Activities at WAI 2019

The Winter Arts Intensive (WAI) 2019 group was honoured with a four-hour workshop by Dr. Ojesh Pratap Singh, Professor of Music at Delhi University. Dr. Singh was accompanied by Shri Prabhat Rao on the harmonium, by Shri Rohit Kulkarni on the tabla, Shri Hariom Sharma and Dr. Tejash Modi on the tanpura. Dr. Singh sang several beautiful compositions on Brindabani Sarang, Raga Megh, Raga Maru Bihag and Bhimpalasi. Having trained under the Jaipur, Agra and Gwalior gharanas he provided a brief overview of what these three gharanas are and the differences between them. He emphasised the importance of prana and breath control, and taught the group how to extend one’s range. Despite being under the weather, he demonstrated a magnificent range, which he attributed to singing through his abdomen (and not using vocal cords), thereby embracing his natural voice.

The group also enjoyed an early morning vocal session with Smt. Pramodini Rao, Director of CNBG. She spoke on the journey from shuddha swara to siddha swara, and on how notes can be internalised.

A regular and favoured session at WAI with Shri Vijay Shivane, (former faculty of CSR at CNBG) was much anticipated by the group. During the session, he walked the participants through a composition of Raga Durga while providing an extremely informative overview of how to compose an aalap and other improvisations during a vocal recital.

Another wonderful session was conducted by Dr. Margaret Lobo, a Clinical Music Therapist from London. She beautifully explained the need for Indian musicians to know about the therapeutic uses of music today. Having lost her voice in her youth at the prime of her Opera career and having faced numerous other obstacles in her journey, Dr Lobo was an inspiration for overcoming adversities through patience and perseverance and for using those experiences to fuel one’s efforts in helping others.

One of the students, Divyansh, regaled the group with his magical talents. His repertoire spanned the whole gamut of magic tricks including card tricks, mentalism and hypnotism. The audience was amazed at his sleight of hand.

A participant from Holland, Mr. Bart Landstra, a corporate soft skills trainer, performed upbeat blues tunes on his harmonica, receiving a standing ovation from the listeners.