-sponsored (directly or indirectly) organisations is very harmful to the free society,” shares the duo.
Strings in Harmony is a concert that has toured esteemed venues in the US like Symphony Space,. Catch hold of them in the city on March 20, 7 pm at Kamani Auditorium.