The Week, February 2012
I always look forward to performing in Mumbai’s St. Xavier’s college music festival. The Festival, which is now known as Jan fest takes place every year towards the end of January. It is special for me because I along with Zakir Hussain performed at the inaugural concert in the year 1975. At that time they called the team Indian Music Group or IMG. I miss the presence of Chandu Kapadia and Trilok Telang, old group of students at St. Xavier’s. I also remember Father Alvares’s, the principal of the college at that time. I was so touched and moved to see the involvement of the students and the entire members of staff including the present father, when I performed at the festive this year. The most satisfying aspect is of course that everybody buys tickets for three days. I concluded the festival. Along with St. Xavier’s Festival, Kolkata hosted its oldest music conference, Dover lane Music Festival. Back in the day, music festivals were called conferences in Bengal. After many years, I chose to perform in the evening of the second day at the Dover Lane Festival as opposed to concluding the festival. My older son Amaan, played a day after me at the same festival. For five days, this Festival is always a sell out!

Last month a new instrument was born called Erod, an instrument which I’d like to call an extension of the Sarod. My older son Amaan has been working towards an Electronic Sarod so as to achieve a new sound for his concerts where there was a struggle with other forms of sound textures. The acoustic Sarod cannot break certain sound barriers at certain experimental concerts especially with drums and guitars so this is indeed a dream! The Erod has been designed by the young instrument maker Sanjay Sharma. Cutting edge design and master-luthier craftsmanship are uniquely combined to create a Sarod that offers outstanding playability matched with incredible practicality. The electronic Sarod helps sound output at concerts. I feel very happy and proud that in spite of Amaan and Ayaan’s experimental journey, they are very proud to be Indian Classical musicians and see the EROD only as a ‘musical flirtation.’ It is heartening to see the growing interest, especially among the younger generation, in Indian classical music. Young people should experience all kinds of music but on a moderate volume. From my young days, I use to accept invitations to perform in prominent Schools and Colleges of India. It is my appeal to all the Colleges and Schools of the World to invite musicians directly. In fact that is most satisfying for any creative artist if they are invited by the educational institutions. My recent performance in IIT in New Delhi was a great experience.

I have always admired the European system of music. In fact, all my past residencies in Universities have had students of western classical music learn our musical way of life. In fact, the name of the course of my residency at Stanford this spring is called Classical Music: A Way of Life. My aim is to teach student musicians, to perform and appreciate Indian Classical Music, and shares my own experiences as a classical musician raised in the traditional system of music discipleship. My past residencies at York University in UK, Washington University in Seattle and Stony Brook University in New York are open to students of all instruments and from any musical tradition. No previous experience with Indian music is necessary.