MALAV PUTR Pt Umakant and Ramakant Gundecha

I always feel proud of being born in Malwa. This time, the divine theme of Dhrupad strengthened the feeling. Dhrupad is the most ancient style of Hindustani classical music that has survived until today in its original form. The Dhrupad tradition is a major heritage of Indian culture. The nature of Dhrupad music is spiritual. Seeking not to entertain, but to induce feelings of peace and contemplation in the listener.

Last month, Bhopal witnessed a great concert on Dhrupad. MALAV PUTR (The sons of Malwa) Pt Umakant and Ramakant Gundecha organized a concert in Bharat Bhawan to pay tribute to his guru Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar on his 75th birth day. Gundecha bros are such divine and high personalities that I don’t have enough strength and authority to say anything about them. However, as my tribute to them, I scribble a few words, on the basis of information compiled from different sources.

Pt Umakant and Ramakant Gundecha are India’s leading exponents of the Dhrupad style of Indian classical music, and are the most active young performers in that style in Indian and international circuits. Born in heart of Malwa i.e., Ujjain (MP- Central India), both were initiated into music by their parents. They received conventional university educations while also studying music under the renowned Dhrupad vocalist Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar, and also with the late Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar (the distinguished performer of Rudra Veena) at the Dhrupad Kendra in Bhopal under Guru Shishya Parampara .

During the celebration, Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar wished great divine success for his these renowned pupils , besides others. There was an excellent presentation of a poetry of Mahadevi Verma in Drupad style by the pupils of Drupad Kendra Bhopal.

The Gundecha Brothers have sung Hindi poetry by Tulsidas, Kabir, Padmakar, and Nirala in the Dhrupad style and have recorded more than 25 cassettes / CDs for big music sellers viz., H.M.V., Music Today, Sundaram Records, Rhythm House, Senseworldmusic-UK and some more international companies.

In addition to being an integral part of all of India’s prestigious music festivals, the Gundechas have performed along with Dhrupad Workshops at many important international festivals and institutions in USA, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, U.K., Norway, U.A.E, Japan, Australia, Singapore, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Thailand, Seychelles and Taiwan etc. . They received many Scholarship / Fellowship / Awards. At present the Gundechas are teaching in Dhrupad Institute , Bhopal (founded by themselves)to many indian and international students.

WHAT IS DHRUPAD – in brief

The word Dhrupad is derived from DHRUVA the steadfast evening star that moves through our galaxy and PADA meaning poetry. According to some accounts, Dhrupad was sung in the temples, the singer facing the divinity. From this early chanting, Dhrupad evolved into a sophisticated classical form of music.

It is a form of devotional music that traces its origin to the ancient text of Sam Veda. The SAM VEDA was chanted with the help of melody and rhythm called Samgana. Gradually this developed into other vocal style called 'Chhanda' and 'Prabandha' with introduction of verse and meter. The fusion of these two elements led to the emergence of Dhrupad.

About six centuries ago, Dhrupad came to be patronized by the royal courts and its complex rendering became intended for highly sophisticated royal audiences. The compositions became more secular. Some were written in praise of the emperors; others elaborated on music itself. However the pristine nature of Dhrupad survived and even today we hear this majestic form of music performed like it was more that 500 years ago in the royal courts of the emperors and kings of India.

However, thanks to the music companies who made the rare music available at reasonable prices. We could come across the divine waves and the singers. Thanks to Gundecha ji for running the Dhrupad Sansthan at Bhopal. I am almost mesmerized with Gundecha ji and the Dhrupad as the style fills in me a supreme divinity feeling.