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The revamped face of ragas

If rock music concerts are packed, so are classical music shows. Nairrit Das talks to a few doyens of the genre.

art and culture Updated: Mar 29, 2007 16:19 IST

Mention Indian classical music and Gen-Z can barely stifle that yawn. At least that is the general impression. Yet when the maestros play, tickets are sold out and the halls are packed. But when Ravi Shankar, Amjad Ali Khan or Zakir Hussain perform, it’s equally entertaining for classical enthusiasts and Gen-Z. Why?

Bickram Ghosh, percussionist explains, “It’s because these renowned artists have found a way to understand the next generation. They have brought in a change to connect better. Those classical artists who do not want to change their style fail to draw in the younger lot.” For wider acceptance, should Indian classical music adapt and evolve?

"I feel Indian classical music has always had an appreciative audience among those who understand it,” says A R Rahman.

One reason that youngsters continue to be drawn to classical music is the fact that their idols are into it. Says student Ronojoy Sircar, “I was never interested in Indian classical music till I heard JimiHendrix and Ravi Shankar’s performance, where the guitar and sitar clashed. I got hooked.” Another student Ashwani Bharadwaj wouldn’t mind going for an Indian classical concert.

And the young vocalist Dhaval Mudgal, classical singer Shubha Mudgal’s son, says, “I haven’t trained in classical music but I’m open to it. There is a huge audience for Indian classical music.. that’s why the auditoriums are packed.” Sarod player Amaan Ali Khan says, “A good marketing strategy always helps. It is very important to make your music a package."

"When I started I was not well received. But today my shows are house full. One has to strike a balance between music and performance.” Ask Wasifuddin Dagar, what the solution is. He replies,“Good music communicates and connects with the listener. Once the audience is comfortable with your work and appreciates you, they’ll always come back for more.”