They say fortune favours the brave. Now I don’t know if I am particularly brave but I certainly feel fortunate! In the eyes of some I may have abandoned reason for madness when I left my job at a top European hedge fund in 2013 to go to India to study an obscure form of Indian classical music. On the contrary, I like to think of it the other way round. Taking a step out of the rat race and into the unknown has led me to a pursuit which I find wholly fulfilling and gives my life purpose.
Being a second generation Sikh born into a European family I have naturally come to assess my personal relationship with the label “Sikh” (lit. disciple). For me the beauty of the Sikh tradition is the practice which lies at its core – the singing of poetry containing a universal message of love, unity and consciousness, through the universal language of music.
Growing up I had heard echoes that the Dhrupad style was one of the original modes of singing such poetry in medieval India. However it was not until later that I started to appreciate it.
When I first properly came into contact with Dhrupad music and my teacher to be, Pt. Uday Bhawalkar, I was stirred in a way which I cannot articulate effectively with words. The music took me on a journey whether I willed it or not. This encounter, with an art form of such depth and power, was to instill within me an unshakable motivation to learn this music. So it was that I left my job and embarked on the path of studying Dhrupad.
The decline of Dhrupad in the realm of Sikh music has also led me to pursue the avenue of research into the tradition of Sikh music in order to answer my own questions and understand why Sikh music has changed into that which we hear today.
Through this blog I hope to share some of the moments of my journey of learning and discovery.
To learn more about me as a musician, visit www.dhrupadhamar.com.