Music is everywhere in India: even in remote areas such as the rural Madhya Pradesh, i managed to stumble across it…!
After i went to visit the village school near Khajuraho, i had the chance to meet Mr. Sharad Patel, a local musician and music teacher, who started few little music classes in different schools around the area.
Sharad plays tablas, harmonium and sings classical and folk Indian music. Apart from making a living playing functions and ceremonies, he also started to teach to young kids in the villages surrounding the Khajuraho area.
One evening he and his friend who’s learning how to play bansuri, the Indian flute used in classical music, they picked me up on their bikes and took me to the little music school of the village. A couple of guitar players, 3 singing girls and a percussionist arrived, sat down and started to jam together warming up with a long folk tune.
Once all the instruments are playing, Sharad gives equal attention to all the musicians involved, and while playing the harmonium, with the other hand he directs the singers and helps the young tabla player to follow the dynamics of the piece.
This young kid is only 13, but despite his tender age, he’a already a solid tabla player. His timing and techniques are pretty much flawless, and as he already sounds great at this stage, after only 8 months of study of the instrument, i can only imagine he will have a very successful future as a professional musician.
Even though music is the cultural backbone of India, wealthy modern families are pushing their children to start less artistic carreers in order to achieve better economic results, but thanks to people like Sharad, a new generation of great musicians is slowly emerging from many little villages in rural India. It’s a job that someone’s gotta do…!