Video of a live performance of one of the most renowned Dhrupad singers of India - Ashish Sankrityayan - singing the evening Raga Yaman, late night Raga Malkauns and early morning Raga Lalit - accompanied on the pakhawaj drum by Pandit Udhav Shinde. approximate length 100 minutes
Dhrupad is the oldest surviving form of Indian Classical music and traces its origin to the chanting of vedic hymns and mantras. Though a highly developed classical art with a complex and elaborate grammar and aesthetics, it is also primarily a form of worship, in which offerings are made to the divine through sound or Nāda. Dhrupad can be seen at different levels as a meditation, a mantric recitation, a worship , a yoga based on the tantric knowledge of the nādis and chakras and also purely as a performing art portraying a universe of human emotions.
Dhrupad singer Ashish Sankrityayan is based in Delhi and has studied Dhrupad - the ancient North Indian court and temple music genre for nearly twenty years from various singers associated with the Dagar style. Based on his studies with many traditional singers of the Dagar vani, and his own researches on Dhrupad, Ashish has developed his own syncretic and highly eclectic view of the Dagar style, combining influences from many maestros he has studied from or heard.
Ashish Sankrityayan started his musical education at an early age - first learning the Sitar as a child and later vocal music. While studying Mathematics and Physics at the University of Bombay, he was inspired to start learning Dhrupad when he heard a recording of the Elder Dagar brothers singing Raga Darbari. He was fascinated by the depth and grandeur of their voices and their slow, majestic and contemplative style of singing, and started looking for a teacher who could teach him this ancient art. Over the next twenty years he learnt Dhrupad in the traditional way from many teachers, travelling and living in many places in India in search of various sources of this ancient art.
Ashish Sankrityayan was awarded the National Junior Culture fellowship by the Sangeet Natak Akademi/ Ministry of Culture in 2003 for pursuing his research in Dhrupad.
Ashish Sankrityayan started giving public performances of Dhrupad in the year 2000 after a very long period of study and has since then given over 300 concerts of Dhrupad in India and Europe. Notable among the many venues and festivals where he has performed are
Hanns Eisler , Berlin (2006)
Kronborg Castle, Denmark (2008)
Fredriksborg Castle, Denmark (2008)
Round Tower of Copenhagen (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009)
International Festival of the Voice, Wales (2008)
Festival of World Music, Bern (2004)
Esrum Monastery, Denmark (2007)
St. Ethelburga's, London (2008)
Landes Bibliothek, Bregenz (2003)
Synagogue, St. Poelten (2003)
Hitzacker Summer Festival Germany (2008)
Roskilde Cathedral Denmark (2008)
India International Centre, Delhi (2008)
India Habitat Centre, Delhi (2007)
Ashish Sankrityayan was also privileged to work for the Maharana of Mewar Foundation of Udaipur for the restoration editing and archiving of their collection of recordings of the Elder Dagar Brothers. The study of these archival recordings of these legendary singers was a transforming experience for him as a Dhrupad singer.
Ashish has a great interest in the theoretical and musicological foundations of Dhrupad and has taught Dhrupad and given lecture demonstrations in academic institutions like the Free University of Berlin, The Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin, The University of Copenhagen, Anton Bruckner University Linz, Hildesheim University.