Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh): President of India Droupadi Murmu will confer ‘Sangeet Natak Academi Award’ for the year 2021 to noted Dhrupad singer Pt Uday Bhawalkar during a ceremony to be organised at Vigyan Bhavan at 11 am on February 23. A selflessly dedicated Dhrupad Guru and a musician par excellence, Pt Uday Bhawalkar, who belongs to a simple middle-class family in Ujjain, was born on February 5, 1966 and is now settled in Pune. He has been responsible for the revival of India’s oldest surviving classical music tradition, Dhrupad, popularising and propagating it globally. In this field, his contribution has had a profound socio-cultural impact.
In this direction, the important contribution he made, mainly in the last 35 years, providing free music-teaching to many disciples, enhancing the art of talented Divyang artistes and also, this genre of music, in which women are still represented. Though negligible, the work of preparing promising women musicians can be especially counted. His name has become synonymous with the word Dhrupad and has been established as a unique powerhouse whose journey began as a devoted Dhrupad disciple of Allauddin Khan Academy in Bhopal and has brought the endangered style of Dhrupad to the world.
Pt Bhawalkar is one of the foremost Dhrupad singers and has been instrumental in reviving and increasing the worldwide recognition and popularity of Dhrupad singing. Representing his country in collaboration with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), he performed at the Salzburg Music Festival, Austria (2015) and established strong cultural ties by visiting Israel (2018). He was awarded with Kumar Gandharva Samman (2001) given by the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh in recognition of his outstanding art and works as a Dhrupad singer and is the youngest artiste to receive the honour.
He believes that when we are immersed in melody, our self disappears and the music comes into being. This is the principle of ‘philosophy’ in Indian ideology. Dhrupad is one of the oldest forms of North Indian classical music and he has maintained its grandeur, divinity and subtle spirit. Dhrupad is a vibrant and evolving classical music tradition, in which he has developed a unique style, deeply rooted in raga, rasa and bhava.
He has given vocal performances in Europe, the USA, Canada, Mexico, Japan and Singapore and has collaborated with artistes from many different cultures. Pt Bhawalkar is currently doing the work of music-composition and singing in Raag Malav of poet Jaydev’s verses with Maharaja Vikramaditya Shodh Peeth of the Madhya Pradesh government. He is also composing the music for the shlokas written by Adi Shankara to be sung in the form of Dhrupad. ‘I dedicate this award to the Guru tradition, Vidyadan from revered guru, and to the blessings of my parents,’ he told Free Press on the eve of the award.
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