Female musicians take to stage

Apr 08, 2015, 08:00 IST | Soma Das

In its fourth edition, Saz-e-Bahar — Festival of Indian Instrumental Music will witness four female instrumentalists taking centrestage

Saz-e-Bahar was first held in 2010 to showcase the tradition of Indian instrumental music and its exponents. In its fourth edition, it will put the spotlight on four women instrumentalists.

Dr Sangeeta Shankar
Classical violinist  Dr Sangeeta Shankar

The line-up for the two-day festival includes tabla player Rimpa Siva, referred to as ‘the princess of tabla’; Anupama Bhagwat, who represents the Etawah Imdad Khani gharana of sitar; Rajrupa Chowdhury, an award-winning sarod artiste and Grammy nominee Dr Sangeeta Shankar on the violin.

Sitarist Anupama BhagwatSitarist Anupama Bhagwat

Dr Suvarnalata Rao, Head Programming — Indian Music, NCPA, says, “The Indian subcontinent abounds in a variety of musical instruments, and a considerable specialisation is displayed in instrumental usage.”

She adds that this edition aims to break the perception of instrumental music being a male bastion by highlighting the changing scenario of more female instrumentalists taking centrestage.

Tabla player Rimpa Siva
Tabla player Rimpa Siva

“The Indian instrumental music space has always been male-dominant. Until recent times, women instrumentalists remained in oblivion due to a lack of encouragement. However, the scenario is changing as more female instrumentalists are embracing the stage,” asserts Dr Rao.

Sarod player Rajrupa Chowdhury
Sarod player Rajrupa Chowdhury

Meet the artistes
Day One will feature performances by Rimpa Siva and Anupama Bhagwat. Siva (born 1986) was taught to play the tabla in the Farukhabad gharana style by her father Professor Swapan Siva and is the youngest performer at Saz-e-Bahar.
Sitarist Bhagwat has performed in India, USA, UK, Italy, France, and Brazil and is a disciple of Pandit Bimalendu Mukherjee. She explains that the challenge has been to not let external factors affect her music: “Apart from musical challenges, we also have to fight with other challenges like being accepted as a musician and getting enough concert opportunity.”
On Day Two, Rajrupa Chowdhury and Dr Sangeeta Shankar will perform. Chowdhury started learning the sarod from the age of five and has won several awards.

The fourth performer, Dr Sangeeta Shankar, is an Indian Classical violinist and disciple and daughter of Dr N Rajam. She picked up the violin when she was four under the tutelage of her mother. She shares, “Music has been in my family for seven generations. But being the daughter of a celebrity also came with a lot of responsibility.”

On: April 10-11, 6.30 pm at Godrej Dance Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point.
Call: 22824567

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