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One for the Sarod

Pandit Brij Narayan, son of Sarangi maestro Pt Ram Narayan, is one of India's leading Sarod players. Having started his professional career at 15, he's performed at concerts across India and abroad and has even received the Presidents' Gold Medal for a contest in All India Radio. So now as he gears up for his new concert scheduled later this month at Ravindra Natya Mandir, Brij Narayan speaks on his passion for music:

Purist to the core
I teach a number of students, and travel regularly for concerts in India and abroad. In the past few years, my hunger to learn music has increased tremendously, and I practise for hours with my father, almost eight hours daily. Though I have been playing since 1967, my career actually kicked off in 1971, when I went to a prestigious international music festival with my father. 

Moreover, I belong to a family of traditionalists, who never compromised with music. Classical music is associated with the shastras (religious texts) and cannot be taken lightly. So, it is natural for classical musicians to have a great degree of dedication, devotion and sincerity towards the art form. They are taught to develop the right temperament before they actually learn the techniques. And I strongly believe that a musician should follow its discipline strictly. 

An evening to remember
In 1984, I went for the Etampes festival 60 kms from Paris. My show was scheduled at 8.30 pm. I reached early to prepare for the concert. However, suddenly I lost the mood to perform. Hearing this, my friend suggested that I have a look at the venue. I went out and saw a beautiful cathedral gleaming in the twilight. My spirits soared. So, I decided to play a raag for the twilight than for the night. The show scheduled for 45 minutes, whent on for two hours! I was in a trance. This happens only once-twice with an artist in his/her lifetime. And when it does, it's a blessed feeling.

My song list
I listen to all types of music. I love Begum Akhtar's ghazals as well as western classical music. Cricket is my favourite sport. I enjoy going on long drives and reading. I like to read the Vedas, Upanishads and various translations of the Gita. In my younger days, I enjoyed works of writers like Kamleshwar and Rajendra Singh Bedi.

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