The foundational basis of the Warkari tradition lies in channeling divinity through the power of music. It is a devotional musical tradition that originated in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is closely associated with the Warkari sect, a community of devotees who follow the teachings of the 13th-century saint, Dnyaneshwar. The Warkari tradition revolves around the annual pilgrimage known as Wari, where thousands of devotees travel on foot to the holy town of Pandharpur, singing and dancing in devotion to Lord Vitthal, a form of Lord Krishna. Music plays a central role in this pilgrimage, as it is believed to be the gateway to the Gods.
The music of the Warkari tradition is characterized by its simplicity, devotion, and emotional depth. It is primarily based on the Bhakti (devotional) rasa, expressing love and surrender to the divine. The lyrics of the songs, known as Abhangs, are written in Marathi and had been composed by saints and poets like Dnyaneshwar, Tukaram, and Namdev. The Warkari tradition of music has a strong oral tradition, with songs being passed down through generations. It is performed during various religious festivals and gatherings, creating an atmosphere of devotion and spiritual upliftment. The musical instruments used in the Warkari tradition include the cymbals (taal), the harmonium, the tambura, and the mridang (a double-headed drum). The rhythmic patterns and melodies are repetitive, allowing the devotees to easily join in and participate in the singing and dancing.
Today, we are exploring a workshop/mentorship program bringing forth the culturally and spiritually enriching musical tradition of Warikari to the city of Mumbai. Titled Haati Ghein Taal, Khandyavari Veena (Singing fearlessly for oneself) the two-day workshop will be conducted by Shruthi Vishwanath with women mystic voices, where the attendees will understand and sing songs from the Warikari tradition. The workshop is free for all students. The two-day mentorship program will end with a performance by Shruthi accompanied by Shruteendra Katagade on Tabla and Himanshu Tipaniya on the Dholak.
Shruthi Veena Vishwanath is a singer, educator, and curator who celebrates mystic music traditions from South Asia and beyond. With a focus on marginalized histories and voices, she performs, teaches, and researches a diverse repertoire of mystic music from the Indian subcontinent. Her work combines classical training with the raw essence of folk forms, exploring the intersections between the two. Additionally, she composes and sings poems that amplify the voices of women and other marginalized individuals. She has traveled throughout India and seven countries abroad — her extensive travels complement her artistic practice. She also shares her expertise by teaching and designing curricula in music and the allied arts.
Even though the mentorship program is in collaboration with institutes in Bombay, it is open to also open to anyone who is interested in this unique learning experience. Since the capacity is limited, you should ideally send in your requests by the 5th of October 2023.
You can write to firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp at +91 9004347474 for more information.
Haati Ghein Taal, Khandyavari Veena: A Two-Day Workshop By Shruthi Vishwanath
Date: 7th October- 8th October 2023
Venue: Project88, Colaba, Mumbai
Check out a performance by Shruthi Vishwanath at the Kabir Festival, Mumbai:
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