Expressing abstract thoughts

Alisha Shinde
Friday, 10 August 2018

We catch up with artists, Bikram Singh, Mahesh Vinayakram and Aparna Gandhi, who will be performing at Osho Monsoon Festival, starting today

Music has the power to influence our state of mind; from mood enhancement and relaxation to having fun, music can do a lot. The five day Osho Monsoon Festival, starting from today, promises all this and more. Keeping in mind the teachings of Rajneesh Osho on spirituality and active meditation, the monsoon festival at Osho International Meditation Resort will attain a new high with its lineup of world class musicians gearing up to set your mind free. We chat with the artists — Bikramjit Singh, Mahesh Vinayakram and Aparna Gandhi — who will be performing together this evening. Their session is called ‘Bikram’s Dancing Flute’. 

Meditate through flute
“I was inspired and guided by my older siblings to follow music and fall in love with it along with football,” says Bikramjit Singh, who was born into the royal family of Manipur. He points out that he was a regular North-eastern kid who equally loved music and sports and thought it was a good idea to pursue them full time later in life. But god had another plan for him. He recalls, “In 1974, I met with a fatal accident which left me bedridden closely for a year and prompted my father to gift me my first flute. He said to me, ‘This is going to be your companion for the rest of your life’.”

Singh never had a formal teacher to teach him how to play the flute. “I just picked up the flute and understood the different holes that it had, were actually responsible for the different sounds coming out of it. I practised day and night and slowly mastered it,” he added. By the time he turned 13, Singh had started accompanying singers and musicians on tours and even played on All India Radio.

“I moved to Pune in 1989 and while I was studying at Deccan College, I realised that music was the ultimate calling in my life. I decided to pursue a full time career in music,” he says. In the same year, Singh was drawn to teachings of Osho and hence performing at the Osho Meditation Centre is something that is really close to his heart. 

“People who come there are a clean slate and they do not have any expectations. But as a musician, it is my duty to give my best to them so that they enjoy themselves and are happy by the end of the set,” Singh says, adding, “Flute is  very versatile and it blends very well with other international music instruments. It is the most simplest of all instruments and yet the most perfect one. Celebrate life and meditate through the magic of flute.” 

To watch Indian classical music grow internationally
Mahesh Vinayakram, who is the guest artist, will be at the vocals. Son of ghatam maestro, Padma Bhushan Vikku Vinayakram, Mahesh is one of the leading artists in the field of Carnatic and world music. “Belonging to a family of rich musicians, I have always known that my passion is music,” he says. 

The artist began his career as a solo vocalist at the mere age of 12 and had golden opportunities of getting vocal lessons from gurus like H Y Narayanan, O S Thiagarajan, Savithiri Sathyamurthy, Bhagavathulu Seetharama Sarma (Kalapeetham, Chennai).

“My dream is to take Indian classical music, which has strong roots, to the world stage and plant it amongst Western classical music and watch it grow. It has the ability to cradle a new idea,” he adds.

Mahesh, who is a UNESCO Millennium awardee and the first Indian male singer to be cast in cirque du soleil’s production, Luzia, says that his forte is contemporising classical music so that more people are drawn to it. He believes that Indian classical music has truly grown because of the boom of social media. “Social media is definitely playing a big role in not only taking contemporary Indian artists to the world but also the classical ones. This is opening new opportunities not only for artists but also for how music is being perceived,” he explains.  

“When it comes to performing for an audience who are extensively into meditation, the energy felt and delivered through music is unmatchable,” says Mahesh, adding, “As a vocalist, I know and understand how important self discipline is, which ultimately is reflected in the performance.” 

Spiritual experience
Odissi dancer Aparna Gandhi, who will be performing along with Bikram Singh and Mahesh Vinayakram, says, “It will be a spiritually transforming experience.” Gandhi believes that the concepts of spirituality and dance are very abstract and hence they cannot be confined to a single idea. 

“We need to bring new thoughts and issues through the way we dance which is something my troupe, NaadPune has always believed in,” says the dancer. Gandhi believes in innovation and exploration of classical dance by finding meaning behind the movement. “As dancers we want to create content led choreography which is relevant in today’s world,” she adds. 

Talking about performing at the Osho Monsoon Festival, she says that as dancers, there is a constant rhythm between their mind, body and soul.

“As performers, we know we might have an audience who may or may not understand Odissi, so it is a challenge to put up a performance which will be understood by all. Hence we have planned a contemporary issue with light and yogic movements,” concludes Gandhi.

- Bikram’s Dancing Flute with guest artist Mahesh Vinayakram and Odissi dancers will perform on Aug 11, 9.30 pm  
- Bhavya Pandit of Indian Idol fame will perform from 2.30 to 3.30 pm on Aug 12
- Flautist Milind Date will perform from 7.30 to 8.30 am and Aankh Micholi from 2.30-3.30 pm on Aug 13
- Avinash Jagtap will perform from 7.30 to 8.30 am and singer Rekha and composer Vishal Bhardwaj will perform from 9.30 pm on Aug 14
- Urja with Chintan and friends will perform from 2.30 to 3.30 pm on August 15

ST Reader Service 
The Osho Monsoon Festival will take place at Osho International Meditation Resort, from August 11-15

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