Q. What is your opinion about the importance of technical flair of an artist in Indian classical music?
A. Indian classical music often referred to as an improvisation, goes far beyond mere spontaneous creation of musical thought. The player must first grasp the fundamental qualities of the raga (tune) using certain guidelines or rules reinterpreting the essence of the material into their own. That is why two different artists will render two completely different versions of the same raga while performing. Such liberty insures that the personality and skill of the player will always be at the forefront of a performance.
Q. In what way can you contribute to society?
A. I have been involved in playing a critical role to classical music over the last 16 years both in India and the West. Being a professional Indian classical musician, composer and rhythm artist my primary focus has been to create unique compositions, hosting collaborations and global fusion concerts with talented musicians from all over the globe. My aim is to promote Indian classical music in the West. I also dream to be a music educator both in India as well as in the United States where I currently reside. Zakir ji (Hussain) is of the opinion that I share the ‘musical lineage’ which has been the hallmark of the Punjab Gharana. I have been successfully working towards bridging cultural boundaries both through my original music, as well as through service to various cultural, educational, and charitable institutions in the West. As a music teacher and educator, I use my art form as music therapy in teaching various students suffering from cognitive or learning disabilities. I work regularly with Autism-related organizations and schools and help such students to be integrated with mainstream society.
Q. Tell us about your upcoming projects.
A. I am planning to collaborate with a few renowned and established music maestros as well as few selected young artists from India to form a fusion ensemble. The plan is to tour various cities globally and invite local musicians from those countries to participate in an orchestral group propagating Western and Indian music, which will introduce to various audiences worldwide the Indian classical music. Under the auspices of Rhythm Eternal I am pushing hard to provide a platform for conducting advanced master class workshops for tabla students in the US and I plan to invite maestros from India thereby providing Indian community students in the US a chance to learn from respected musicians.
Q. What would be your message for the future classical musicians?
A. I strongly believe that the play is His, the role is His gift and the lines are also written by Him. You have to act the part well and receive the approbation when the curtain falls-that is the meaning and purpose of life.