He was not born in a family of musicians. He was born in the ocean of music. Ever since his early childhood days, the earliest that he can remember, music, pure classical music, was an essential element of his growing up environment.
Baba, an ardent love of Hindustani Classical music, a connoisseur and also an honorary critic with the All India Radio, ensured the 'purity' of the acoustical vatavaran, so much so that his sisters had to really steal moments to listen to light or playback music on the radio.
Every month there would be private jalsa organized at his home, in Lucknow, by Baba and his friends which would sometimes even feature artists like Pandit Ravi Shankar, Pandit V J Jog and Pandit Jotin Bhattacharya.
No wonder even at the tender age of 10 or so, he could prodigiously not just recognize the ragas but relate to them. He had no 'swar-gyan', yet could discern the difference between a Puriya and a Marwa or a Desh and a Tilak Kamod. Born under Shravana nakshtra, he was blessed with the innate ability of conscious listening with which he would get straight to the essence of the ragas, intuitively, and build relationships with them.
By the time he was in his early teens, maddened by the elixir of the blissful strains of music, the boy was bubbling with the urge to let out and express the music that had by now become his sanctuary. So, one day, sometime in mid-seventies, driven by his explorative nature, he used his amateur carpentry skills and some elementary knowledge of physical acoustics to modify his sister's Hawaiian guitar to create what was the first version of Indra Veena. Very soon, guided by his discerning ears he was able to play raag Todi and Bihag.
This was the beginning of a new journey. A journey unto exploring the fathomless depths of Hindustani classical music. Shy and diminutive by nature, he had very few friends. Besides studies, which always took priority over music, he was lost in the world of listening to doyens from different gharanas and trying to reproduce the nuances on his self-created instrument, all by himself. In late eighties he got an Indra Veena professionally made and started performing in small private programs. He had no particular regimen for riyaaz. All the time he had for himself, it was meant to be spent in company with music - listening and re-listening, imbibing the essence, trying to reproduce and then listening again. There was a penchance for not getting it right grammatically, but getting it to express itself with all its beauty (alankar) and emotions (bhava)'', in entirety.
He was coaxed into taking lessons for Sangeet Prabhakar and by mid-eighties he had completed it with distinction.
In late, eighties, he had the good fortune of playing for a few concerts at the Festival of India in Switzerland. And immediately thereafter, was blessed with a few months of tutelage at the feet of Pandit Brij Bhushan Kabra in Ahmedabad. Very soon he realized the disconnect. On the one hand his performer self was tugging at the egoic strings to show off and on the other the devotee self wanted to get drowned and dissolved in the ocean of music, to which he belonged. After spending endless nights of serenading with his first love, in pain and anguish, not able to compromise with his love for the Beloved, he took a call to relinquish the race for performance and settled down to play for himself. Even today, he is never lonely, though he might often be found alone. Al-one with his first love, drowned in the bliss of its sublime experience, in communion with Divinity.
A missionary at heart and as Human Alchemist, Indroneil has been touching and transforming lives for close to two decades. He has touched / transformed lives of close to 10,000 individuals in various professions, across all walks of lives, including musicians.
An ardent enthusiast of Hindustani classical music, he frequents live concerts hoping to relive the immersive experiences of soulfulness from the past. However, more often than not, he returns feeling sad and disappointed, his thirst for notes that stirs the soul remaining unquenched.
Born in a small town of UP, she remembers her first impactful exposure to soulful music happening in Gurudwaras, which she used to frequent with her parents, listening to the shabads.
She neither found an environment of music nor any encouraging engagement with music at home in her growing up years. Whatever exposure she had was through a few strains coming from the radio or TV accidentally falling on her ears. She was expected to pay attention to her studies more and not get carried away by such musical 'distraction.'
It was only as recent at 2005 that she came up-close with the soul of Hindustani classical music. Pre-dominantly it was through listening to some of the undisputed authorities of classical music, ghazals, devotionals and even Rabindra Sangeet, live and recorded. She took to it like a fish to water. Intent fully listening to some of the immortal renderings by exemplars of classical music, she surrendered herself to going through intensely immersive experiences. Her empathetic ear quickly got her to discern good from not-so-good music. She uncovered in herself an uncanny ability to emote to certain raag when, for the first time she realized that listening to raag Abhogi would make anger swell in her. Being a natural dancer, she would naturally emote to a Bharavi or Zila Kafi by moving with the rendition. Height of her empathetic listening was when she experienced the presence of the Divine Feminine while listening to a soulful rendition of raag Shree.
It's been a long and transformational journey for her as far as her relationship with Indian music is concerned. Today, with all humility, she discerns what she listens to and what not. What matters to here today is that the notes struck must stir the soul. Doesn't matter to what genre it belongs to or who the performer is.
A soft skill and corporate trainer, an energy healer and an extremely innovative chef, she is gifted to acutely sense using all her senses and respond momentarily.
Dr Rajaram Kudli
He is a Masters, PhD in data mining, had been a teacher, researcher at an IIT. Carries long years of experience in Technology based Engineering Products & Services corporate. Has been a medium of manifestation of a Free Learning Center for Employability with Awareness. Lives by Consciousness, ending up as a disruptor in every institution. At the moment his focus is enabling the youth from rural and under-privileged backgrounds to bring in a balance between freedom and responsibility. He hails from Shimoga and has a great talent with sketching. He also enjoys Indian music as it keeps him centered.
A technologist with a varied experience in many multinationals he is currently an entrepreneur – founder of a socially relevant technology enterprise – Ambertag. He is deeply committed to the cause of assisting cancer patients and is a volunteer and committee member of the Indian Cancer Society, Karnataka which raises awareness about Cancer and conducts cancer detection camps in slums and other economically deprived areas.
Convinced about the connection between stress and modern urban ailments during his work in the cancer space, Bharat found substantial research and deep anecdotal and published evidence regarding the efficacy of Yoga and programs like Sudarshan Kriya in the amelioration of stress and prevention of more serious diseases. His connection with Swaratma is in the spirit of preserving our heritage of Indian Music.
Dr Vishambhar Nath Mishra
A Professor at BHU IIT for more that 2 decades Dr. Mishra is the Mahant (Religion Head) of famous Akhada Goswami Tulsidas and Sankat Mochan Mandir founded by Great Saint Goswami Tulsidas Ji (at Varanasi). He is also the president of Sankat Mochan Foundation, a Varanasi based NGO actively running the “Clean Ganga Campaign” since 1982. He convenes the world Famous Sankat Mochan Sangeet Samaroh annually at Sankat Mochan Mandir Premises. Dr Mishras is the Vice-Chairman, Indian Music, IT Gymkhana, BHU, Varanasi. He is on board of various other musical and educational associations/institutions. His association with music is deep and he believes in the fact the Indian Music has the power to connect with others and ourselves
He is one of the prominent music critics of Varanasi. He has been contributing to over 4 decades to Hindi Journalism. He has written thousands of columns in various newspapers. For the past 20 years he has been associated with Sanmarg the hindi daily in Varanasi. He has also been associated with the Sankat Mochan Sangeet Samaroh. He has received many awards and accolades for his contribution. A few of them are patrakarita Samman and Vishishta Sahyog Samman. He is associated with Swaratma as he stands by the fact the Indian music needs to be experienced in its true divine essence.
Pandit Nagraj Havaldar
Dr. Nagraj Havaldar is a disciple of Madhava Gudi, himself a prime disciple of the Kirana scion Bhimsen Joshi. He is also a disciple of Panchakshari Swami Mattigatti, a senior disciple of Mallikarjun Mansur, of the Jaipur-Atrauli Gharana. He holds a Doctorate in Music from Karnataka University.
He has performed all over India, including prestigious venues such as the Hampi Utsava, Mysore Dassera Durbar Festival and Sankat Mochan Sangeet Samaroh at Varanasi. He has also toured the United States and the United ingdom extensively. While his style reflects his extensive training from Kirana masters, he is equally at ease with the Jaipur-Atrauli specialities such as Basanti Kedar, Basanti Kanada and Nat Malhar. He has pioneered to popularize the Kannada Khayal by adapting Vachanas, literary works of Haridasas and suitable contemporary poetry in Kannada, to the traditional khayal form.
Besides live performances, Havaldar has recorded numerous albums in the Khayal and lighter genres.
Pandit Subhbankar Banerjee
Pandit Subhankar Banerjee is by far the most sought after tabla accompanist of international fame. At the age of five, the musical wonder kid was placed under the tutelage of Shri Swapan Shiva, celebrated artiste and teacher of Farukhabad Tabla Gharana, and over the years he has been dedicating himself for learning other Gharanas from different maestros.
He received awards in his early age from celebrities like Satyajit Ray in the year1977, Pandit Ravi Shankar in the year 1985 and from President of India in 1987.T
In addition to being a reputed soloist Subhankar has been and is one of the few choicest accompanist of most prominent celebrities of our country like Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, Pandit L.Subramanium, Dr.M.Balamuralikrishnan, Pandit Jasraj, Pandit M.S.Gopalkrishnan, Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty, Pandit V.G.Jog, Ustad Imrat Hussian Khan and many others.