A Homegrown Artist Reviving The Baithak Tradition Of Hindustani Music

Akanksha Grover
Akanksha GroverAkanksha Grover

The music scene in our country is thriving. With access to lightning-fast internet learning music or in fact, any form of knowledge is at our fingertips. The proliferation of social media culture and streaming platforms has also made it easier for local and independent artists to spread their music even without the backing of big-shot recording labels. Pop and electronic music are flourishing more than ever. Musicians are experimenting with new forms of music, sound design, and audio projects. Music production, software, DAW, audio interface, low-fi, etc. are the buzzwords of today’s music industry.

In this day and age when music is moving at par with the rapid pace of the world’s modernization, there are few young artists who still seek to bring back the old-world charm of Hindustani classical music. Today, Homegrown is featuring budding independent artist, Akanksha Grover, a trained Indian classical musician, reviving the vintage charm of Indian music baithaks. In a country where Bollywood, pop, and Western music dominated a listener’s playlist, Grover is shedding the typical notions of how the industry perceives a musician.

The tradition of Baithak in Hindustani Classical music involves the artists and the listeners coming together in an informal setting in a relatively small closed space. It is considered the purest form of musical performance as per the traditions of Hindustani Classical music. The idea is that the listeners get a pure and untempered taste of music, from close quarters. For centuries, several great performances by legendary artists have taken place in such baithaks where listeners were treated to great music. The setting is rewarding for the artists as well as they can interact directly with the audience. Spontaneous and unbridled ‘aahs’ and ‘waahs’ emanate from the audience as the artist reaches the crescendo or strikes an interesting note— leaving a very fulfilling and inspiring effect on the artist as well. However, especially over the last decade, the tradition of baithaks has witnessed a sharp recline. Organizing a baithak is becoming a rare affair.

Akanksha Grover is this generation’s flagbearer for the baithak tradition. Her love affair with music started at the ripe age of seven, and her first role model was her mother. Akanksha enjoyed listening to her mother singing bhajans every day which intrigued her to sing along with her. This innocent mother-daughter everyday ritual eventually paved the path for her undying love for music. She met her first guru when she was in the 6th standard, and over the course of the next six years, she learn the nuances of Indian classical music from him.

In her teenage years, she delved further into the world of Indian classical music. Alongside, Akanksha kept on winning many city competitions such as Faridabad Idol, Voice of Faridabad, and many more such competitions. During her her graduation days from Kirori Mal College, she continued demonstrating her skills as part of the college music society- MUSOC. Her life completely turned around when she took the decision to pursue her Master's in Hindustani Classical Music Vocals — a landmark decision that changed the course of her life. She met her now Guru with under she has been learning for more than six years.

Akansksha Grover has come up with an interactive musical show with a maximum of 50-60 attendees called Baithak by Akanksha. The show focuses on music and highly interactive communication between the artist and the audience. In a short span of a few months only, she has performed multiple shows across different cities in the country. She has successfully created a niche for her music through her soulful performances. Akanksha believes in spreading her music education to the ones who are equally interested and invested to take the legacy ahead. She has been tutoring many talented students and aims to open her own offline and online institute to teach music.

Akansksha is one of a kind talent and is a beacon of light for the forgotten legacy of the baithak tradition.

Here's one of her performances:

You can find out more about Akanksha here.