HYDERABAD: I was first introduced to the deeply spiritual and meditative component of Hindustani classical music, the dhrupad as a child when I listened to records of renditions by the masters of this form. This genre of Hindustani classical music is considered the most ancient one of this stream to have survived to this day in its original form. The word Dhrupad is derived from the words Dhruva pada in which Dhruva indicates the celebrated star of our galaxy named after Dhruv, the legendary devotee of Vishnu whose life is immortalised in the Bhagavatham; and pada which means poetry.
Later, I attended a concert by the legendary Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar. And many many years later a face-to-face interview with his son rudra-veena exponent Bahauddin Dagar gave me more insights into this exquisite form of music. Today, among the first names that spring to a music-lover’s mind when the word dhrupad is mentioned are that of the Gundecha Brothers.
These highly talented musicians Umakant Gundecha and Ramakant Gundecha are Padma Shri awardees. They have also received the coveted Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, 2017. These are only two of the many titles and awards these brothers have been conferred over decades of a highly successful career.
These brothers will be coming to perform. The Gundecha Brothers who were born in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, were initiated into music by their parents. They were trained in the dhrupad vocal art under the renowned dhrupad vocalist Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar and the famous musician Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar at Dhrupad Kendra, Bhopal.
This musician-duo has performed widely all over India and in several countries at many venues including prestigious platforms and received critical appreciation. They also have dozens of audio-records and TV programmes to their credit. Inspired by their gurus and their love of the dhrupad tradition, the brothers have established a dhrupad institute in Bhopal in the gurukul tradition where they teach students from around the world. It is run under the Dhrupad Sansthan.
For the same reason, they have been organising Dhrupad Utsavs all over India in memory of their music gurus Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar and Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar. They have also helped to set up Dhruvpad Gurukulam Foundation in Hyderabad wherein classes in dhrupad are conducted by their disciple Manish Kumar, one of the Bihar Brothers. The upcoming Dhrupad Utsav is the third one in Hyderabad in this series.
It will be in collaboration with Dhrupad Sansthan explain organisers Vijaya Ramam and Manish Kumar. The festival will feature several artistes besides the Gundecha Brothers. On September 14, there will be performances by Dhrupad Sisters Amita Sinha Mahapatra and Janhavi Phansalkar (both vocal), accompanied by Anuja Borude on pakhawaj.
This will be followed by Pakhawajvrind i.e., a group rendition in pakhawaj by Dnyaneshwar Deshmukh, Anuja Borude, and Deepak Tiwari accompanied on harmonium by Atul Singh. There will also be a vocal performance by Padma Shri awardee Ustad Faiyaz Wasifuddin Dagar of Dagarvani Gharana accompanied on pakhawaj by Pandit Akhilesh Gundecha, a respected musician who has accompanied several legendary artists.
The second day of the festival, September 15, will showcase a vocal concert by Bihar Brothers Sanjeev Jha and Manish Kumar accompanied on pakhawaj by Dnyaneshwar Deshmukh. This will be followed by the grand finale--a vocal performance by the Gundecha Brothers accompanied on pakhawaj by Pandit Akhilesh Gundecha.