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Making sound music

The Svarpana meeting place in Lajpat Nagar could give you an impression of a regular music school. But it’s a rather serious (in a good way) gathering of some creative souls, writes Malvika Nanda.

health and fitness Updated: Sep 06, 2009 00:20 IST
Malvika Nanda

The Svarpana meeting place in Lajpat Nagar could give you an impression of a regular music school. But it’s a rather serious (in a good way) gathering of some creative souls.

Unlike any other club of like-minded people that meets once in a while, these guys meet frequently; that could even mean everyday.

While music may seem the most obvious and common thread, Svarpana touches several aspects of performing arts. It could be singing, dancing, choreography, storytelling and even poetry recitation. But the first thing that you notice there is the ‘apnapaan’ and at-home feel of the core members.

What they do here is help you find a platform, an audience and most importantly, the confidence. The head of Svarpana is Pavan Naidu, their guru and guide. Naidu has been a part of the music industry as vocalist, composer and instrumentalist.

He carries rich stories from the ‘hey day’ of the industry but strongly endorses popular, or ‘commercial’ music genre. Naidu says this, after all, is the genre that gets most of the public’s love and attention.

“Everyone talks of classical music and there are enough avenues to learn that too, but popular music is something very few will train you in. In the days of reality TV, one could get platforms but there are so many things one needs to know to get selected to any of these platforms. There are so many good singers but they may not be stage-ready or lack confidence in general. We tend to that, among other things.”

In close proximity is Jyoti, an MA in classical music, but family restrictions along with other things kept her away from her dream of singing. Now a few years old with Svarpana, Jyoti manages her family, her job as a music teacher and also lives her passion.

“Once my family and my in-laws saw me on stage in one of our shows, they were convinced and willing to let me put in my best. And honestly, we all enjoy being here so much that no one wants to leave,” she says.

Svarpana is funded by its members’ donations, since it’s not a commercial venture. And anybody can be a part of it provided they are strongly determined. Naidu lets in, “It’s not like a school where one can buy music education, a person must be committed and focussed like Eklavya. We’re honest to people if we feel they aren’t cut out for singing, but also willing to give them a chance if they’re determined. Lagan ko preference dete hain hum.”

Periodically, they plan concerts, recordings and informal baithaks that act like both incentives as well as examinations for members.

Sheetal Gupta, one of the oldest members, says dedication and consistency defeat all odds. “With routines and responsibilities people tend to put their passion on the backburner. My family feels very proud of what I do today. Apart from just following one’s hobby, here one also gets to know how one can turn one’s hobby into a profession. We don’t just practise theory; our focus is more on the practical aspects of performance arts. Some of our recorded CDs have got a great response and now some members even get requests to perform elsewhere.”

“Our latest venture is a musical on Meera, in which we’ll sing, record and produce the show.”

Beyond music, the group also has some amateur lyricists, storytellers and choreographers. The lyrics are polished and then set to tune on someone’s compositions and, of course, there are avenues to create original music.

Not only does that give the members a kickstart but also an experiential CV and the opportunity to make their hobby a profession if they like.

Renu Soni is one of the newest members of the group and their coordinator says, “I recently started a chapter of Svarpana in my colony and I was surprised by the response. There’s definitely a lot of talent around us and it’s great to see people’s faces when they feel it’s possible to live their passions.”

Svarpana can be contacted at svapan@rediffmail.com