Our teachers and elders form the advisory board for this publication, and us students have the responsibility of sourcing, processing and presenting its content.
This space is an objective platform with no rigid affiliations of perspective, and we enjoy the learning that occurs through healthy reflection and discussion, profound or lively.
Our effort is to gather and preserve available knowledge and experience inherent in the work of legendary teachers, practitioners, and performers of Dhrupad, as well as, where we are able to find connections, other musical traditions around the world.
Netra Shyam is a student of the Gundecha Brothers. She has a postgraduate degree in English Literature with university gold medals and has recently completed a course on the Art and Culture of India from National Museum Institute, New Delhi. Professionally, she has over a decade of experience in design and editing of books, long documents and varied print media. In 2006, Netra went to study Dhrupad with Padmashri Umakant Ramakant Gundecha and was fortunate to live in the home of her Gurus and learn from them for an intense year. She continues her training in Dhrupad.
Janhavi Phansalkar was trained in Khayal by Vidushi Veena Sahasrabuddhe, and has now been learning Dhrupad from the Gundecha Brothers at Dhrupad Sansthan for the last four years.
Dhani Gundecha is the second child of the younger generation of the Gundecha family. She has just completed a BA(hons) from Delhi University and now continues to study Dhrupad.
We thank all our contributors for writing for the Journal. The names below are listed in alphabetical order.
Anjana Iyer has been learning Dhrupad from the Gundecha Brothers in Dhrupad Sansthan for three years now.
Ankita Athawale spent a decade in engineering and business and a few years dabbling in theatre before she was drawn to the study of Dhrupad. She has been learning Dhrupad from the Gundecha Brothers for three years now. She remains a regular, albeit visiting student at the Gurukul while she carves out a freelance career in creative writing and consulting alongside.
Bala (C.S. Balasubramanian) started his journey in music at the age of ten when he learnt to play the mandolin from Mysore Ananthaswamy in Bangalore. Bala was initiated into Hindustani music on the mandolin from Shri Harikishan Pahwa and continued to play the mandolin during his school and college years primarily as an accompanist to light music. Bala began learning the sarod from Ustad Aashish Khan and then continued his learning from Ustad Ali Akbar Khan at the Ali Akbar college of music in San Rafael. Currently he is learning sarod from sitar maestro T. Radhakrishna in Bangalore. Bala has been training in Dhrupad vocal with the Gundecha brothers since March 2014. He is also part of Sunaad, a musical performing group of Bangalore, where he sings and provides accompaniment on the sarod, rabab and mandolin. An electronics engineer, Bala worked in the semiconductor industry till 2014, when he decided to pursue music full-time.
Dr Bandana Malhotra is a medical doctor with a deep love of music. She learnt singing under Pt D.G. Marathe of the Gwalior gharana. She worked as a music critic for various English dailies, and was later the dedicated music critic of The Hindustan Times for a number of years. She lives in New Delhi.
Gita Shenoy is a special educator by profession and a serious student of Hindustani classical music by passion. She is training in Khayal under Smt Tulika Ghosh in Mumbai, and also receives instruction at the Dhrupad Gurukul, Bhopal, from the Gundecha Brothers. She lives in Mumbai.
Kamakshi Barley started painting in the early 1990s in watercolour in Indonesia, mostly still life of exotic fruit and vegetables interspersed with landscapes of Bali rice paddies and Borobudur temple friezes. Then came the light of Egypt and watercolours of the ‘Land of a thousand mosques’. Now it’s the wintry scapes of England as Kamakshi settles into life there. But what has always endured through the years is the love of the medium.
Murali Mohana Gowda is one of the few young rudraveena players in the country. He is being trained at Dhrupad Sansthan, Bhopal, by the Gundecha Brothers and in Calcutta by Pandit Asit Kumar Banerjee.
Pradeep Kumar Chopara has learnt Dhrupad from the Gundecha Brothers at the Gurukul in Bhopal.
Priya Krishnamoorthy lives in London and works for conservation in the philanthropy sector. She learns Khayal.
Sajan Sankaran graduated from IIT Bombay in 2013, and has since been studying Dhrupad vocal with the Gundecha Brothers, living most of the year at their Gurukul in Bhopal. His unique background with academia and music allows him to bring a distinct perspective in his work. Moonlighting as a writer, he has taken independent consulting assignments with various organizations. On behalf of the Gurukul, he has worked with multiple organizations including Sangeet Natak Akademi, Valley School (Krishnamurti Foundation of India), and Doordarshan to organize Dhrupad festivals and shibirs around the country. He has worked on collaborative arts exchange and theatrical composition with the Bangalore based ensemble Sva Collective. He has also given Dhrupad performances as an accompanying vocalist with his Gurus, apart from presentations at individual baithaks. Dabbling in music academia, he has been invited to present a paper on the Rudra Veena at the Society for Ethnomusicology’s annual conference in Denver, USA in October 2017.
Shilpa Shanker Narain is a student of Dhrupad since 2013 under the tutelage of Padmashree Gundecha Brothers, and their senior disciple Sanjeev Jha. After a time of academic pursuits, a scholar from Delhi University in Philosophy, Shilpa gave up academics for good in 2012 and immersed herself in the creative arts. After years of successful professional artistic endeavors, Shilpa now devotes most of her waking hours to Dhrupad and uses art as a tool to delve inwards. Her work can be viewed at behance.net/shilpashankernarain.
Shuchita Rao was born in Hyderabad to the late Smt. Aruna Varma who did her Sangeet Visharad in Kanpur under the guidance of the late Pandit S.S Bodas and the late Pandit Lalmani Mishra. Shuchita’s father, the late Dr. D.N Varma was a self taught musician with a great love for literature and music. Shuchita took training in singing Khayal and Thumri from several eminent Gurus and has been a student of the Gundecha Brothers for several years. A lifelong learner of the classical arts, Shuchita is committed to preserving and propagating the wisdom of Indian classical traditions in USA.
Suchet Malhotra is a percussionist and producer. As a child, he learnt tabla with Shri. Paramjit Singh and his guru Pandit Pawan Kumar Varma in Chandigarh. After his parents moved to Delhi, he was accepted as a ganda-bandha shagird of Ustad Chhamma Khan of the Dilli gharana, with whom he learnt for many years. After his guru’s demise in 1998, Suchet studied percussion—darbouka, didgeridoo, djembe, cajon, bongos and framedrum. In 2005, he went to Benares to study layakari on didgeridoo with Pandit Kishan Maharaj.
Sumeet Anand Pandey was born in Patna into an illustrious musical family, custodians of the centuries’ old Gauhar Vani Dhrupad tradition of Darbhanga Gharana. The maternal grandson of PadmaShree Late Pt Siyaram Tiwari, and great grandson of Bihar Ratna Late Pt Ram Prasad Pandey, Sumeet received music in the family legacy. He started learning Indian classical music at a tender age from his grandfather, Sh. Birendra Mohan Pandey and went on to complete Sangeet Prabhakar (B.A) and Sangeet Bhaskar (M.A.), both with first division from Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad and Prachin Kala Kendra Chandigarh, respectively. Since 2008, Sumeet is learning Dhrupad as per Guru-Shishya tradition from the living legend Pt Abhay Narayan Mallick, Sangeet Natak Akademi Awardee and top grade AIR artist. Sumeet has accompanied his Guruji for performances across the country to many prestigious music festivals. Sumeet also works to preserve, promote and popularise Dhrupad through the efforts of Pandit Siyaram Tiwari Memorial Sangeet Trust, that organises Dhrupad Sabha, a biannual Dhrupad Festival. He has an MBA degree and is currently pursuing a PhD in Management. He writes on Arts, Socioculture, and Communication and Symbology.
Tara Kini is an independent consultant in Education and Music and works with several reputed institutions in Bangalore, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Ahmedabad, developing curriculum, and training teachers and trainers. Tara has been a teacher and administrator in Mallya Aditi International School for twenty four years. She partnered in setting up the Centre for Education, Research and Training in the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology. She has trained intensively in Hindustani classical music, composed music for theatre, and directed music shows. She is the founder director of a music group called Sunaad that has presented over sixty shows of Classical Music across the country. She has taught in Stanford University and presented research papers on music and education in Sheffield and Helsinki. am currently learning Khayal from Vidushi Lalith J Rao and Dhrupad from the Gundecha Brothers.