Two young musicians share their experience of taking part in Music India and playing in Milapfest’s senior ensemble, Tarang.
Raam Jeganathan – Veena
I’ve been part of Tarang for almost two and a half years, having been invited to join after serving as Orchestra Leader of Samyo [the youth orchestra]. Alongside playing a key role in the development of our new groundbreaking sound, a major benefit of the ensemble is the week-long summer residency (Music India) that we attend, where we meet some of the finest young talent in the UK, as well as world-renowned names in Indian classical music.
This year’s Music India really taught me the importance of understanding a gamaka (an ornamentation); to apply it correctly, choosing the right combinations and deciding when to blur them are things that require significant understanding. Sitting with H.N. Bhaskarji and then in the studio with Girishh (Gopalakrishnan) Anna really helped me digest this.
“…enjoyment out of confronting a challenge…spurs me on…”
Other than these stimulating sessions, performing with Tarang, Anil Srinivasan (Anilji) and Pandit Rajendra Gangani (Rajendraji) were probably my highlights of the week. Having known Anilji for a long time, been a fan of his work and grown up watching so many artists I look up to performing with him; performing with him myself provided the most amazing learning curve and opportunity. The week in general also made me realise how much enjoyment music gives me. Sitting in the most relaxed yet challenging sessions trying rhythmic improvisations with some of my closest friends was just pure fun. It’s definitely this enjoyment out of confronting a challenge that spurs me on as a young aspiring musician.
Looking ahead, I’m still thinking about what my future in music looks like. I’m still at university and really enjoy what I study. Ideally I want to make a mark in Chennai, perform widely, especially in the West and, if I’m lucky enough, play with some of the current Indian classical and contemporary household names and legends. But first and foremost, being good enough to deliver solid and consistently high-quality concerts is the most crucial step. So plenty of practice to be done!
Jasprit Kaur – Tabla
I have been a member of Tarang for just over two years, joining as part of the new long-term project directed at cultivating a fresh and innovative ‘Tarang sound’.
One of the things I look forward to most during Music India is the time I am able to spend with Kousicji. One of the most valuable things I gained from him was the refinement of my technique in practice and the focus on maturity of my tone.
The members of Tarang were also learning a lot from our endeavours as a collective. We are currently working on creating the soundtrack for a new Tamil film and this project has given us the opportunity to learn about the production and development of film music first-hand through the creative process.
“…were also learning a lot from our endeavours as a collective.”
An important musical moment for me was having the chance to sit one-to-one with and accompany santoor maestro Pandit Tarun Bhattacharya. Through this time together, I was able to gain invaluable knowledge, not just in music, but in performance and conviction.
To me, music is more than just expressing yourself: it is a way of connecting not only with others, but with our inner self and with God. Tabla has given me grounding and discipline, while also providing a break from the monotony of daily life and studying. The fact that music is a never-ending source of inspiration, challenge, and ultimately joy, is what I appreciate the most. Music is not like a book that you read and finish, or a painting that you create and complete; the learning process is endless. Development, creative and refinement goals that you set yourself during riyaaz constantly move. This welcomes self-immersion in the art form.
“Music is not like a book that you read and finish…”
It is my ambition to master the tabla – my goal is to learn and keep learning and developing in this art for the rest of my life. To become a professional and respected musician performing pure classical concerts internationally and especially in India would be an honour, but first and most important are practising and perfecting the skill. I also hope to be able to teach in the future with the same dedication and passion as my Gurus and Dada Gurus.