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Return of the classic

Will experimentation make classical music popular or is it just another passing phase? Mallvika Nanda finds out.

india Updated: Aug 24, 2006 15:06 IST

Indian classical music has finally hit the right notes. So when it comes to music from Indian shores, there’s more than just run-of-the-mill Bollywood numbers and fringe music. Thanks to its new variants, Indian classical music is back in the reckoning.

Mix 'n' play

Without compromising on the quality, collaborations with electronica, rock, jazz and various other forms of music are fast catching up with most classical musicians. So while Anoushka Shankar took sitar the electronica way with her Grammynominated album Rise, sarod brothers, Amaan and Ayaan Ali Khan explored the lounge vistas with Reincarnation. Following in their footsteps, santoor player Rahul Sharma, sarangi player Kamal Sabri and others too have treaded the same path. It’s the age of experimentation for GenX of classical musicians.

“Our experimentation with music has helped us pull the younger generation towards classical music,” says Amaan Ali Khan.

Sarangi player Kamal Sabri agrees, “Indian classical music doesn’t have strong a foothold in the international market. If it is blended with other popular forms, it may help popularise its base.”

Striking the right chord

But will this experimentation pay or will it spoil the essence of classical music? Sitar player Prateek Chaudhuri says, “Old is definitely gold and today we are trying to blend the two. But at the same time we have to keep in mind that such experiments don’t overstep tradition.” While few like Khans say the age of experimentation is here to stay, others like Sabri disagree, adding, “It’s a passing phase that will last till something else comes up. But undoubtedly it is playing an important role in building bridges.