'I do not want to live in an ivory tower'

'I do not want to live in an ivory tower'

'I do not want to live in an ivory tower'

Shubha Mudgal

We have heard her sing a classical thumri or dadra and also a hard-rock number like Ab ke saawan, resonant with her striking voice. She says it is the call of her heart to adapt to these different musical urges. “I enjoy listening to different kinds of music and learning about them. And I am always curious to learn about different forms of music.”     She adds, “I am fortunate to have been able to interact with musicians and composers specialising in different forms of music. It is always a challenge to learn something new, and to discover the diversity, the many complexities and nuances that make the world of music so rich.”

This rich heritage of music that she carries forward today is the result of her musical training under various masetros. She says this has helped her develop her outlook and the way she perceives music. “All the great gurus who guided me believed in an eclectic approach, and themselves collected and imbibed from diverse sources, and therefore, it is only natural that I have also inherited the same approach,” she says.

What does she draw inspiration from? “Inspiration comes from many sources – from the great musicians and composers whose works we constantly refer to; from life, nature; from the many systems of music in the country and across the world. Indeed, there is no dearth of inspiration.” Talking about her future projects she mentions, “There are many new albums which I cannot describe right away but they will be released soon.”

Apart from this she keeps herself busy with the social causes she works on along with her husband Aneesh Pradhan.

She says, “I do not want to live in an ivory tower and turn a blind eye to what is happening around me. There is the issue of communal harmony that I strongly believe in, and I am associated with various organisations too. My husband and I have also set up an online record label for Indian music which we hope will help aspiring musicians.”

She is one among the few singers who have voiced their opinion against commercialisation of music. She believes music is an art and by equating arts with the entertainment industry, people are doing the arts a disservice. She says ruefully, “The professional musician has always made his or her living through music, but we now live in times where commercialisation is killing the arts and shrinking the spaces where arts can flourish. Art cannot always entertain and today, art which does not entertain, is slowly being pushed towards extinction, and that
is tragical.”