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Engaging a Musical Prodigy (Interview With Aarti Nayak)

Engaging a Musical Prodigy (Interview With Aarti Nayak)

Author: Rashmi Rao
Publication: Folks.co.in
Date: October 3, 2009
URL: http://folks.co.in/2009/10/engaging-a-musical-prodigy/

Trained by her father Pandit Ramrao Nayak - a Hindustani classical musician par excellence, Aarti Nayak, truly a "beauty with brains", is undoubtedly a rising star in the world of Hindustani Classical Music.

She has been recipient to several honours including: Sangeet Alankar (MA Music) from Akhil Bhartiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, Mumbai, Surmani award (2008) by the Sur Singar Samsad, Mumbai, Vamandaji Puraskar by Vasantrao Achrekar Sanskrutik Pratishthan, Kanakawli, Maharashtra, Best Singer (Hindustani Classical Vocal Category) in the National Youth festival, Trivandrum, Kerala, Awarded as Best Actress for Marathi Sangeet Natak by Maharashtra Natya Mandal, Sangli-Maharashtra, Has given playback for Screen Award winning Marathi cum Konkani Film "Savali" and has received a Scholarship from Government Of India - Ministry of Culture (2007 - 2009)

Folks Magazine's Rashmi Rao spoke to her recently. Some excerpts:

Q.: How did you get inclined to the music?
A.: I would say my interest for music began when I was in my mother's womb. And I don't think I am exaggerating, even a wee-bit, while saying that. When I was a baby, during my howls at nights, my mom used to play recordings of Pt. Kamar Gandharva and, according to her, I used to get back to deep slumber in no time. Till the age of six I never slept until I heard Kumarji.

Q.: Who discovered the prodigy in you?
A.: Naturally - my parents.

Q.: How did your journey in the area of music begin?
A.: My mother used to take me and my sister Keerti to music classes at the institute, where my father used to teach. I was four or five years old then. As soon as my father began his classes, I used to fall fast asleep on either my mom's or my father's lap. (She giggles) Then at home my mom used to make me sing all the basic Alankars and Ragas. This way my mother, Pratima Nayak, became my first guru. So I would say that I had my basic training under her tutelage. But my advance training in music began under my father's guidance which has continued uninterrupted till date.

Q.: Where was your first concert and how was the response?
A.: My First Hindustani Classical solo performance was in Goa, at the age of 10. I still visualize the day. I had sung Raag Jaunpuri. It went well with the music enthusiasts in the audience.

Q.: How many concerts have your delivered by now?
A.: I am afraid I have lost counts.

Q.: Whom do you accredit your success?
A.: I haven't had any godfather but that was aptly sufficed by grace of god, love, blessings and guidance of my parents. Support of my sister, who herself is a Sangeet Visharad but is a lecturer by profession, Keerti Nayak, is colossal. And, never the least, love and support by my well-wishers.

Q.: Who is your favourite singer/musician(s)?
A.: There are many. My mentor - Pt. Ramrao Nayak, Pt. Kumar Gandharva, Ganasaraswati Kishoritai Amonkar, Ustaad Amir khan, Ustaad Rashid Khan, Ashwinitai Deshpande and many more

Q.: Can you think of any momentous instance in your life which you may like to share it with Folks' Readers?
A.: I have always been a great fan of Ganasaraswati Kishoritai Amonkar. Since my puerility I used to yearn to meet her to seek her blessings. One day, when I was performing at Concert, I realized that she was sitting right in front of me - attentively listening to my performance. To my utter surprise, after my performance, she came to extol me with her compassionate words and gave me her blessings. That was truly a dream come true.

Q.: What do you think Hindustani classical music needs today?
A.: Indian Classical Music is a divine art form and to attain expertise in it requires true dedication and devotion - there exist no short cuts. These days, I feel, yearn for glamour and instant fame has confused the youth. Every other film star or pop singer is a celebrity and yet very few classical musicians attain the same status. This is a sad and bitter truth. We must know that India is a youth talent pool with prodigious potentials. I would suggest that Ministry for Arts and Culture should take giant steps and conduct more youth festivals of Indian classical Music which would foster the talents of the young artists.

These days we find many TV channels especially for film songs, news, sports, religious channels etc. But there isn't a single channel for Indian Classical Music in the country. I feel Television Corporations need to explore classical music in a better way. This would help the Indian artists to reach international audiences. In a world of computer revolution, I think the Internet is also an excellent medium to propagate classical music in a better way reaching the international audience in an easy and efficient way. A change in the attitudes of the audiences is also important. They should appreciate the artist's dedication and efforts who master this difficult art. Lastly, it's the responsibility of every artiste of Indian classical music not to succumb to short cut methods to step into the world of glamour.

Q.: Have you released any of your CDs?
A.: A couple of Konkani devotional CDs are released. I have also given playback for a Bi-lingual film Savali. (Film based on Indian classical music). I will be coming up with my first CD of Hindustani Shastreeya Sangeet somewhere in Jan '10. The work is on.

Q.: What is your take on life?
A.: Life is Bliss. I think it's a circle. We begin our life at point A only to come back. It depends on every person how he wishes to plan his journey, whether with resentment, fights, brooding over unhappy moments, or just by facing every challenge of life without complaints. I always believe, whatever happens, it happens for good. God knows what is best for you. He may not give you what you ask but you shall certainly give you all that you deserve.

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