How the Gregorian Ave Maria (Liber Usualis) is similar to the Indian Raag Kafi – first sung in the traditional Gregorian way, letting then the words away and starting to improvise in the tonal system in Akaar-style, and finally singing Raag Kaafi Dhrupad Alaap.
Aana grew up in Switzerland. She enjoyed a solid music education at the music college in Chur specialising in vocals, violin and flute. Later she studied Architectur at ETH Zürich and Urban Planning at HSR Rapperswil.
In 2001, after
completing her postgraduation in Urban Development she had an “inner call for
music”. She started the journey to find ‘the music of her heart’. After having
explored Persian music, overtone and mantra singing, she finally discovered
Aana went to Pandit Uday Bhawalkar 2004, where she studied Dhrupad under the “Gurushishya Parampara” system. In this ancient system, student and teacher live in very close proximity. With Uday she experienced the deepness and spirituality contained in this music. Unfortunately Uday left in 2006 to teach in the US for a longer period.
2008-2009 Aana studied with the Padmashree Gundecha Brothers and their brother Pandit Akhilesh Gundecha on Pakhavaj in India, where she refined her technique and knowledge in Raga music.
The training in India involved 365 days a year with each day containing 6-12 hours of singing and studying, starting at 4 am with “Karaj”. Aana learnt more than 50 Raagas plus a variety of techniques and many songs and compositions. This system of teaching requires learning only by listening, no books or verbal explanations are available. Her analytical skills and musical pre-knowledge helped her to de-code the mysteries of Dhrupad music.
In 2006 Aana started to teach Dhrupad after her time with Uday. In 2008 she started to give concerts together with other Indian students. She performed for the first time together with Gundechas bandhu in 2009 in Switzerland.
During her time in India, Aana also studied with the late Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar, the teacher of Uday and the Gundecha brothers. Ustad ZFD died in 2013. He was one of the famous “Dagar” exponents, one of the two most highly recognised Dhrupad families in Northern India today.
Back in Switzerland with her husband and two children in 2012, Aana founded the company Dhrupadsoundyoga, later named Indian Music and Food. Aana also created a demo- lecture for the Zürich-state program “Schule & Kultur”, a set of Nada Yoga exercises and a new Jugalbandi-concept.
Not only is
Aana passionate about music but has gained a lot of experience in Buddhist
Vipassana, Zen and Dzogchen meditation. Here she learnt about awareness and
concentration. Combining her two passions, she has developed a number of musical
intonations of Buddhist Sutras and Mantras.
Aana has developed a concept of merging the Christian Ave Maria with Indian Classical music. She has further explored the possibility of creating a Dhrupad choir.
Unfortunately Aana was forced to make a break from singing between 2015 and 2018. After an operation in 2012 she faced several health issues. She was also multiple burdened taking over the intense family management and the intire management of the business. Aana also started to work as an engineer again. After a jobless period from 2017 Aana started in 2019 to sing again, she is promoting herself and she is very active as a composer, teacher and performer.
Now Aana is mostly autodidactically refining her performing-art and her teaching-program. She is also reconnecting again to India and her teachers.
In its original form. a traditional Dhrupad performance contains a longer free floating Alaap, a Jod introducing a pulse, and a Jhala part, doubling the pace, and eventually a song and its improvisation. Besidea perfect tone and sound quality, the focus lays in rhythmical improvisation, similar to Jazz.
You can book following settings:
Indian classical with Pakhavaj drum
Soundmeditation without percussion
demolecture/ Schulhauskonzert / Schulhausworkshop
The higher the concentration on the tone and melodic flow, the stronger the effect of the Raag. Both the singer and the listener experience the harmony of body and ming, which creates a happyness beyond normal entertainment or distraction of the mind. One becomes an active witness how a Raag sings!
Dhrupad is the most ancient style of Hindustani (North Indian) classical music that has survived until today in its original form. The Dhrupad tradition is a major tradition of Indian culture.
The nature of Dhrupad music is spiritual, seeking not to entertain but to induce feelings of peace and contemplation in the listener. It is a form of devotional music that traces back to the ancient text of Sam Veda.
Dhrupad is a heritage, which was transmitted since pre-Indian times in the so called Gurushishya Parampara system, in which the student lives with the teacher in close proximity. The student gives his life to the teacher and receives in turn, the blessings of this rich music.
Dhrupad however, has enormous relevance to today’s generation. It is a meditation, focusing people to that which is essential in life, the moment, here and now. Dhrupad music is pure energy which vitalises, harmonises and leads to bliss, joy and peace.
Each Raaga represents a different physical state of nature. Evening ragas have a different tonal system to morning Ragas, creating different atmosphere and evoking different feelings. The musician and the well-trained listener can merge with nature through the tool of music.
Dhrupad is an exquisite listening and singing experience providing entertainment of the highest level!
Aana M. Sharma Trichtenhausenstrasse 120 CH-8053 Zürich Switzerland