I’m getting geared up for another round of Dhrupad Days 2018. I’m so excited to see my Gurus and have them at my home and my university. They are such a blessing to the world of music and humanity. For more information see the page above and sign up, but do it soon, spots are limited and filling fast!
As I type this I’m listening to my Guruji’s remarkable recording of Raag Darbari. Darbari is a majestic, serious, evening raga, with much pathos and a sense of longing. This music continues to inspire me year after year, decade after decade. It is truly one of the great achievements of the human race.
Gundecha Brothers will be here in North Jersey in June. If you want to learn from them please go HERE to register for the three-day seminar. Beginners are most welcome.
This June I will be hosting a Dhrupad Days with my amazing Gurujis, right here in North New Jersey at William Paterson University in Wayne. Information is HERE.
I’m a very lucky man, indeed. This month Branan Silvius Dubh is here in the U.S., living in our upstairs room. We’re doing riaz (practicing) together every day, and we just performed our first concert together a few days ago. Branan is a senior student of Gundecha Brothers and an amazing singer. His voice is silky smooth and he blends with the tanpura (the drone instrument) in the most lovely way. He’s been studying Dhrupad much longer than I have and has a very deep and heartfelt knowledge of the music. Every time we sit down to sing it’s essentially a lesson for me. I’m listening hard and doing my best to learn as much as I can from him.
The first concert was a success. Now we embark upon a real vocal adventure, with a string of concerts in a row. Six concerts in seven days to be precise. I’m excited to share this wonderful music with our audiences here in the U.S. I’m grateful to Branan for being so generous with his knowledge. I’m also grateful to our Gurujis for everything they’ve taught us and to the Dhrupad Music Institute of America for their support of the tour.
Please see the schedule page for more information. I hope to see you at some of our shows!
The month of August has been an intense period of riaz, or practicing. I’ve been in Bhopal, M.P., India, staying at my Gurus’ Dhrupad Sansthan, practicing from 5:30 a.m. to about 10:00 p.m. every day. Spending time with Gurujis has been revelatory. As always, they are pushing me to listen harder, focus my mind better, and stay in tune. The tuning is an especially deep subject. It’s more than just finding the correct the frequency. It is a relationship with the tanpura (the drone instrument we use in Dhrupad) that extends from pitch precision outwards to mind-body connection, to really listening to the way our voices merge and blend and speak, not just with the tanpura, but with each other and ourselves, and with the world at large. I’m missing my family and looking forward to seeing them next week, but I’m also cherishing every moment that I’m here, going deeper into naad, or the yoga of sound.
I have some nice singing opportunities ahead of me. On April 8 I’m singing some Dhrupad at the Wayne Public Library with my friend and colleague Dibyarka Chatterjee. Dibyarka is Pandit Samir Chatterjee’s son. Samir-ji is one of the top tabla drummers in the world, and also an inspiring composer, teacher, and impresario. He has been a major inspiration for me for many years and even though I never studied tabla with him (because I was studying with Pandit Sharda Sahai), Samir-ji’s deep musicianship and beautiful spirit have always inspired me. Dibyarka takes after his father and is a wonderful young man who plays tabla very, very well. I’m honored that he is joining me for this concert and I hope it is the first of many to come.
Then, on April 26 I’ll be singing my Dhrupad trance music at the Shastra Festival. I am the Co-Artistic director of Shastra and I’m very honored to share the stage with some incredible musicians, including Rajna Swaminathan, Michael Harrison, Rez Abbasi, and many other top artists. I hope to see you all there.
On May 3 I’m planning another midnight show at William Paterson University of my Dhrupad trance music. Stay tuned for details about that . . .
Then, on May 16 I will be in Seattle for a week as part of the Dhrupad Days of Seattle. My beloved Gurujis the Gundecha Brothers will be there performing, as well as Pandit Uday Bhawalkar. I am also singing a concert and presenting a lecture on Indian/Western fusion music. It is my greatest honor to sing with Gurujis and Uday-ji in the audience. I’m praying for the strength to be strong and honor the teaching they have generously bestowed upon me.
Finally, on May 23 I will present a Naad Yoga and Dhrupad concert at Yoga Montclair. More details about that later . . .
Ah, Mother Nature! You decided to unleash one more big snow storm on us here in the Northeast. The university closed down and the concert was cancelled. Unfortunately the next full moon night in April isn’t the best night for me in terms of scheduling, so we’ll have to make this concert up this coming week on a different night. But what can we do? It’s Mother Nature. She’s in charge!