THEY PERSONIFY a soulful symbiosis. Their musical renditions can enliven a gloomy environ and spiritually soothe a depressed soul.
Clad in well-starched white kurtas, vocalists Pundit Rajan and Sajan Misra speak at length about their musical explorations, their individualistic style, creeping of fusion elements and other musical features.
Musical force behind them
We belong to the Benaras Gharana. Our father Hanuman Misra and uncle Gopal Misra were legendary sarangi players. All our ancestors were great musicians. We have a musical tradition in our family for the last 200 years. We started learning sarangi but our basic interest was in vocal music so we gradually moved into this area of music. Our grandfather Pandit Bade Ram Dasji performed our formal ‘Gandabandan’ ceremony but training came from father and uncle.
Experience with Benaras Gharana
Benaras Gharana is the oldest gharana. The musical heritage of Benaras is as old as it’s culture and history. The city is gifted with multi-dimensional music—Dhrupad, Tappa, Tarana, Khayal, Thumri, so much of diversity is not available in any other gharana. We are happy that the sanctity of the gharana is still alive.
Some memorable programmes
There are many but we specially cherish the one at Royal Albert Hall at London. Even the one at Kennedy Hall in Washington was very good. It was great to see that the Indian classical music had spread its domain globally. We even performed consecutively for two years at Theatre De La Velle in Paris.
Innovative trials in classical music
There is no need for new innovations in classical music. Indian classical music belongs to a great tradition. There are already so many raags and taals. We can make new compositions within the old raags. Indian Classical music is the only music in the world that has preserved its heritage. Raags created by our ancestors are immortal and have to be preserved.
Suggestions for bolstering culture
The Central Government should ask the multinational companies to earmark some amount, be it one per cent, for development of culture. This would spruce up the cultural map because these companies have a vision. True development will come only by preservation of culture.
Fusion seeped into our music a long time back, especially through movies. But the structure of fusion was good. The music directors took the fusion, filtered their own creations and churned out a mellifluous note. Today fusion is all about fast rhythms and obscene picturisations. This has unfortunately plummeted the sustainability of music.
We are happy that the Guru-Shishya Parampara is still alive in Indian classical music because there is no other way to learn classical music. The artistes still touch the feet of their gurus. We are very proud of the fact that this age-old tradition still exists in the classical music apparatus.
The greatest challenge facing the current generation is to imbibe modern technology while at the same time preserving their cultural heritage. It should be a ‘sangam’ of both. We should use modern technologies while not tampering the traditional heritage.
A lot of research has been done on using music as a therapy. We have seen it ourselves when Dr John of Munich University checked the blood pressure of his patients and then re-checked it after making them hear our CD. The pressure had restored to normal. A musical environ always creates harmony, so it is bound to have a therapeutic effect.
New albums and CDs
Two ‘Virasat’ CDs have been released in America. Many have been released on Times Music. One DVD has been recently released in France. We are however not very satisfied because all recording companies are dwarfing classical music as secondary music.
Qualities for a great artiste
Humbleness, humility and respect for elders.