Indian classical music continues to thrive with culturally-rich shows across the world.
Two forthcoming concerts to look out for in the UK sees one of India’s leading sitar players, Anupama Bhagwat team up with British tabla maestro Gurdain Rayatt.
Musical virtuoso Anupama is widely admired for her versatility and is looking forward to returning to the UK stage.
Eastern Eye caught up with Anupama ahead of the concerts to talk about music, inspiration and performing live.
What first connected you to music?
It was the musical environment at my home, where I woke up to listen to some or other form of classical-semi-classical music every day. That led to a desire to reproduce the songs that I would like. So that’s how I first got connected to music.
Tell us, what led you towards the sitar?
First, I learned the violin as my father plays the instrument as a hobby. My uncle played the sitar and when I was about nine years old, one day, my uncle just decided to gift me his sitar. (Smiles) And the sitar chose me.
How would you describe your classical musical journey?
My journey in the realms of classical music so far is extremely inspiring and enjoyable. Sometimes it’s like I am diving down in the deep ocean and unravelling the beauty every minute. And sometimes it’s like I am flying in the vast space and discovering galaxy after galaxy.
How much does performing live mean to you?
I feel that live performances, especially of classical music, are extremely important given its improvisational aspect. To be able to traverse in the raga while connecting with the audience is a beautiful journey in itself. The music is happening through me and for my inner self, but the audiences are creating the vibrations for that. I firmly believe that live concerts play a very important role in my growth as a musician.
Tell us about your forthcoming UK performances?
I am really looking forward to my performances in the UK. I am working with two new promoters this time, one is Asian Arts agency and the other is New Arts exchange. This will be my fourth concert trip in the UK and I am working with Gem Arts and Darbar festival for the second time in this trip after the 2013 concert tour.
What is the secret of a great live performance?
I believe it is to be in the moment and to surrender to music. To be a good medium for music to happen through you is the secret. Of course, some other factors such as good sound, good acoustics and good audience play some role too.
You have become a music hero, but who is your own musical hero?
It would be my guru (Acharya Bimalendu Mukherjee), who is always my inspiration. I do have my favourites such as Ustad Vilayat Khan, Pandit Budhaditya Mukherjee, Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and many more.
What inspires you?
Anything beautiful I see, hear, feel and can create inspires me.
Why do you love music?
I wish there was an answer. Isn’t it obvious to love something as beautiful as music?
Anupama Bhagwat and Gurdain Rayatt perform at St George’s in Bristol on September 8 and Town Hall in Glastonbury on September 9. www.asianartsagency.co.uk