Dhrupad Sisters Concert

Friday, September 20, 2019 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Gandhi Memorial Center
4748 Western Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20816

Gandhi Memorial Center

The Dhrupad Sisters Trio, comprising of Amita Sinha Mahapatra, Janhavi Phansalkar and Anuja Borude represents a very dramatic change in the journey of Dhrupad, the oldest genre of Indian Classical Music, as well as the Pakhawaj. While there has been a significant revival of both the arts, as a result of the consistent, dedicated efforts of many generations of musicians, both Dhrupad singing and the Pakhawaj were, nevertheless, dominated by male artists for a very long time.
In the recent years, we see a rising number of women performing Dhrupad in India and in the USA. Amelia Cuni of Italy (a disciple of the Late Pt. Bidur Mallik), Shanta Benegal and Annie Penta (both disciples of the Late Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar) are a few names of women Dhrupad performers.
The Dhrupad Sansthan, Bhopal established by the Gundecha Brothers has contributed greatly towards breaking the long-established image of Dhrupad as being a male-dominated art. The Dhrupad Sisters are an excellent example of the same. Amita and Janhavi have both been trained in Dhrupad singing under the tutelage of Pt. Umakant Gundecha and Pt. Ramakant Gundecha, while Anuja has been trained in Pakhawaj by Pt. Akhilesh Gundecha at the Dhrupad Sansthan. They have, as students and as individual performers, proven that women are equally skilled at mastering the specific techniques of Dhrupad and Pakhawaj.
The essence of Dhrupad singing is studying the nature of the notes (swaras) of the Ragas and exploring their depth through one’s own voice, carefully seasoned with specific principles of voice-culture. It is erroneous to believe that only male artists are capable of such practice and contemplation! Amita and Janhavi have both been trained in the same philosophy and have thus developed a unique understanding of each other’s styles, while they have both blossomed in their own ways under the able, nourishing guidance of the Gurus. Anuja, who plays the Pakhawaj, completes the trio. She is not only one of the very few female Pakhawaj performers in the country, but also the only female Pakhawaj artist to accompany Dhrupad recitals, vocal as well as instrumental. She complements Amita and Janhavi’s singing by providing apt accompaniment on the Pakhawaj, an art she has imbibed through the wholistic training imparted by Pt. Akhilesh Gundecha at the Dhrupad Sansthan.
Together, the three of them represent not only the expanding scope of Dhrupad as a performing art, but also the constructive change that women may bring about in any field viewed as a male-bastion if they are provided adequate opportunities. Amita, from this trio, has already toured the USA with Aliya Rashid of Pakistan, another student trained at the Dhrupad Sansthan, thus breaking the barriers of gender and nationality. The Dhrupad Sisters seek to inspire many young women who may wish to learn and understand Dhrupad and Pakhawaj and become part of this rich, evolving tradition.

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Admission payable at the door: $20