Aana and Amit Sharma
Phone +41 78 836 39 38
Aana and Amit Sharma
Phone +41 78 836 39 38
Amit Sharma is from a traditional music Gharana in Northindia, the Sadhu Baba Gharana. He is from the seventh generation, learning under his grandfather Kanheya Lal Bandhavi, who was the court singer for Maharaja Marthand Singh in Rewa for over 20 years. KLB was also the guru of the Maharani, the queen Praveen Kumari. Amit also performed in front of the king and queen even at the tender age of 12. He received complete and comprehensive musical knowledge from his grandfather including mastering the art of Dhrupad vocal music, Khyal singing, playing the Harmonium and tabla plus the ability to maintain and care for the instruments.
Amongst the various awards that Amit received as a musician, he also holds also a Bachelor in classical Hindustani vocal music from the Prayat Sangeet Academy in Allahabad.
Amit received a scholarship from the Ratan Tata Trust where he then studied between 2001 until 2004 with Late Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar in the Gurushishya Parampara system. ZFD was the 19th generation in the Dagar lineage, one of the most prolific existing Dhrupad lineages. His intensive training included 12 hours of singing per day along with study and the practice of Pranayama Yoga.
In 2006 Amit qualified for the Dorabji Tata Trust Scholarship where he studied for four years until 2010. Here he was taught in the Gurushishya Parampara system under the Padmashri Gundecha Brothers, recognised as hugely prolific and highly respected in India. Amit was the Gundecha’s right hand and closest student, living like a family member with them and supporting them in various tasks. Amit performed throughout India and the world with the Gundecha brothers.
Not only did Amit become an adept in vocal skills but also as tablaist. As the result of this, he has a unique ability to combine melodic and rhythmical improvisations in a rarely heard mind expanding way. Furthermore, his voice expresses a softness and sweetness that goes straight to the heart.
Amit has not only performed on various Indian stages but also on Swiss and international stages. His Indian performances include Tansen and Haribalab Festival, Dharwad, Badal Raag Bharat Bhavan Festival, Habitat und Kamni Audotorium New Delhi, St. Javier Batiki Mumbi and Kala Ghoda Festival Bangalore. Further afield he has performed in the swiss Villa Rieter at the Rietbergmuseum in Zürich and has received many invitations to perform in the US and Canada as well as in other European countries like the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy.
Amit is not only practicing his career as a performing musician but also has his own music school in Zürich where he has been living with his family since 2012.
Amit has widened his spectrum with Sufi songs, Bhajans and Buddhist Mantras. Recently he started to explore fusions with Jazz, Gregorian Chant and South Indian music. Amit also hosts regular Mantra and Kirtan sessions.
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.
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 Dhrupad.
Aana went to Uday Bhawalkar 2004, where she studied 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.
2008-2010 Aana studied with the Padmashree Gundecha Brothers and their brother 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.
Aana and Amit met and both studied under the Gundecha bandhu. They fell in love and married in a Hindu temple. Soon afterwards they started to perform together, in India and abroad. The Jugalbandi (duet) “Aanamit” was born! Aana and Amit are amongst the very few couples performing Dhrupad together worldwide.
Back in Switzerland with their two children in 2012, Aana and Amit founded a music school. Aana also created a demo lecture for the Zürich-state program “Schule & Kultur” (schools and culture), 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, due of health problems, Aana was forced to make a break from singing between 2015 and 2018. Happily, in 2019 she started to sing again.
Now she is back and more active than ever. She is now developing a new teaching program NAAD, focusing on Nada Yoga, Mantra Chanting and Dhrupad Music. She also aims to document her musical time in India. The most important change for her is that she has started to perform and teach again.
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.
One significant characteristic of Dhrupad is the emphasis on maintaining the purity of the Raga (tonal systems) and the Swara (notes). It is always sung accompanied by the Tanpura, a drone instrument which provides tonal reference and creates a carpet of sound rich in microtones. The second accompanying instrument is the Pakhavaj, a sonorous cross drum.
Traditionally Dhrupad was sung only by men and often as a Jugalbandi (duet). The first woman who performed on a public stage was Asgari Bai, active in the second half of the 20th century. Dhrupad music almost died out after the royal courts lost their function due to independence in 1947. Since the 1990s Dhrupad has experienced a revival and is taught widely again, also to women. Nowadays Dhrupad is performed by around 30 women, including Indians and non-Indians.
Dhrupad is sung in syllables (te ta ra na ri num na) which are derived from a Mantra. These so called Nomtom syllables have no direct meaning. Dhrupad music is universal and focusses only on the sound. There are also typical sonorous Dhrupad instruments like the Veena or Surbahar.
At the beginning of a concert the Raag is presented slowly and meditatively. Soon after rhythm is introduced which in turn doubles and then speeds up even more. The elaborate improvisations in this music provide much entertainment. Finally, a song or composition emerges. During the faster, more rhythmical sections, the vocalist will be accompanied by the pakhavaj.
Dhrupad is an exquisite listening and singing experience providing entertainment of the highest level!
Trailor of a NAAD singing workshop https://youtu.be/ORPOHUZd94A
The Naad Teaching Program contains three parts:
Nada Yoga is the vedic Yoga of the sound. It is about merging the inner with the outer world using the tool of sound. It focuses on soundmeditation and energywork. The most known and the most difficult exercise described is the listening to the primordial sound OM, which can be heard in absorption, deep meditative states.
The outer part of working with sound contains two categories, rhythmically chanted Mantras (Nama) as well as music itself, which has a meter and a melody within a tonal system or Raag (Rupa).
Mantra chanting is about rhyhmical reciting of a Mantra. A Mantra has syllables with a implicit or explicit meaning. The Mantra gets repeated in a cycle, which has an effect on energy and mind – on condition of the right pronounciation! The NAAD Teaching Program offers Vedic Chanting, Buddhist Chanting and on request also Sufi and Christian Chants.
Dhrupadmusic focuses on the musical part of the sound. It is nowadays the only Indian style, which preserved the microtonality of the Ragas. Played with the Tanpura, each note of a Ragas scale can be set precisely within the 22 shrutis. Only the intervall between the Tanpuras drone-notes and the vocalists/instrumentalists melody bring alive a Raag.
There is a saying that 5000 years ago the Rishis were contemplating on how to merge with nature or become one with god. They contemplated in order to find the energetical equivalents to the outer physical states. This is how they discovered the Raga. For each time of day and season there are different Raga. In total there must be several hundred Raga!
Dhrupad music is sung with what seem to be meaningless syllables, the Nomtom syllables. In fact they are derived from the Om Tarani Tom Mantra and contain the meaning “bring me from the darkness into the light”. Dhrupad music is derived from the vedic times and is so the mother of the mantra world. “Dhruva Pada” means “fixed star”, pointing out the principle of coming back to the initial place – each cycle on a higher spiritual level!
The breath plays an important role in Nada Yoga too as it carries the voice and flows naturally between the inside and outside of the body. Furthermore the breath and sound are energising for the body having decisive and positive impact.
Today, Dhrupad music is the only Indian style of music which has preserved the microtonality of the Raga. Performed together with the Tanpura, each note of a Raag scale can be set precisely within the 22 shrutis (microtones). Only the intervals between the Tanpura’s drone sound and the vocalist’s or instrumentalist’s melody bring a Raag to life. As soon as a tempered instrument like a harmonium is involved, the whole energy is destroyed. This is because the keys of such an instrument are fixed and so not in tune with the microtones of the Raag. So modern classical Indian music or Mantra Chanting with a Harmonium does not evove the full potential of the Ragamusic}
After all is to say that Dhrupad is a complete Sound Teaching, as this yogic music contains Nada Yoga (Sound) and Mantra (Sound and Rhythm or Laya) Chanting: Sound, Rhythm and Form through the musical modes, the Raga. Singing Dhrupad the singer applies Yoga techniques to open all chakras. Producing a stream of sound opens the energy channels, specially the column. Kundalini is rising and greeting! Connecting sound and mind allows the singer to fully dive into a Raag, to become the Raag! Beeing advanced, the vocalist can listen to him/herself and how the Raag is singing, just letting flow the melody. This is like “surfing in the universe”… After engaging first in a more intellectual way into this music, the listener too can absorbe in this divine music. This is the pure joy of Dhrupad Music, Mantra Chanting and Nada Yoga!