No matter where she went, music always managed to creep in through closed doors and bolted windows. It drifted around her like a soulful companion. Hindustani classical vocalist Sawani Mudgal, grew up within the compounds of Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, an institution set up in 1939 to popularise Indian classical music among the masses, so even before she could learn music formally, she had developed a keen ear for it. Performing at Under The Banyan Tree on a Full Moon Night, a concert by Teamwork Arts, she represents a new generation of vocal prowess from the acclaimed institute set up by her grandfather Vinaya Chandra Maudgalya.
For somebody who was born and brought up in this cocoon of performance haven, it’s ironic that Mudgal didn’t start learning music up until college. For many years she was a Bharatanatyam dancer who learnt under the tutelage of Leela Samson. But music was meant to happen, she feels. She pursued it in school but it was only in college that the interest truly blossomed.
“My father, Madhup Mudgal, has always been accessible and enthusiastic about his students. This attitude encouraged me to explore music more seriously,” says Sawani, adding, “What also helped was that he never pressurised me to take up an art form just because he was the doyen of a historic institute such as ours. This let me respect him and develop a natural affinity towards what we collectively stood for.”
For her upcoming performance, she has prepared small compositions. Raag Basant is one of them, in addition to Holi songs, and a few Kabir pieces. While rendering these, she has to remember just one thing to give a successful performance — ‘Sur sachai se lagana. Aage sab theek hoga’ (Execute your notes with honesty and everything will fall into place seamlessly). What this mantra pounding in her heart, Sawani will step on another stage, to leverage another opportunity so that she can traverse the possibilities that her medium has opened for her. March 16, at 7 pm, 1AQ, Opposite Qutub Minar, Mehrauli.