Northern India comes to DMU for lunchtime music series

Some of India’s finest classical musicians have given staff, students and the general public sounds of their homeland with the first instalment of a unique lunchtime music series at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

Ancient tunes from Northern India, played by Harjinderpal Matharu and Shahbaz Hussain, echoed around the high ceilings of St Mary de Castro Church on Wednesday thanks to a partnership with the celebrated Darbar Festival.

Harjinderpal

Harjinderpal Matharu performing on the Santoor at St Mary de Castro. (Photo by Rahul Kizhakkeveettil)

The series, part of DMU’s #loveinternational campaign saw two unique instruments played effortlessly to over 40 guests who watched on in admiration and appreciation for the talent on display.

Harjinderpal played the Santoor an instrument of Persian descent made of walnut with a total of seventy-two strings, while Shahbaz played the Tabla, a percussion instrument consisting of a pair of drums.

Following the concert, the performers answered questions from guests led by Chris Heighton, DMU Head of Music Development.

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Harjinderpal said: “In Indian Classical Music, we improvise a lot whilst maintaining the rules of the genre.

“The different melodies we play suit the time of day, for example the feeling you get from seeing a sunset, is very different to that of a sunrise.

“Performing at this time of the day presents its own melody and quite often we won’t know what we are going to perform and how until we’re used to the surroundings and the audience we are performing for.”

Guests were very intrigued and educated by the comments they heard from the performers as they listened in admiration particularly about the length of time artists spend practicing and the duration they can play for.

Shahbaz

Shahbaz Hussain on Tabla joined Harjinderpal for the first lunchtime concert in the series. (Photo by Rahul Kizhakkeveettil)

Shahbaz said: “We can practice our instruments for up to 12 hours a day and it can take years and years for us to become proficient.

“The music we’ve played today is a shortened version due to the limited time we have, but each instrumental piece of music can last hours.

“It is a form of meditation, once you get into the music it’s like you’re not even playing it, it just happens like someone else is doing the work – it’s beautiful.”

The next concert will take place in Trinity Chapel on Wednesday 7 June at 1pm with Roopa Panesar (Sitar) and Sudersan Chan (Tabla).

Posted on Monday 10th April 2017

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