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World On Your Street: The Global Music Challenge

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Musician: Bharati Bhundoo

Location: Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland

Instruments: voice/tambura

Music: Indian Classical

HOW I CAME TO THIS MUSIC          WHERE I PLAY          A FAVOURITE SONG Click here for Hande Domac's storyClick here for Mosi Conde's storyClick here for Rachel McLeod's story


Listen  Listen (5'07) to ‘Raag Des’ performed by Bharati Bundhoo.

Listen  Listen (2'30) to Bharati Bundhoo talk about her music.

"It’s not about getting certificates, it’s about being sincere with the music in line with the Indian musical traditions of old."

How I came to this music

My family’s not into music but my dad was naturally musical. When I was 16 I wanted to study music but my family disapproved. They wanted me to be a lawyer but I wasn’t academic. Apart from music nothing suited me!

I’m from Mauritius but on the radio as a child, you'd only catch snatches of Indian classical music because it wasn't very popular with my age group who wanted rock and roll and pop songs. Luckily my brother, who was studying at Delhi University, sent me classical Indian cassettes to make up. Listening to that music settled it for me. I was determined to study the music despite my mum's protestations. Eventually I went to The Mahatma Ghandi College of Music in Mauritius. But it’s not about getting certificates, it’s about being sincere with the music in line with the Indian musical traditions of old.

Apart from studying at the Mahatma Gandhi Instititute, I also spent years learning vocal the traditional method. My learning was enhanced by Dr Premila Monohar who is a disciple of Sulochna Brihaspati of Rampur Gharana. From the age of 16 to 24 I spent time being initiated by her in the tradional school (guru shishya parampara). Today I am very grateful for her support and encouragement in my journey.

Bharati BhundooWhen I got married and came to Scotland, I figured there'd be little value placed on Indian music here and I'd never get to use the music. In Glasgow, Bhangra is much more popular among the Asian community than classical. After 10 years, having mentioned to some friends that I’d studied Indian classical music, I was approached by the Scottish Academy of Asian Arts to come and teach for them. That was quite a compliment!

I sing Hindustani classical music from the North of India. Most of the compositions are in Sanskrit. The music is pure yet complex as you can easily sing out of tune. Precision and pitch are all, even when you’re doing instrumental.

The basis of Indian classical music is raga or melody-type which is defined by the musicologist, Matanga as 'that special combination of sounds beautified by colourful notes which charm the hearts of people'. We have raags which are simply compositions of notes depicting moods and different times of the day including the morning raag - Todi - which is a raag with flat notes. Then as the day progresses, the notes get sharper.

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