One of the most ancient style of Hindustani classical music that has survived in its original form, is Dhrupad. The word Dhrupad is derived from ‘Dhruva’ the steadfast evening star and ‘Pada’ meaning poetry. The fusion of ‘Chhanda’ and ‘Prabandha’, with introduction of verse and meter, led to the emergence of Dhrupad. It has evolved through centuries in to an exceptionally refined, contemporary performing arts genre of our times.
One of the finest exponent of the Dhrupad, is Pelva Naik. Born in 1986, in Gujarat, Pelva was brought up in a family of artists. She comes from the eminent Dagar School of Dhrupad Music. She is one among the few of the youngest generation of disciples of Legendary Dhrupad Vocalist Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar.
In an interaction, Pelva spoke about the finer aspects of the Dhrupad.
The Art of Dhrupad Singing
“Today, Dhrupad, stands as the most advanced, exclusive and highly evolved genre of Indian classical music. The prime forte of the Dagar school of Music is creation of exceptional refinement of ‘Alaapchaari’. Along with gentle renderings of ‘meend’. It bears great adherence towards the maintenance of the purity of the ‘Raag- Swaroop’, reaching out to the finest ‘shruti bhed’ in a note, free flowing complex cross rhythms of ‘Jhala’ and distinctive rhythmic improvisations of the ancient poetic verses- ‘pada’,”
Sound and its purity and refinement is the prime medium in Dhrupad- and not the melody. The entire structure of rendition of a Raga rests upon the purity of the Raga. This sets it apart from the other genus of Indian classical music.
“Singing has been my most contented medium of expression since my childhood. I have always been deeply interested in ‘descriptive’ medium of expression, in a form where every small detail is explored, described to its most refined nuances and in due course is almost evoked to come into life. Dhrupad is that. So, when I heard my teacher Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar sing live and I began learning. It was like a rediscovery, it was like coming home,”
Voice as an Instrument
The Voice is the King- Said the Masters. In the Dhrupad, an instrument such as the ‘Rudraveena’ evolved through time. It manifested in to a refined musical instrument in order to come as close as possible to the voice.
“I think, a human voice is the most incredible instrument, as well as the most challenging one too. One is the most vulnerable when one is singing and so extraordinarily potent and powerful, all at once. Voice is full of possibilities. A voice is the most unprompted medium of expression,”
Taking The Legacy Forward
Art as a form is an eternal entity. It has been around for hundreds of years. The art will very well remain even after we are gone. Classical music needs a sensitive and liberal community of human beings. Individual and collective efforts in all manners towards bringing about such a society would definitely help take the legacy of Indian classical music forward.
“Exposing young people and children to the Indian classical music is essential. I very strongly feel that Indian classical music can best be passed on not through the western university system. It should be cultured, disciplined and nourished into younger generation in the home environment,”
“Being true to this art form, being true while performing this art form, being true to the teachings, teaching and sharing this to all those who are committed to be true to it is what I think would take the legacy forward,”