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Evening Raga

When dhrupad maestro Nasir Faiyazuddin Dagar,of the illustrious Dagar Brothers,passed away in 1989,his 22-year-old son Faiyaz Wasifuddin Dagar was asked to take his place immediately.

Written by Suanshu Khurana |
May 10, 2010 1:31:26 am

Vocalist Wasifuddin Dagar is trying to keep alive a 500-year-old music tradition

When dhrupad maestro Nasir Faiyazuddin Dagar,of the illustrious Dagar Brothers,passed away in 1989,his 22-year-old son Faiyaz Wasifuddin Dagar was asked to take his place immediately. “I was young and still in training,and I suddenly had to perform. It was a turning point in my life,” says Wasifuddin,42,taking time off from rehearsals. This evening,he will be performing at the IIC in the memory of his uncle Zahiruddin Dagar,who died in 1994.

The Dagars are among the oldest families of classical musicians in India . Wasifuddin is the 20th generation in an unbroken chain of Dhrupad singers,who have preserved the tradition for more than five centuries. They trace their lineage to Haridas Dagar,the musician who taught Tansen. “My father,uncles and grandfathers have been so well acclaimed that the pressure to be even half as good is immense,” says Wasifuddin.

Growing up in a musical milieu where “sur and taal are the only audible sounds,” Wasifuddin took to music naturally. “It was also expected from the children of this family. We are responsible to carry the legacy forward,” says Wasifuddin,who is trying to revive interest in Dhrupad,which has failed to capture the imagination of new-age musicians despite being one of the oldest forms of classical music (Dhrupad traces its origin to the chanting of Vedic hymns). Wasifuddin says,“Dhrupad has not been nurtured post independence. My family always held performances,even in difficult times.”

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Wasifuddin is frequently approached by Indian and foreign artistes to collaborate in fusion music projects but he remains among the few Hindustani classical maestros who have stayed away. “I am a purist like my ancestors. I would like to be true to the art form,” he says.

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First published on: 10-05-2010 at 01:31:26 am

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