As special musical guests of the Colleges, award-winning musicians Uday Bhawalakar and Pratap Awad will be on campus this week to perform an ancient style of Indian music known as Dhrupad. Their performance will take place at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3, in the Geneva Room of The L. Thomas Melly Academic Center, contiguous to the Warren Hunting Smith Library.
Bhawalakar, a singer and musician who has previously performed at HWS, will showcase this rich heritage of Indian music by playing the tambura, a traditional Indian stringed instrument. Joining him for his first visit to HWS is Awad, who plays the pakhawaj, an Indian percussion instrument with ties back to ancient times.
Attendees of the April 3 performance will experience Dhrupad, one of the oldest forms of vocal and instrumental Indian classical music, which links together a long tradition of Indian music heritage and culture. It is believed by many that Dhrupad originated from the chanting of the sacred sound, “OM,” and later, from the chanting of the Vedic scriptures.
Dhrupad music is a very involved style, taking its musical vocabulary from the raga music system, which functions in two separate parts, alap and bandish. Alap calls for the singing of syllables from Sanskrit mantras, while bandish is a short poem that usually is set to the accompaniment of an instrument called a pakhawaj.
Bringing years of expertise to the upcoming performance, Bhawalakar studied under the tutelage of gurus Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar and Rudra-Veena. When playing Dhrupad music, Bhawalakar is responsible for singing the alap parts. During his career, Bhawalakar’s voice also has been used for motion picture soundtracks. In addition to the recognition received for his singing talents, he also is an empanelled Guru at the ITC Sangeet Research Academy in Kolkata and has been regularly teaching there since 2012.
Leveraging his expert ability to play the pakhawaj, fellow musician Awad plays the bandish section of their musical performance. Awad learned from Pandit Subhash Maharaj Deshmukh, Pandit Uddhav Aapegaonkar and Pandit Vasantrao Ghorpadkar. Aside from his musical performances with Bhawalakr, Awad also has had television and radio appearances.