Indian Classical music dates back to an ancient era, with mention of it in the Vedas, the oldest scripture of Hinduism. Classical music has traversed several centuries, and though it has witnessed many changes in its course, traditional forms are still alive retaining their essence.
Innumerable musicians have strived to keep this music alive and even today, several young musicians are practicing and performing traditional classical forms to ensure coming generations are able to get a glimpse into the wonderful and joyous world of Indian music.
Saz-e-Bahar is a two-day music festival with a similar aim — to introduce audiences to the beauty of Indian classical music using traditional instruments. The festival, kickstarting today, is being hosted by the NCPA and will feature Aditya Kalyanpur (Tabla), Rupak Kulkarni (Bansuri), Murad Ali (Sarangi) and Kushal Das (Sitar).
“The first classification of musical instruments happened in India,” says Dr Suvarnalata Rao, head programming, Indian Music, NCPA. Dr Rao will share such interesting facts at pre-event talks that will be held on both days of the festival, focusing on the history and importance of Indian classical instruments. She adds that music found mention in Bharata’s Natyashastra, which dates back to 200 BC.
“Bharata has spoken about the instruments in great detail. Even in the Mahabharata, musical instruments have been mentioned,” she adds. According to her, festivals like Saz-e-Bahar help encourage Indian musical instrumentalists, their music and Indian classical music on the whole.
Tabla player Aditya Kalyanpur, who will be performing today, feels that such festivals are an amazing way to promote and encourage classical music among youngsters. “Though Classical music has a niche audience, it should be promoted among people who do not know about it. The common man should come; music is to be felt and experienced and everyone should experience it,” believes the 33-year-old musician. Sarangi player Murad Ali, adds that this event offers instrumental music a great platform. “Where many instruments are used as accompaniments for vocals, it is great that here instruments like the tabla and sarangi are getting a solo stage,” he says.
The other important aspect of this festival is that every performer is a young musician. “When the young audience sees youngsters on stage they also feel encouraged to take up classical music,” shares 35-year-old Murad Ali. He feels that the number of young musicians is on the rise as also is the number of youngsters wanting to learn musical instruments. Kalyanpur adds, “I keep getting an increasing number of calls from people who want to learn from me.”
He also runs a foundation that provides a platform to young artists. “I feel there is a lot more exposure now and people are listening to all kinds of music including classical music,” he says. “Event and festival organisers need to give more youngsters a platform to perform and showcase their talent,” summarises Ali.