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Vasant Valley                  2


The school was given a performance by Rajan and Sajan Misra as a  part of the Spic Macay program. Saloni Mira Rai and Akhil Wable had the opportunity to  interview them. Here is an excerpt from the interview.

Newsletter: Tell us about your career as a musician. Have you  ever wanted to do anything other than sing professionally?

Rajan Misra: Sajan and me were born in the Banaras Gharana. I am  a postgraduate in sociology and Sajan is a graduate from the Banaras Hindu University.  We have been touring overseas since 1978. We’ve performed in UK Russia Holland and  US.

We have never even considered any other profession. We come from  a family with a long line of musicians. We have been trained since we were little  children and we both still enjoy it immensely.

N. How do you differentiate between Gharanas?

RM. All ghranas have a different style of composition and  singing. But on the whole they are pretty similar and there is little difference between each  one.

N. What is the main objective of Spic Macay? Do you think this  objective has been achieved and to what extent?

RM. Spic Macay was started 18 years ago and has been doing a very  good job since then. We are actively associated with society. At first at our recitals  our audience consisted of older people but recently it has been encouraging t o note that  the youths of today have begun to appreciate our music and have started showing a keen   interest in our recitals. Our main objective is to spread the Indian culture among   the youth and to that extent I think we have been successful.

N. What do you expect from your recitals in such schools?

RM. We don’t have any expectations of our audience save  their attention, silence and discipline, which could be observed here today. It is up to the  youth to be influenced by our music. The choice is entirely theirs.

N. What are your views on the fusion of western and Indian  music?

RM. (With a Laugh) Fusion is confusion. Drifting from the  original tradition is fine – except, there should be a limit. One must not go beyond this  boundary. Music is sacred to us. It is after all from the divine and the Vedas. We are  proud to be Indians and this is because of our rich culture. We are appreciated more   abroad than within our own country. You can see people in Germany doing Phds in Sanskrit,  which will never be seen in our own country. If we need to prosper we have to learn to  respect and appreciate your own culture.

(On being asked about Talvin Singh) I have heard of him and  appreciate his efforts but he is earning money due to his own style and not due to our  culture.

N. What style of western music do you appreciate and are you  influenced by them in any way?

RM. I like Classical Western music. You’ll find 50-60 CDs of  composers like Beethoven Mozart Bach in my house. But they do not influence me. I  listen to them but only for pleasure. They were great in their own country and in their own  way and I respect them for that. When I went to Austria I made it a point to go and touch   Mozart’s grave and did pranaam. It is my dharma to acknowledge his  greatness. He used nature to give birth to music. I have been taught to respect all people of a  higher stature than me regardless of what their field, race, colour, religion etc. might  be. This is what we must teach our children. It is our tradition, which we must keep alive  and only then will we prosper.

N. Whom would you consider to be the greatest contributor and  most influencing musician of all time?

RM. our country has seen great musicians like Swami Haridasji and  Tansenji. There is no one great musician who you can pinpoint.

N. What message would you like to give to the people of India  through your music?

RM. India is a rich country where cultural heritage is concerned.  We must not lose this heritage and keep it dear to us. It is ironical that this culture is   appreciated abroad more than in our own country. We must rectify that and it is   essential that the youth of today knows his own culture and heritage and he respects it.

N: Thank you for performing in our school. We truly enjoyed the  experience and your music. We hope you will come again.

RM: Thank you. I have enjoyed myself today too.

Saloni Mira Rai

Akhil Wable

Class XI



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