What music defines Indian youth culture?






Ankur Biplav
By Ankur Biplav, Indian Musician

When we think of the music that defines our current youth culture, genres like hip hop, jazz and indie music come to  mind. We are living in an era of autotune and lip sync where anyone or everyone can become a singer. On the other hand, classical music is probably one of the genres which many youth would be least likely to identify.

But, the notion of youth towards classical music is changing. The young superstars of any genre of music are the icons for  society and so is the case with classical music. The young maestros are the icons for the youth. The young maestros, who not only are great performers, but are also imparting the rich culture and tradition of Indian Classical Music to the generation next.

Ustaad Waseem Ahmed Khan
Ustaad Waseem Ahmed Khan

Ustaad Waseem Ahmed Khan, who comes from the great lineage of traditional musicians of Agra Gharana, is one of the finest vocalist of Agra Gharana in the country currently. The musicians of the Agra Gharana play with laya, weaving in words, to make patterns around the beat. Khayal in the hands of the performers from the Agra School is a progression — from the abstract to the concrete and from the divine to the human.

All these can be seen in the singing of this maestro.He took his initial taalim from his grandfather Ustaad Ata Hussain Khan and also his father Ustaad Naseem Ahmed Khan. Later, he joined ITC Sangeet Research Academy where he took his taalim under Ustaad Shafi Ahmed Khan. Currently, he is imparting his knowledge of music to the future generation as a faculty at ITC Sangeet Research Academy.

Smt. Kaushiki Chakrabarty
Smt. Kaushiki Chakrabarty

The sweet, melodious and the divine voice Smt. Kaushiki Chakrabarty, one of the most promising classical vocalists of Patiala Gharana of this generation. The famous thumri of Patiala Gharana “Yaad Piya Ki Aaye”, Kaushiki in her unique style has not missed a chance to impress the audience with this thumri, whenever and wherever she sings.

She, born into a musical family learnt music under her father Pt. Ajay Chakrabarty who himself is a legendary vocalist. She, with her mellifluous and melodious voice and her mastery over various ragas has made the music lovers her fan across the globe. She is also regarded as the “torch bearer” of the Patiala Gharana.

A very rising Shisya of a very able guru, Pt Omkar Dadarkar shisya of Pt Ulhas Khasalkar are two such great musicians of the country who can sing the gayaki of Agra, Jaipur and Gwalior gharanas with equal ease.

Omkar Dadarkar
Omkar Dadarkar

Omkar Dadarkar was previously a scholar at ITC SRA and now he is also imparting his unique style of singing to the generation next. Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar has been awarded to him in 2010 for his services to the Indian Classical Music.

The Indian Classical Music is very unique. In order to truly appreciate/learn this style of music, one must have patience and a true love for musical prowess. For current youth, it’s a process to enjoy Hindustani classical music, and it takes some research to find the right songs and proper singers as well. The complexities of the art include the taal (beats), the thaat (notes specific to certain raags), and the coming together of melody, beats, and scales that take years – even decades – to master.

But, one must understand that there is no need to understand music as along as it gives you peace and happiness. There are many musicians like- Ankita Joshi, Arshad Ali Khan, Ritesh and Rajnish Mishra, Brajeswar Mukherjee who are not only great performers but are also passing the rich ethos and tradition of Indian Classical Music to the next generation. The time will soon come when people, especially the youth will have Indian Classical Music in their playlists. Because Indian Classical Music is not only a music to ears but also a music for soul.

To Conclude, Ustaad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan talking about Indian Classical Music said-“If in every home one child was taught Hindustani classical music, this country would never have been partitioned.”

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