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Rrucha Bapat and Vinayak Astekar

Vinayak Ashtekar  and Rrucha Bapat

Indian classical music has a rich and ancient history, with origins going back to 8000 or 9000 B.C., and continues to evolve and influence modern Indian culture. Two Louisvillians, singer Rrucha Bapat and tabla player Vinayak Astekar, performed some examples for a spring 2005 Mixed Media.

Rrucha Bapat Rrucha grew up in Bombay and started her studies in Indian classical music at the age of 7. She eventually completed the highest level of training (Visharad) and has won many awards at state and national competitions in India. She also has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Bombay University and completed her master’s in classical music there in 2004. Her husband, Ashutosh Bapat, is a cardiology fellow at the University of Louisville.

Vinayak Ashtekar Vinayak has a master’s degree and a Master of Philosophy in applied electronics. He has studied the tabla, a traditional Indian percussion instrument, privately for several years.

Indian classical music has developed in two main styles based on geographic and linguistic differences. The Hindustani style is prevalent in northern and western India, while the Carnatic style is most common in southern India. The Hindustani form can also be divided into different schools of thought called gharanas, named for the major cities in which they were developed: Agra, Gwalior, Jaipur, Delhi, etc. Each gharana has very specific rules about composition and the style and tempo of singing. The seven basic notes, or sur, are “sa re ga ma pa dha ni”—analogous to the Western “do re mi fa sol la ti.” These basic notes are arranged in multiple defined structures called ragas.

Indian composers have created thousands of such ragas, with innumerable compositions, called khayals (thoughts), within each raga. The same basic notes and rules are followed by both the vocalist and the instrumentalist. Commonly used instruments have included percussion, wind (flute), string (even the guitar), and reed instruments, alone or in combination with a vocalist.

In the ancient era, training of students was based mainly in gurukuls, arrangements in which the student stayed with the teacher and his family for many years. This tradition and culture is continued even in the current era, with the teacher or guru held in great respect bordering on worship.

Program 724

Lexington landscape artist Elsie Kay Harris, a visit to the Explorium of Lexington, and a taste of Indian classical music. (#724)

Program 738

Lexington landscape artist Elsie Kay Harris, a visit to the Explorium of Lexington, and a taste of Indian classical music. (#738)

Program 805

A visit with farmer, weaver, and photographer Dobree Adams, stone mason Russell Dawson, and ceramic artist Michael Frasca. Traditional Indian music featuring singer Rrucha Bapat and tabla drummer Vinayak Ashtekar, and a performance from John Mann. (#805)


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