A bleed true Indian Classical Artist with Dhrupad running in his genes SUMEET ANAND PANDEY is a Hindustani Classical Vocalist from New Delhi. Having given numerous performances across India he has been working on popularizing Dhrupad style through his works, engagements.
Localturnon gets close and personal with SUMEET to understand his journey, fav moments and message for the young budding Artists. Below are the extracts of the rendezvous. Read on!
#localturnon: What is the history to your taking up Music – how did it come into being, your journey?
Sumeet Anand Pandey : I have been asked this question before and thinking about it made me realise, I did not choose music, but its the other way round. As I was born in Darbhanga Dhrupad Family, I grew up listening and learning Indian Classical Music at home from a tender age. Even though, I went ahead with formal education (MBA) and got a cushy corporate job, music always remained an important and significant part of my life. Whether it was in school, or college, or during corporate life, I kept singing as a soloist, or in a group or as a band member. It was in 2013 that I left my job and embraced Indian Classical Music in general and Dhrupad singing in particular, wholeheartedly. Its been a challenging yet fulfilling journey so far.
#Localturnon: So who are your favourites/icons/role models in the field of music?
Sumeet Anand Pandey: As I mentioned earlier, that I have sung various kinds of music, so even my favourites are not restricted to a particular genre. It is very difficult to pick a few names but let me try. In Dhrupad, I really like my grandfather Pandit Siyaram Tiwari, my Guruji Pt. Abhay Narayan Mallick and senior Dagar brothers of Kolkata Ud. N Aminuddin Dagar and N. Moinuddin Dagar. In Khayal, Pt. D.V. Paluskar, Ud Amir Khan, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, Vidushi Kishori Amonkar. I love listening to Ud. Salamat Ali, Ud. Bade Fateh Ali and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan of Pakistan. Among present day stalwarts I like Pt. Ulhas Kashalkar, Pt. Vyankatesh Kumar and Ud. Rashid Khan a lot. And, this is just about a few names in vocal music, likewise there are many more in Instrumental music, I can go on and on (laughs)…In Film music, I really like Md. Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle and lately Shankar Mahadevan, Hariharan and Arijit Singh. I love ghazals sung by Mehndi Hasan a lot. There are some Indian and Western popular music artists/bands too, but I think we should go to the next question now (laughs)
#Localturnon: How do rejuvenate your creative insights / get the adrenalin going?
Sumeet Anand Pandey: There is no fixed ritual. I think I get going with general happiness in life. I cannot be low and grumpy for long. Living a healthy life, good food, holidaying with my wife, spending time with family and loved ones makes me happy and motivates me to work. I also get inspired by listening to all my favourite artists (mentioned above and many more), Reading about iconic musicians, their work and lives gives me a kick. I believe I have a good observation and I also get ideas from things around me.
#Localturnon:Does your Music carry a message / a theme or a story ..if so can you share more on it.
Sumeet Anand Pandey : Indian Classical Music or for that matter any music is a form of expression. So feelings are bound to be there. And, once feelings are present, some or the other message will be communicated. Lyrically, it is more pronounced in AntarDhvani songs (a Hindi Contemporary band I had co founded with my college friends), where we have songs on communal harmony, other one on consumerism, another one on state of mind and so on. It may be a little less overt in Indian classical music, especially for untrained ears, but feelings and emotions are there. And, they help me connect better with my audiences and communicate with them. Technicality alone or feelings alone won’t take you far. It has to be a combination.
#Localturnon:Of all the performances you’ve given, which is your favourite one and why?
Sumeet Anand Pandey: It is difficult to choose one. I can recall two. First, was my solo debut as Dhrupad vocalist and Guruji was in attendance. I was nervous, however after the recital everyone was full of praise and some people expressed that they wished if i had continued for longer. I was eager to hear Guruji’s remarks, however, for him it was just about an OK performance, ‘fine for first time’ types. Couple of years later, I was to accompany Guruji on Tanpura and vocal support sitting behind him on stage in Dhrupad Mela, Varanasi. Chief guest Kashi Naresh was sitting in front row. As we went on stage, Guruji made me sit by his side and said, ‘You have to do most of the singing today, as I am not feeling too well’. I was both thrilled and nervous. After the recital, he turned towards me and said, ‘Today, you sang well’. I could not sleep on that night:)
#Localturnon:Do you have any interesting fan stories to tell?
Sumeet Anand Pandey: (smiling) I was performing at Delhi Youth Festival with my band AntarDhvani at Rajiv Chowk, Connaught Place. And, after sound check when we were waiting backstage, a boy came and asked for my autograph saying it was for the first time he had asked for an autograph. Signing my first autograph, I said it was a first for me too. We are still in touch as friends on Facebook. Recently, I travelled to Dharwad to perform in a music festival organised in memory of Pt. Bhimsen Joshi at his birthplace, Gadag. After my recital, some members of the audience came to meet me and said that they have known about Dhrupad but had never before heard it live. And, they were very happy to see a young man pursuing Dhrupad, the oldest surviving genre of Indian Classical Music.
#Localturnon:Of all the music you’ve created, which is your favourite one and why?
Sumeet Anand Pandey: If it is about my own creation, it has to be AntarDhvani songs, which I wrote and composed with my friends. It was a fun and organic process and we thoroughly enjoyed making and playing them. As a classical musician, I am busy learning and practising traditional compositions passed on to me by Guruji. I am far from making my own compositions, I am still learning. But I know I will do it one day (smiles)
#Localturnon:Can you share about some funny incident that happened on-stage / during performance / with you or the other artists / stage members?
Sumeet Anand Pandey: One incident that is coming to my mind right now is not actually a stage moment, rather a studio experience. I was in Mumbai to record for my Bollywood debut, a Sufi number with elements of Dhrupad by composer Amit Mishra for the movie Guest in London. We had recorded most of the song earlier, but the director of the movie wanted a couplet added in the end to compliment the visuals. I took an early morning flight from Delhi and went straight to the studio. Amit had ordered some amazing Biryani and I was so famished that I overate, after which I could barely sing. It was as embarrassing as funny. We recorded later at night after a power nap during the day. Those lines came out particularly well. Good food is a weakness of most musicians, I feel. (laughs). Its true!
#Localturnon:How has the musical journey been so far for you and what are you looking forward?
Sumeet Anand Pandey : As I said in the beginning, it has been an enriching and fulfilling journey so far. I simply could never ever have planned this on my own. It is happening to me and I can only thank the almighty. I don’t miss the life I left behind and god has been kind to me. I get support from all corners including family, Guruji, friends and well wishers. I want to take Indian Classical Music, particularly Dhrupad style to more and more people. And, I want to make people understand its true meaning and realise its full potential. It is not a restricting genre as many misunderstand, it is a highly evolved and sophisticated complete music system. Also, I want to be a versatile artist.
#Localturnon:Do you have any words of advice for youngsters who are thinking of getting into this line ?
Sumeet Anand Pandey: Another tough one, especially being a young musician myself. Well, one thing that is worth mentioning and highlighting is patience and perseverance. Keep at it. Today, I am a performing artist of Dhrupad, after 10 years of dedicated training and practice as per Guru-Shishya system. And, it continues. If I had thought about these 10 years when I started, I would never have begun. Listen to your calling and set out on the right path. After that its one step at a time. Enjoy the journey. I know its too much gyaan, but its heartfelt.
You can also follow SUMEET ANAND PANDEY on
Guest in London-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxJRf424xE8
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