FIVE MIN­UTES WITH PAN­DIT JASRAJ

India Today - - INSIDE - —Itu Chaud­huri

Age and class were on dis­play in Pan­dit Jasraj’s suite last Sun­day: the Nadal-Fed­erer Aus­tralian Open fi­nal. Jasraj has been a wildly pop­u­lar star since be­fore Fed­erer was born, and is the old­est of the liv­ing greats of Hin­dus­tani clas­si­cal mu­sic. He turned 87 on Jan­uary 28, and, re­mark­ably, is still per­form­ing close to his prime. He spoke of his life in mu­sic. High­lights:

On be­ing in ex­cel­lent voice at 87

Mu­sic is yoga. It fo­cuses the mind in­ward. That gives strength.

On what he lis­tens to

Ev­ery­thing play­ing any­where: filmi mu­sic, qawwali, bha­jan. No con­scious choice, ex­cept when friends in­sist. Lis­ten in quan­tity, quality fol­lows.

On praise from fans ver­sus the ad­mi­ra­tion of peers

Au­di­ences praise with feel­ing, mu­si­cians with un­der­stand­ing. I re­mem­ber an old man in a dirty dhoti, tram­pling his way to the front row, and ap­pre­ci­at­ing the way I filled in a missed sam (prin­ci­pal beat). Or a lit­tle girl in a mandir I was singing in, scold­ing me for not suit­ing my mu­sic to the time of day.

On spir­i­tu­al­ity and his style

Ev­ery­one is spir­i­tual when they lis­ten to mu­sic, even an athe­ist [points at me].

On de­vel­op­ing in­di­vid­u­al­ity

A phrase which haunts and ob­sesses you; with time, it be­comes yours. Any­way, if you are proud of your gha­rana and peo­ple want to lis­ten to you what else mat­ters?

For the record

Jasraj and daugh­ter Durga sup­port Nadal, who lost. Fed­erer was “lucky”.

BANDEEP SINGH

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