Indian classical art forms often are subdued due to the quantity of appreciation they receive from mainstream audiences. Attracting a very niche group of listeners, the magic and mesmerisation of Hindustani classical music is largely ignored by most young listeners. The preconceived notion of boredom attached to the traditional art form seems to arise from the idea that the practice is ancient.
Breaking the barriers of age and pop culture, young Indian classical musicians are influencing the arena of Hindustani music while creating a space for future flag bearers of the historical art form. Producing music that can reach and appease younger audiences and acquaint them with classical music, these artists are creating an inedilible legacy.
I. Aditya Modak
A proclaimed child prodigy, Aditya Modak was introduced to the art form when he was 5 years old and trained under the tutelage of Pt. Chandrakant Parkar. Belonging to the Gwalior Gharana of Hindustani Classical music, he became a disciple of Pt. Pradeep Dhond and subsequently Pt Ram Deshpande. Given his dedication and abundance of talent, he received many scholarships like the National Scholarship, Sawai Gandharva Scholarship and Bhimsen Joshi Scholarship.
A musician by training, Aditya received the opportunity to play the lead in Chaitanya Tahmhane’s Internationally proclaimed movie, ‘The Disciple’. By putting out exceptional chota khayals and raags, the musician gives us a taste of how enthraling classical music can be.
II. Karsh Kale
Karsh Kale is an Indian American musician trained as a tabla player, who was taken on roles of a singer, songwriter and TV and film score composer for the duration of his career. With many notable achievements in his name, one of Kale’s most interesting and unique works is his incorporation of tabla and Indian music into electronic and dance music. As someone who has toured with Ustad Zakir Hussain and Ustad Sultan Khan, he has put out 6 solo studio records.
His more mainstream and popular contributions are his scoring and production of the 2019 Bollywood film Gully Boy and Karthik Calling Karthik in 2010, in addition to putting together six compositions for Coke Studio. With the expansive nature of the genres he covers from electronic, rock, hip hop, EDM, and jazz to Indian classical and Indian folk, Kale’s music pulls every generation into the music he puts out.
III. Niladari Kumar
Born to sitar player Kartick Kumar, Niladari Kumar started his career as a Hindustani musician at the age of four when he started learning sitar. He performed for the very first time at the age of 6 in Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry. With notable projects to his name like working with AR Rahman, Shankar Ehsaan Roy, and Pritam and touring with acclaimed artists like Zakir Hussain, Niladari Kumar is a legend, to say the least.
A musician with a sweet tooth for adventure, he decided to experiment with the sitar and produce music that has never been produced before. Unlike traditional sitar players, he decided to play his sitar in a manner that mimics the sounds of an electric guitar. This gave birth to Zitar, his version of a sitar that transcended into rock music. With over 14 albums to call his own, he is a pioneer in the revolutionising of classical music.
IV. Talvin Singh
A producer, musician and composer. Talvin Singh OBE is a trained tabla player who is associated with the electronica subgenre ‘Asian underground’. He started his journey as a musician as a child after which he travelled to India to train under Sangeet Acharya Ustad Lachman Singh Seen for two years as a 16-year-old.
As an artist passionate about combining the Indian classical disciple and western sounds, he became a fusion musician despite the initial backlash towards the idea from British and Indian producers. While being considered the father of modern Asian electronica music, he remains a renowned tabla player and this shines through in the music he put out. The genre and style of his compositions always amaze his listener and consistently adhere to his idea of incorporating Indian classical music into western pop.
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