An Indian classical music festival promises to enrapture audiences when performers descend on Merton next month.
The two-day Ghazal and Thumri Festival will feature hypnotic, spiritually enrapturing genres of Indian music, interpreted through English poetry to communicate with an audience from all cultural backgrounds.
Hosted by Saudha, the Society of Poetry and Indian Music, the festival is supported by Merton Council and Merton library services.
Louisa Clarence-Smith catches up with performer and Wimbledon library manager Chandra Kargupta, as she prepares for the festival.
Louisa Clarence-Smith: Why did you want to get involved with Saudha?
Chandra Kargupta: I am truly moved by the idea and conception of Saudha that is delving into the development of new but highly communicative way connecting audience into classical music.
I like the idea of taking it as a campaign in order to build up new audience of this poignant form of music.
I like Saudha's idea of working with leading performers around the globe and although they fuse with other art forms, they never compromise on the purity of any art form.
LCS: Where were you born, where do you live now and how long have you lived in the UK?
CK: I was Born in India and I have been living in London for the last 14 years.
LCS: How would you describe Hindustani classical music?
CK: India has two leading waves of classical music. One is Hindustani and other is Carnataki.
The basic construction of the melody that we create through vocal or instrument are same and we have different melody for different time of the day as well as different seasons .
I am mainly a Kheyal singer, the pure classical genre of Hindustani classical music. But I also perform Semi-classical like Ghazal and Thumri.
I was so blessed in a sense that the doyens like Ravi Shankar blessed me wholeheartedly after listening to my Thumri.
LCS: Who or what inspired you to become a singer?
CK: I think music is in my blood. I started singing from the age of three and was invited to perform on stage at the age of six.
My mother is a great singer and since my childhood I have heard pure classical music at home every single day.
The commitment towards the art was my main focus from childhood. I received the gold medal in Thumri from All India Radio at the age of 16, received the national scholarship from the Indian government and was admitted as a research scholar at the most prestigious institution of Indian classical music at the age of 12.
LCS: Why do you enjoying performing Indian classical music?
CK: I think myself as an ambassador of Indian classical music who enjoys performing for serious art lovers and for those who takes classical music as therapy.
I like the magic of transcending audience to another plane by the intricate ascending and descending order of musical melody.
LCS: Why do you think it’s important to share Indian classical music?
CK: For its beauty and intricacy as a serious and the most ancient art form of the globe and its sacred impact on human soul.
Like Western classical, Indian classical music is very celestial and therapeutic music.
The music has so many stupendous elements in its inner mechanism that any global audience from any background can enjoy and appreciate the endless beauty in it.
Indian classical music is also widely used as therapy for different mental illness.
Ghazal and Thumri Festival; Morden Assembly Hall, Tudor Drive; February 14, 6.30pm; Raynes Park Library, Approach Road; February 15, 5pm; £5; saudha.org/news-events; 07737828922.