Music festivals introduce new artistes, different repertoire: Shubha Mudgal

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New Delhi, Sep 16 (IANS) Music festivals create more listeners and provide access to new artistes with different repertoire, says Indian classical musician and Thumri singer Shubha Mudgal, adding she does not subscribe the usual notions of purity in arts.

The 2000 Padma Shri awardee recently performed to a full house at Sahitya Kala Parishad’s Thumri festival.

Organised at the Kamani Auditorium here, the three-day festival had Mudgal present the musical forms of ‘Bol Banao Thumri’ as well as ‘Dadra’.

“It is very heartening for an artiste to sing not just to a packed auditorium but also have listeners seated in the auditorium lobby listening to a live feed from the stage,” the 59-year-old told IANS in an email interview.

Mudgal, who has also been associated with Goa’s Serendipity Arts Festival as a curator in 2016 and 2017, said she feels music festivals do popularise music.

“In general, I feel festivals provide sustained exposure to the arts annually, create more listeners, and provide access to new artistes and different kinds of repertoire,” she said.

“While the Thumri Festival is dedicated to the art of Thumri, the Serendipity Arts Festival is a multi-arts festival featuring both traditional and experimental arts in multiple spaces.”

But both are annual festivals that continue to attract audiences in large numbers.

Mudgal has been a student of Thumri — a blend of Indian classical music and folk narratives — for almost four decades now.

As a child in Allahabad, she began her training in music not as a student of vocal music, but as a student of the dance form Kathak which is also “inextricably linked with the art of Thumri”.

“It is from Kathak that I transitioned towards studying vocal music. The very first Thumri I ever learnt was taught to me by my guru Pandit Ramashreya Jha ‘Ramrang’,” she said, adding she started her Friday performance with a Thumri composition taught by her guru.

The “Ab Ke Saawan” singer later trained under eminent Thumri singer and guru Naina Devi. She ended her performance with a ‘Dadra’ learnt from her.

Emphasising on an interdisciplinary approach for studying music in India, she added that her gurus too guided her, “pointing out repeatedly that along with music, literature and poetry must also be given due attention”.

The singer said that Thumri was an important area of study and she continues to study this aspect along with music.

Mudgal does not subscribe to the “usual notions of purity” when it comes to the arts.

“How can music or any artistic expression be termed impure? The arts are dynamic and constantly changing and adapting,” she said.

(Siddhi Jain can be contacted at [email protected])



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