Shenai maestros Sanjeev and Ashwani Shankar took part in SPIC MACAY’s Music in the Park fest. Held over 26 and 27 March, the event brought together some of the biggest names of Indian classical music world. Check out excerpts from their conversation with HT:
How does it feel to perform for a live audience after two years?
The hard work that we did sitting at home for two years, it has got us results today. The sentiments that were simmering in our hearts until now have come out on the stage.
You have performed at home and abroad. What would you say about this?
It is a different pleasure to perform in your own country. Here we get applause right as we perform. But people abroad wait for the program to end.
You have created a different identity in shehnai playing. How did you give it a new direction?
We got the company of Pandit Ravi Shankar ji in playing the shehnai. We learned a lot from him. We have tried to make some new music by mixing new and old styles. Apart from this, we tried to do something new with what we learned from working abroad.
You belong to a family of musicians. What would you say about this?
We have been playing shehnai in our house for the last 350 years. We are lucky that we were born in such a family. We will try that it goes on for 350 years.
Those who are interested in playing shehnai, any message for them?
All from children to those above 60 come to us. It is our endeavour that the shehnai does not disappear, so we teach as many people as possible. The youth will have to have some patience and focus.
What is your daily routine?
Even today we do riyaz for 4 to 5 hours everyday. But earlier we used to do riyaz continuously for 10 to 12 hours.
Any message for the audience?
Support the culture of the country. We have lost many great artistes in the last two years. Support those who are left now. Check out our concerts. Promote the culture of your country.
(By Priya Rajput)