Genres no bar


Her songs have the energy, depth and soul to stir one’s heart. Classical singer Shubha Mudgal is a known name among Indian music lovers. Not confined to one genre, Mudgal brought about a revolution in the Indian music industry with her popular track Abke sawan. Then as powerful was Manke manjire, and we have hummed along to Pucho na naino ke bhasa piya, and many more.

The versatile singer is in the Capital to perform at a fundraiser titled ‘A magical evening with renowned Indian musical diva, Shubha Mudgal’ at Yak and Yeti Hotel on September 19. Organised by Asman, the proceeds from the event will go towards the Mary Ward School.

You will be surprised to know that Mudgal started learning music only at the age of 17. Her parents, both teachers of English literature, were were very fond of music and they encouraged her to learn Hindustani Classical. “They gave me a huge exposure to different kinds of music. From them I learned to listen to, respect and learn music,” says this gifted singer.

Trained under Pandit Ram Ashreya Jha, Mudgal shares, “I was very fortunate to learn from him, and also lucky to get guidance from other veteran musicians.” Though she started learning music later in life than most classical singers, it was easy for her to commit to music. “I was so obsessed I did not feel any pressure. It was not an easy path, but I was sure about it.”

After her graduation, her mother advised her to take a year off from studies to think about her future in music. “But I did not need a year. Within a month I knew what I wanted, and here I am,” says Mudgal.

“I am doing something I enjoy, so it’s not a job. Though it’s a profession, it’s first and foremost a passion for me,” she adds. Despite having roots in classical music, Mudgal is involved in all genres of music and is a member of the band Koshish, which is an ensemble of musicians from different genres. It has the flavours of both classical and jazz music.

“My son Dhaval is a singer in a rock band. And though I am not an expert in rock music, I listen to it,” she says, adding if a good offer comes along, she would love to do a Nepali song.

Talking about her step into popular genre, she feels it has a totally different audience from that of classical music. “What I sing for the popular music audience is not classical. It has classical flavours, but it is popular music. And yes, this exposure has made me a household name with people recognising me on the streets,” admits Mudgal. She does not want to take credit for the success of her commercial songs giving all credit to the composers and lyricists.

After her marriage to tabala player Dr Aneesh Pradhan, Mudgal moved into a musical family. And she says, “Having a musician as your life companion is great. People usually say what you want to hear, and sometimes even more, but if I go wrong, I know he is there to tell me the truth. It’s great to have someone who encourages and inspires you, will not believe you blindly, and someone who will also not pull you down.”