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Music And The Bhakti Movement

Ranjani Saigal
12/20/2012

“sangIta jnAnamu bhakti vinA sanmArgamu galadE manasA - O Mind, mere knowledge of music without devotion can never lead to the right path.
                                                 -   Saint Thyagaraja.  


Bhakti or devotion is a common thread that is ingrained into the Indian ethos. It is a theme that is common to people of almost all religious beliefs and ethnicity in India.  Music has been a powerful medium for expression of Bhakti.  Shuchita Rao’s musical presentation at Dwarakamai on Dec 15 strongly reinforced this idea.  

Shuchita Rao is born in a family of music lovers in Hyderabad, India. Her initial training in Hindustani Vocal Classical music was with Dr. N.K.Karhade. Later, she trained under the noted Gwalior Gharana exponent Smt. Malini Rajurkar. She has also received guidance from Padma Bhushan Dr. Prabha Atre, Padmashri Shri Ramakant Gundecha, Pandit Ajay Pohankar and Pandit Vinayak Torvi.  Recently she has begun her training in Drupad with Ramakant Gundecha. 

She began her presentation with “Marukelara O Raghava”, a composition of Thygaraja.  Bhakti was power that drove this great composer to create magnificent pieces that still touches the hearts of listeners nearly two hundred years after they were composed.  Through the compositions of Purandara Dasa, Tulsi Das, Mirabai , Sant Eknath,  Narsi Mehta, Guru Nanak, Kabir, Jaideva and Ramprasad Sen Shuchita wove a rich tapestry of music that was infused deeply with the colors of devotion. For compostions like Vaishnava Janato, Shri Ramachandra Kripalu Bhaja Mana and Chandana Charchita  devotion is almost more important than any other musical element. Shuchita's mastery over music, combined with her sincerity and devotion made these pieces shine in a spiritual glow. 

Shuchita was ably accompanied by Rajesh Pai on the Tabla and her own son and student Rohit Rao on the Harmonium.  Shuchita Rao has trained some of the most talented young musicians in New England like her own daughter Radha Rao, Anusha Kulkarni, Nidhi Tare and Shachi Badola. Radha Rao and Anusha Kulkarni accompanied her on stage. It was wonderful to see Radha and Anusha hold their own alongside their Guru. 

Lokvani offers humbles pranams to this great musician and Guru and looks forward to more thematic presentations from her in the future. 



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