NIRMALYA DEY

DHRUPAD SINGER-DAGAR SCHOOL


photo: Jean-Michel Le Visage
For details on the workshop to be conducted by Nirmalya Dey on the 30th June 2002, click here!

Initiated learning Dhrupad from the late Prof. Nimaichand Boral, who was a disciple of Ustad Nasir Moinuddin Dagar. After being exposed to the basic knowledge of Dhrupad - Dhamar, systematic and rigorous training started under the legendary teacher and performer Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar. Maintaining the tradition of guru - shishya parampara (teacher-student relationship, the core discipline of learning Indian Music), training still continues under the able tutelage of Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar. Learning subtle nuances of Dagarvaani Dhrupad from an exponent in the field: Prof. Ritvik Sanyal, disciple of legendary Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar and, presently, Head of the Department of Vocal Music in the Faculty of Music, Varanasi Hindu University.

Attained Master's Degree in Music and is, since, doing research work on Dhrupad

Stood First in All India Competition 1979, organised by All India Radio.

"Surmani" title conferred by Surshringer Samsad Bombay for excellence in Dhrupad singing.

Received "Navdeep" award from Navdeep Pratishthan, Ahmedabad as a recognition of potential young Dhrupad singer.

Recipient of Senior Fellowship from Ministry of HRD, Govt. of India.

'A' graded Dhrupad - Dhamar singer in AIR and TV.

Working as a Music Composer in All India Radio.

Taught Dhrupad in the Faculty of Music and Fine Arts of Delhi University and Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, Delhi as a visiting lecturer.
Conducted workshops on Dhrupad in several countries.
Performed in many prestigious concerts in India like National Programme of Music in AIR, Tansen Festival Gwalior, Concert organized by Bharat Bhavan Bhopal, Haridas Sangeet Sammelan Bombay, Concert of Sahitya Kala Parishad Delhi, Varanasi Dhrupad Mela, Baroda Music Festival organised by Komal Nishad, Harvallabh Music Festival Jallandhur, Baiju Music Festival organized by Gujarat Govt. etc.

Performed extensively in many prestigious concerts around Europe.

Press Review- Indian Express, 17 September 1991

"On September 13 1991, Komal Nishad presented yet another magnificent soiree for the music lovers of Baroda at the Faculty of Performing Arts, popularly known as the Music College. Amidst the festival mood of Ganesh Poojan, the connoisseurs of Indian classical music assembled to enjoy the two well-known styles, namely Dagarvani Dhrupad by a highly talented, young and upcoming artist Nirmalya Dey and the Khayal of Mewati Gharana by the famous maestro Pt. Jasraj. Both the artists left an indelible imprint of their entralling performances in the hearts of the audience.

The evening started with the presentation of Dhrupad by Nirmalya Dey. Dhrupad is one of the richest and oldest forms of Indian classical music which has been cultivated by the stalwarts like Swami Haridas of Vrindavan and Sangeet Samrat Tansen. In this style equal emphasis is laid on all the three aspects (i.e. Swara, Tal and Kavya) of music. Beauty of the Dagarvani style of Dhrupad lies in its Alap, Jod and Jhala.

Nirmalya began his recital with reposeful Alap in Raga Bageshree. The slow but systematic elaboration of Bageshree in the Alap portion created an atmosphere and mood of the raga. It was evident that from the very first note the raga was within the grip of the artist. Alap, adorned with ten Swarlakshanas and also with the nuances of Rudra Veena, made the audience glide from here to eternity. Masterly touch in Jod and Jhala portion was very much clear from his Meends and Gamaks. Alap, Jod and Jhala were followed by a composition of legendary Nayak Baiju set in Chautal "Pratham Nam Ganesh Ko Lijiye" which was befitting to the occasion of Ganesh Utsav.

Lyric (Pada) pronounced with clarity along with the rythmic variations known as Upaj created the special effect justifying the sentiments and the ideology of the lyric. After Bageshree, Nirmalya rendered a short composition in Raja Sohni "Pratham Adi Shiv Shakti" set to Sulfakhta. The dedication, involvement and intensity with which Nirmalya presented Bageshree and Sohni is sufficient to prove that he is going to be one of the brightest luminaries on the horizon of Indian classical music. His recital was like a fresh breath of air.......

.....Komal Nishad needs to be congratulated for making that evening so memorable"

 


photo: Jean-Michel Le Visage

Press Extracts

"In the new generation of the Dagarvani, a shining name is Nirmalya Dey. Having been trained under the guidance of Ustad Fariduddin Dagar, he acquired with ease the deep essential aspects of this style of Dhrupad and integrated them into his singing..."
Tansen Festival, Gwalior
Ravindra Mishra, Jansatta Newspaper, Delh, December 2001 (Translation)


"Nirmalya Dey... presented a composition of Baiju in Raga Sohini...he kept the audience spellbound with his mellifluous voice, beautiful rendition, creating the tonic shades to augment the mood of the melody, artistic elaboration of the melody with myriad rhythmic phrases, that establishes his sincere devotion to the art and the school - Dagarvani"
Tansen Tomb, Tansen Festival, Gwalior (Translation)
Gwalior Times, Gwalior, December 2001


"...he delighted and impressed me with an admirable, if brief, alapa in raga Pooriya. His alapa evolves, as it should, by degrees, patiently, reverentially. Further, he keeps his gamak ang passages duly controlled, so that they evoke the requisite air of power and depth without any offence to the listening ear; and in layakari, as incidental to the singing of dhrupad or dhamar, he takes care to avoid hacking words brutally into meaningless fragments. Dey is never slow to acknowledge his indebtedness to Fariduddin Dagar, his teacher.... but I must give credit also to Dey's own committment and aesthetic sense. I would indeed be surprised if he does not go far"
Dhrupad Samaroha, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi
S.K. Saxena, Shruti, June 1999


"Nirmalya Dey is a popular performer of this generation. He plays a distinguished role to revive the culture of Dhrupad and inspire the youth with his mellifluous rendition...Nirmaly's voice resonates with the spirit and mood of the melody. He does not simply play the scale. His command over the tone and rhythm deserves a lot of acclamation."
India International Centre, Delhi
Vijayshankar Mishra, Rashtriya Shahara Delhi, February 1996 (Translation)


"Rendition of Alap and Dhrupad in Raga Puriya followed by Dhamar composition in Raga Bahagda is an example of Nirmaly's accomplishment in imbibing the technique of vocal tradition in the Dagar school. His presentation was an experience of skilful voice representation adorned with unlimited melodic phrases"
Musical tribute to the Late Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar, Y. Chavan Hall, Mumbai
Madanlal Vyas, Navbharat Times, Mumbai, December 1995 (Translation)


"...There are few Dhrupad singers today and this made Dey's recital more interesting. He began with a very elaborate Alaap in the Raga Bihag.... with such embellishments as Meends, Tihais and with his superb Laykari, he made his recital very appealing."
Three-day festival organised by Komal Nishad, Baroda
J.S. Pathak, The Times of India, Ahmedabad, January 1992


"The three-day music festival...was a vehicle for journeying into the sub and supra conscious....the upcoming artiste Nirmalya Dey('s) Alap, Jod and Jhala in Behag showed his keen perception of the Raga but the Dhamar was presented in an authoritative manner. Dey is going to keep up the tradition of the Dagar Gharana of Dhrupadias. His 'Shiv Stuti' in Raga Malkauns in 'Sulfaqta' tal was also full of heritage."
Three-day festival organised by Komal Nishad, Baroda
Sarvesh Chandra mathur, Indian Express, Vadodara, January 1992


"...the highlight of the festival was the Dhrupad recital of Nirmalya Dey.... (he) has maintained a good voice and authenticity of style. His performance was agreably free from boisterous music which one hears sometimes from Dhrupad exponents in the name of vigour. It was pleasing in alaap, it was pleasing in the composition in 'chaar-taal and it was more so in the variety of bol-bannts with which he embelished the Dhrupad in raga Bhimpalasi..."
Videshi Kalakar Utsav, Delhi
R.N. Varma, The Hindu, Delhi, January 1991

Dhrupad


Dhrupad is the most pristine form of Indian Classical Music alive today. It owes its origin to the Saamveda, an epic of the Vedic age of India. The word 'Dhrupad' derived from the euphoric combination of two words - Dhruva (the steadfast evening star which denotes the direction ) and Pada (the song text/poetry). Concept of Dhrupad evolved from chanting 'OM' - a sacred syllable chanted for self - purification and experiencing the glory of all creations. Later, the tradition of chanting Vedic verses transformed into rhythmic form of Sanskrit song texts (the first form of song text - known as Pravadha) paved the way of Dhrupad culture, which became popular under the spiritual and royal patronage in medieval India. Dhrupad is performed in four parts being, Aalap, Jod, Jhala (slow, medium-fast and fast elaboration of the melody) and the composition. Each of this part is further divided into four different sections; Sthayi, Antara, Abhog and Sanchari, which elaborately improvise on the smaller nuances and mood of the melody (Raag). Subtle nuances of applying augmented and diminished notes in course of improvisations proves the scope of experiencing unlimited micro-tone, which is an unique process of this specific genre. Rendition of composition is the last part of the process which is played with the percussion instrument - Pakhawaj, emerging the flow of unlimited improvisations on melodic, phonetic and rhythmic structures. The song texts are in Braj language, which is regarded as the origin of Hindi language. The context of the song-texts, include the praises of different deities, describing the beauty all creations, values of human life, depicting the principles of music, etc.


Dagar Tradition

The family history of the Dagars' and the Dagar Sampradaya (disciples) i.e. Dagars as maestros and their disciples is a microcosm of the history of Indian Classical Music. The continuity and contribution of the tradition of twenty generations, from the time of Swami Haridas Dagar, bears rich testimony to the excellence of the Dhrupad style of singing and playing amongst the Dagars and their handful of disciples - already performing on national and global level.

The Dagarvani's forte is the merukhand alaap which is structured for singing on ten significances (Svara-lakshana), artistically named aakar, dagar, dhuran, muran, kampita, andolita, lahak gamak, hudak and sphurti. As we make the myriad tonal patterns in alaap and dhrupad, we directly experience the joy it occasions. It relates to what existentially supports and surpasses us, the tonal vacillations are so subtle, so deep that they become hardly noticeable to the unskilled and untutored ears.

 

Mohan Shyam Sharma (pakhawaj)

Mohan Shyam Sharma is one of the leading percussionists of his generation. He has held the distinguished classification of an A-grade Artist of All India Radio since 1987, and has participated in a variety of prestigious local and national radio and television programs in India since that time. His accomplishments include a wide range of accompanying performances with the leading practitioners of vocal and instrumental music in the ancient Dhrupad style. He has appeared widely in concerts in Europe, Great Britain, the former Soviet Union, Japan and throughout South Asia. He has appeared on a number of CD recordings on the Jecklin, JVC, Music of the World, Music Today, Nimbus, and Raga labels. He toured the U.S. with Ustad Asad Ali Khan in 1997; with Pandit Ravi Shankar and Shubha Sankaran in 1998; with Wasif Dagar in 2000; and with Wasif Dagar, Bahauddin Dagar, and Shubha Sankaran in 2001. He currently lives in New Delhi.