'We never compete with each other'

'We never compete with each other'

Pandit Rajan and Sajan Mishra are carrying forward the 300-year-old legacy of the Banaras gharana

Pandit Rajan and Sajan Mishra

Pandits Rajan and Sajan Mishra, brothers and renowned vocalists in the khyal style of Indian classical music, have been performing to Indian and global audiences for many years. Hailing from a distinguished musical family of Banaras, they have, over the years, won numerous awards like the Padma Bhushan, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and the Gandharwa National Award. Metrolife talks to them...

If you had to explain to a layman, what will you say is the most distinctive feature of the Banaras style of singing?

The ‘Banaras Gharana’, as it is called, or the Banaras style of singing, is an amalgamation of various genres of music. This is one ‘gharana’ which includes ‘dhrupad’, ‘khyal’ and ‘thumri’ in its fold (you can hear all these influences in the Banaras style of singing khyal).

Also, a lot of emphasis is given to the lyrics, the words (bandish) and the emotions (bhaav) of the lyrics, unlike many other styles of singing.

Have you made any changes in your singing/songs over the years to suit a more modern audience?

We have not changed our singing or the songs to suit the modern audiences, since we never felt the need to do so. The appreciation we have always received for singing the way our gurus taught us is heartening. We feel that when the artiste is honest with his art, the audience appreciates that.

Over the years, we have worked on ourselves, to give more emotions to our words and ragas; not with the modern audience in our mind but to evolve as musicians ourselves.

So many artiste duos and groups have parted ways after a few years of working together. What is the secret of your unity and your success?

Love and respect for each other; we never ever think of competing with each other, we complement each other. Also the values we received from our elders plays a huge role in this.

Catch the event

Yamini 2020 is being presented by Spic Macay and Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore chapter. It will be held from January 25, 6.30 pm to January 26, 6.30 am at the open air theatre, IIM Bangalore campus. The entry is open to all but you have to register on yamini-iimb.in for free passes. Carry a valid photo id card to the venue.