Practice English Speaking&Listening with: What is a Rudra Veena? The BIGGEST string instrument! Madhuvanti Interview

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hi everyone my name is jeff starr and this is my channel not bad films i make videos about

music and today i am doing a conversation with Madhuvanti who is a rudra vena player

and i think the big question a lot of people who are going to watch this might have is what

is a rudra vena matavanti i toss that question to you what is this instrument so rudra vena

is the most ancient stringed instrument from india and from then it has gone through some

modifications in every generations but it has still retained its shape and most of the basic

qualities and it said that this veena has given most of the string instruments that we hear today

many things like the tuning and the playing techniques and many other things and sitar

all these instruments are somehow or the other related to this instrument now i think like the

first thing i thought when i when i saw a video many years ago and was first exposed to to seeing

it and hearing it was wow it's really big yeah yeah how how how big is this instrument overall

would you say roughly uh it cannot be said roughly because every instrument will be different rudra

vena has to be always customized according to the player's body so usually it's 11 to 12 rudras

rudra is this measurement this sort of like to the tip of the thumb yeah yeah so usually that's about

the length of the player all right so but so it's about as about as big as a person's tall yes and

so actually i have a quick question about that then so when i think about like a a guitar

you know there's there's sort of a set standard size of a guitar there's variations within scale

lengths but you know they're they're between 24 and 25 and a half inch scale length for the string

and that can change how that guitar feels a lot depending on that change in scale length

so i would imagine that that customization of the instrument to the player really changes how

it feels when you play it but also it must change its its tone quite a bit yes yes yes definitely

so everyone's wiener will have a different quality of sound and everyone's vena will have a different

feel too so if this vienna is made for me someone else cannot feel comfortable playing

it because it's according to my body right if someone who is shorter or taller than me or

even bigger than me yeah they will never be comfortable playing this instrument and

so some people tried standardizing the rudrapina yeah and they are never that comfortable to play

now you have your you have your instrument with you correct at your yeah right at your lap there

how not in my lap it's on the floor yeah it should crush you um can you just briefly sort of um

talk about or point out some of the the key characteristics of the instrument whether

it's maybe the um you know i don't know just go from one end down to the other and just sort of

point out some of the main sort i of try okay this instrument is so big it won't fit into one

frame but i i will try so on this end we have the peacock there is a main bridge on the top and two

bridges like this on both the sides okay and then this long thing this is the dandy

and there are two golds on the dandy okay on the top of the dandy we have fresh this is a different

kind of system this is not the traditional press that we used to have on rudra vena yeah and on

this side we have something this is called either the sharab or the sheshnak or the vasuki and

some people also refer to these as the dragon head these days right the dragon head

and yeah because it looks kind of also like a dragon sure sure and there are four mainstreams

okay on traditional rudra venus there used to be two chikaris we have three three carries and

there is a unique thing on the rudra you know we have a base sticker which is called

and is that so which one is that is that the one that's sort of facing away from me yeah yeah okay

well now when do you so i've i've been watching you play i'm watching a lot of videos if you

play right and i see a lot of times that that string is sort of underneath your

palm sort of i guess being muted because it's not being used how when do you use that string uh

we don't use it that often anymore so the letters it's it's not always just for playing

so earlier the veena was this dandy was made out of bamboo right

so there are three chickadees towards me in my side yeah so to counter that tension

from the other side there was this large otherwise the veena will start bending yeah one direction

yeah and in traditional style venus when they played like these they could play the flowers

like this oh okay with the pinky how acid alikhan plays and we when when we play we play we can play

with our thumbs we can also play like this but we don't use this that often anymore got it and

no it's just your bare fingers bare fingers with little bit of meat little nail okay

and then i would one of the things i noticed that's probably different than

than um sitar is it looks like you're using then your your pinkies and other fingers

maybe for your chikari strings is that correct yeah so we play with all ten fingers okay so

on this hand these two fingers they need and this is for the chick curry and

this finger this is used for different purposes okay and then we have certain strokes that

come with the thumb also like the push push stroke it can be done with the thumb or also from

this this joint here got it and we pull with all these three fingers on the left hand and then

for the large this finger and also this finger so all ten and in terms of the string configuration

are your like what are your lower strings closer to you or your lower strings further

away from you what's that further away it's it's the reverse of how sitars are okay see

the strings are arranged so we have the main string the bar string up on the top then the judy

then the pancham and then the courage towards the lower side got it and it is what's the

reasoning for that is it just because of the love the bending that's required or the bending the

bending is it also to sort of when you're on your main plane string your hand is able to sort of

um deaden the other strings underneath to keep them yes that is also there

that is also there because on veena we don't want any other unnecessary strings to ring

because that will disrupt the surah and the shruti okay that's why we don't have any theraps on

yeah there's no sympathetic strings on it right no no no now the that so

then my next question then about that would be your bridge the jawari on that is that

relatively closed then or how is that shaped it's shaped there are many different ways of

having the beach so usually the traditional bridges we will have a what we call a step java

there will be four steps for each stream oh okay but i don't use that step jawari and the jawari

it's basically up to the artists so if you listen to all the traditional veena players say like

or jyoti their jawari is more on the open side and in the darker style venus if you listen to barius

their jawari is little bit more closed i kind of like a more balanced kind of it's neither too open

nor too close and it all depends on what kind of a sound you want to have and what kind of a sound

suits your veena so on my vine if i close my jaw too much i won't be able to play anything after

that yeah or if i open too much it will sound awesome and and for anyone who doesn't know

open versus closed on the jawari is how much sort of buzz you're getting from your strings yeah and

those additional sort of harmonics that come out as a result of that um yeah and and it does does

the sustain on your instrument seems to be also quite long and yeah what are some of the main

things that like affect that is that the bridge or is it more the mass of the instrument or how

hollow it is like what are some i know that we don't want to go all over all of the above okay

so uh see usually all the darker venus they are much longer than my instrument because all

the dagger vena players are usually men okay so i could not handle that big of a instrument so i had

to shrink my instrument down but still i wanted to have that long system so i i just increased

the hollow inside the dundee and the peacock by doing that i got still got that long sustain and

deep sound but with a much smaller instrument got it and that's really comes back to that

aspect of the instrument really being designed for the player for for your size and and then

modifying it to bring out those tones that that may change by changing the scale of the instrument

so it's very complicated it is it is it's not like western music at all no it's not something

you know like you can go into most music stores and you can buy a guitar or a violin

or you know but i assume that there's there's not a lot of places where you're just going to

walk in and pick up a rudra vena no no no no i guess then most music shops will not have

rudra vena on the shelf and even if there is a rudra on the shelf you should not buy that

because it's got to fit you yeah yes when we we had sort of a brief conversation earlier this week

in prepping for this interview and and one of the things i think you mentioned there was how

the instrument's a real extension of of your body of of the player i assume that's that size of the

instrument it's the way it's connected to your own size is is a big part of that yes yes definitely

yeah definitely and it's also said that like every other instrument you hold the instrument right

but you have to wear the rudrapina on your body like a piece of clothing or

something like that and you cannot play the veena just with your hands your entire body

has to be involved in that playing so uh even the legs they get involved the head the body we

have to control our breathing because everything affects the sound everything affects the surf

for those who don't know when you say it affects the sir can you sort of define what that that

means uh so rudra vena was never seen as a just a musical instrument it's it's a instrument where we

measure all the notes and all the placements of the notes in every rag and their swarasthans and

all the shrutis and all those kind of things it's you're saying that like the instrument itself is

used to measure sort of the divisions of the notes themselves yeah and i'm trying to i'll try to

translate this into sort of western music a bit so if if we're looking at saw on on your instrument

and that's um you know the the first note of your uh scale let's say so looking at where that the

octave is and then where that middle note is in all those divisions from there additionally

the you're when you're thinking of how the road ravine is built and played that sort of purity of

um pitch is that's a major part of it yes yes yes so the purity of peach that that is what is

measured on this instrument so that's why it was never considered just like an instrument

it's it's an instrument of measurement it's not a uh just it's a yantra basically yeah because i

when i think about like western music whether it's a guitar or a piano you know that um everything's

gone through temperament to sort of make that instrument play with other instruments in a band

so that the chords and the the everything sort of works together which means that everything is sort

of out of tune a little bit to make it sort of be in tune but on this instrument it's just pure

uh all the way yeah yeah so we don't play in tempered skill at all

and we are not trying to make it little bit out of tune to suit somewhere else

so that purity of that sure exact position where that source would be in this certain

that is what we are always trying to measure so because of that we all the subtle details of sur

and their shrutis and their movements they are very clearly visible on this instrument yeah um

for those who don't know when you say the shruti and i'm gonna try to define this you you tell me

if i've got it correct that is sort of like um the the if you have a note it's the range below and

above that note that's still that note before it turns into the next note correct yeah kind of but

it's not just that okay there are so many other aspects to shrutis so shruti how we define is the

lowest difference in a pitch that is audible to human ears and it can occur in many different ways

okay something that is very useful to us is just by moving our body or by moving the instrument

and there are certain rules to that we can change the shruti by moving the fingertips

adjusting the fingertips we can change the pitch and then uh by also breathing changing the way

we are breathing we can change that yeah there are different ways that the shruti can occur and

sometimes it's just very static sometimes it's it's in a flow and it's moving all around you

and the second one is what i like the most yeah i i you know we've i've said this before like i'm

just this student that's like struggling to try to understand even just of indian music right and um

but this concept of of the shruti and the note and it's that sort of fluidness that

oscillation or that that i don't know that quality of it coming in and moving through and in it

it's yet at the same time also it's is just straight on that's something that i've been

really fascinated with recently because there's so much to explore there and so many questions to ask

yeah so the possibilities of shrutis are basically infinite and yeah because there

are infinite possibilities there the possibility of questions are also infinite yes well we'll move

on so we don't get too far down the rabbit hole what what is i guess it's base sort of uh key you

know like what is your saw is that i mean like on my sitar my size tuned to d in western music

um what do you where is your instrument where does your my venus are tuned in the key of g g but

uh every instrument will not be tuned in g some instruments will be tuned a little higher so

maybe g sharp maybe a also some instruments will be tuned little lower so maybe f sharp

e so traditionally all the old traditional rudrapinas were tuned to eat

okay yeah so when but also developed the dagger style arena he put much thicker strings on and

tuned it much higher to the speech which all of us we kind of use these tests and and the

g that you're tuned to because you're playing with your your instrument your heart let's say

um it doesn't need to be like a western g like you play in a piano no no no no wherever that

g is that you define it to be and then all your yeah so that's divided out from there

correct yeah kind of kind of so sometimes we are in between g and g sharp or in between g

and f f sharp because how the weather also changes or how our body is on a certain day according to

that also we have to adjust the tuning little bit also depending on the rag that we are playing

according to that we have to change the tuning little bit and then even if the

instrument is tuned to 440 hearts and in g in the key of g suppose if i'm playing

like a my size going to become little lower if i'm playing a rag like tori

for example the size going to be a little higher even though it's in g

no matter how the popular belief is that psi is static scientifies are static but they're not in

every rag will also have its own swarasthana so abugi for example the size is very low

in today the size little bit on the higher side so that will also change raga to raga and

trying to sort of like compare that or like digest that um and this is maybe not a good example

so you correct me if i'm way off but that sort of a little bit reminds me of um

uh like uh arabic macam music where no no no no no okay it's not like that all right so why is it not

like that so in makkah music all those notes are in a way defined okay but here it's not defined

ever it's going to change every day it's going to change with the weather it's going to change

with how the player's body and mind is at a certain time and according to the

rag also it will change a little bit so may say for example in iraq the ray is very high

how much high that ray should be it's not really defined there is no way we can define them

so there are ways we can find our so if it's this much high it's going to be it's that much high

it's going to be some other so all the kannada rays will be around in this region all the malhar

rays will be around in this region but within that where exactly that will also vary artists

to artists okay because it's not set like like a piano key yeah this is this is there's a there's a

lot i'm like trying to absorb as always as best i can now so so you learned how to then build

these instruments you went in and studied that you tell me a little bit about that experience

what that was like yeah so the fast rudra vena i got made that was awful that was one of those

more standardized instruments and costed me a lot of money and i was still very young i could not

afford another rudra vena yeah so we found this guy he was a student of barius father so ziya yes

student pandit raj checkers he passed away

recently and he could teach how to make the rule reveal so because i could not afford to

buy another new one i went to him and asked if he would teach me how to make the rudra vino because

making it myself would be a hell lot cheaper yeah and and i would assume that

as your instrument needs repair and maintenance over the years that's probably a really helpful

set of skills to have yes yes definitely i i do my own jawari all the time and

it also helps me get good quality instruments made for my students because i know exactly

what they might need that's much more easier to modify their instruments according to their

body and their needs and their kind of music that they want to play now how long did you

study that for then was this like you went for a weekend or were you there for like

months or no no no no almost a month almost a month okay and

i mean cutting wood and carving things out like building from scratch yeah no i i

built that vina out of bamboo so cutting bamboo cutting wood also making this fretting system

and learning everything working with hand and i had no such experience so

that was not easy yeah i imagine like

you know i'm i'm not a very like i'm not you know i can do a few things around the house but

you know i'm i'm not going to build an instrument so i would imagine there's a big learning curve

to that to just jump in and yes yes yes but i had no other option i wanted to play the veena

i could not afford another good one and that being my first wina i could not play on that instrument

so i had no other option really i want to let everyone know too if you want to learn more about

how these instruments are made maravante you have a series of four or five videos i think

on your youtube channel that's going into all the details about building them and the various

different types of construction yeah um i found those really awesome and uh so i recommend it

thank you yeah i thought that was really great um so if people want to learn more about the details

definitely watch those um because you go into a lot more more depth there yeah now when you first

started learning music as a as a young kid um you originally started playing violin is that correct

no i started with singing i i started with kayal okay and then but then what happened was i could

not relate to the lyrics and i knew that okay singing is not even though i had a good voice

back then yeah i knew that singing is not for me and then i switched to violin and then it went on

now you you were a student of the sitar mintanag correct is that yes and did you ever study sitar

with her or did you just study music with her no i never studied sitar like so called in a

very typical way sure because i i started learning violin when i went to her i was pretty much

proficient with the violin okay so she would play on the sitar and i would copy that on the violin

and then i was anyways very much interested in the drupal badge and i i her grandfather showed

and the entire family is known for sort of like playing the drupal baj on their

i was always fascinated with that those qualities i could never play on the violin and

there was this thing like ah so there is no way i'm going to be able to learn

and one day we were having this discussion and she said so uh

she played the surbahar beautifully so why don't you try rudra if you really want to play drupal

why don't you play the mother of all instruments and i was like who will teach you

will you teach me she was yeah i will teach you no problem and basically with her encouragement i

started playing the rules that's i really liked that now what was it so you started with kyle

singing but you wanted to learn drupad so what so i guess first question is um what is drupad

and am i saying that correctly yes dhrupad again it traces its origin back to the sound veda

so the samagan and then the chandagan all these accumulated together into the raga music and

became this most ancient form of indian classical music that we know as drupal

so it has a very long alarm which is divided into sections and then there is a composition

which has four parts usually there can be also of two parts the entire music apart from just the

composition part the entire thing is improvised and it was never meant for entertainment

it was always meant for spiritual growth and it was always meant for in a way uh for nadi yoga

for getting connected to that ultimate truth of life and and um so would you say that that

the and i'm overly simplifying but it's a it's a much more meditative approach to music and and

so it it is meditative that's one of the greatest qualities of that's one of the greatest qualities

of flute arena it's never going to be so fancy like pop music and yeah you feel like dancing

that's never going to happen yeah i mean and another good quality it has so many people if

they're stressed or they're in anxiety they get so relaxed many people they just fall asleep and for

it's somehow seen as a bad thing but is it really a bad thing no i don't i i actually

there's a um a panoramic shankar tells this story in his autobiography of performing um this

in a lop and everyone falls asleep and that was and that's such a great thing and but but

that his western audience is they don't understand that and um no they do they really do i i don't

believe that western audience don't believe that because i also have a lot of audience in the west

yeah yeah well i mean that's the thing i like so much about it is drupad music or performances um

is that quality of the pacing of it is so calm and relaxing but it really feels like

there's a lot of time spent exploring each phase uh of the alappoo and yes you know

there's no rush to get through it in a sense yeah it's um so it's very it can be very rewarding

when you do get all the way through it even more so because you've spent so much time to get there

yeah so i think i know the answer to this but just to to get it on record if someone wants to

learn how to play this instrument should they buy an instrument or should they find a teacher first

so before finding the teacher there is another step okay first they have to understand what

style they want to play hmm so someone wants to play the traditional style rudra vena and they for

a teacher they approach or me it's not going to work so first identify the style that you want to

follow then within that style whoever are teaching approach them and then they will sort of tell you

from where you should get the instrument made and how you should get the instrument man because all

of us we have a certain sound that we like we have certain qualities of the instrument that we want

so it's better to always ask the guru for their recommendations from where they should get the

instrument made because this happens like i get this kind of questions like they want to

someone wants to learn and they have a traditional root arena and want to

play my kind of music it's not possible on a traditional root reveal which is what someone

has a darker style with ravina and they want to play like this they will have a lot of pain

got it first identify the style that someone is willing to learn and then approach the guru

and from after that get the instrument in it now what would you say then are the the

two main styles that exist uh it's not two main styles there are three styles okay well

what are the three see i don't know you have to you have to teach me yeah maravanti teach me so

so all the rudra vena it comes from khandarwani everything after mistressing some of the other

styles got combined into that and rest of the styles evolved so the first style that the

authentic khandar bani which assad ali khan used to play which is almost absolute now unfortunately

was the traditional rudra then there is definitely darker style so the darker style of drupal sinking

combined with the veena is dargah style and then the senia harana the gorham or tansen's

singing style combined with that was the senior gharana and vishnupur is an extension of that

where i come from got it got it wait so so your audio cut out for a second

what was the name of the guarana uh so the third one is tansen's lineage okay

yeah constance the gorham uh david khan was the last veena player of that authentic god harbani

and vishnu then was another of the senior families developed by bahadur khan or bahadur singh

and i belong to that and i also learnt in tagalog style so i'm kind of a hybrid between hybrid sure

um so so i mean it's a big instrument and it's customized to your size so what age can someone

start start to learn so the youngest student i have she started learning when she was 15.

15 okay and the oldest student on vienna that i have she started playing when she was 16. okay

now so there is no age barrier now your 15 year old student if she grows more she'll get a new

instrument though right yeah yeah so uh now she's about 18 years old and she's grown a little taller

and she has become much more stronger so we have to make her a new instrument so then next sort of

step is okay let's say someone really wants to learn to play this they know their style um or

they're they they're they're still trying to just figure things out but they want to take lessons

i know you teach what is the best way for a person to contact you if they wanted to take lessons from

you they can contact me on the website on my website and that's created by another of one of

my students and he plays the suruba okay you also i think you have heard him is that name uh jimmy

yeah okay so he designed this website so that students can easily find me

and they can either write there or they can contact me over instagram or facebook or

yeah okay so i got introduced to you by youtube and you came up with some recommended

video and and i like rudravina and i was like oh what's this you know and i i listen to it

and then i listen to a bunch of your performances and they're all really well done they're the sound

quality is great and and um image quality is very nice but then the playing is of course the

big thing and i think you play really fantastic and seeing it it um it's just it's a pleasure to

re to listen to you what what inspired you though to decide to put performances on youtube and sort

of give concerts in a way online for that people could watch ah there were many things basically so

still rudra vena is a very male dominated instrument

and then the entire field of trooper and indian classical music it's still dominated by men

because of all these reasons there is no way no matter how good

a woman instrumentalist might be they have very less opportunity to perform on stage

so it was kind of a way of rebelling against that and i was like okay so i don't need a

stage anymore we have youtube okay i'll just put there and if people want to listen they

will anyways listen yeah yeah and then when the lockdown happened last year someone challenged me

someone definitely man because they thought it's impossible for uh rudra been a player to

record on a daily basis for 21 days and it was a challenge thinking that i will fail horribly

and then you how did that go did you got a good reception to that i've seen one of your videos yes

yes has quite a 27 000 views or something right yeah yeah so i i all those videos were very well

received and that actually inspired me to become little bit more serious about youtube oh okay

because before that it was nothing that serious actually so and then all these things happened and

there is nowhere to perform because so why not perform on youtube yeah i mean i think it's i

mean personally as someone who gets to listen i mean thank you because otherwise i would

have never been able to hear all this music what what are sort of those then future goals for you

as a performer and and uh youtuber and with you know lockdowns and all that stuff sort of in the

situation not being able to to perform live what do you sort of see as the future for yourself as a

as a musician or as a teacher what has helped me during this lockdown

that's that's what kept me going and that's what kept me motivated during all these hard times so

yeah i definitely want to teach a lot more people because you know why rudra veena kind of got

absolute was also because many of the teachers they denied teaching students and that's still

a problem for many students they approach someone and they just say no no i i i don't want to teach

you so my motive is basically like i'm not going to deny anyone if anyone wants to learn everyone

is welcome yeah maybe next year or next to next year when this orbit situation is little bit

over i might go uh on a wall store and perform small small small small concepts here and there

so you you mentioned a bit about how drupad and rudravina is very male dominated and i assume

instrument making is also probably very male dominated yeah yeah how has that been as a

as a woman sort of in the the the space of indian classical music i know like there's been a lot of

um you know harsh realities of that sort of coming into the news in the last year um with me too and

all these things what's sort of your experience been as a woman yeah so this is not something

new actually this has been happening throughout the generations although senior musicians they

are also senior women musicians whether they're singers or instrumentalists they are also sharing

that their experience has not been any different from what we are experiencing because now we have

this acceptance more and the society is more open we can really talk about these things that's why

these things are coming out more openly nowadays but this has been present throughout generations

yeah i'm actually in a way also lucky because my primary guru has always been a woman

so i i was safe in a way because of that also yeah and that would be um vedic nag correct yes yes

and and she's she still would be your guru would you say then she is she is she is still my guru

i'm still studying under her yes sort of people are becoming more aware about how

these the sexual harassment and these other things have been going on for such a long time

how do you view that as a as a challenge or how that will change the guru disciple relationship

going forward the moment we we think of someone as a guru we kind of forget that

they're also human beings we just make them sit on a pedestal and then uh we we just start

we kind of close my eyes and we don't look at their mistakes anymore that needs to

stop if someone is doing something wrong which is making you uncomfortable maybe he's not the right

guru for you maybe you should go to someone else being devoted to your guru is very important but

if the relationship itself is getting abused then there is no it's like a abusive relationship

yeah i think would you be in a toxic and abusive relationship yeah it's not hard it's the same

thing here yeah yeah i think it's going to be hard but then we have to be strong also

there's no other way do you think that there's a um i'm trying what the right right word is but

you know to to leave your guru and to try to go somewhere else and find a new guru to teach you

do you feel that that's sort of a hard thing for for people to do or for that new guru to

take you on because they don't know yes yes yeah definitely it's very hard and see even though if

the guru has done something terrible but their teachings they don't become false like right

all the music that they have shared all the knowledge that they have shared they're still true

outside of music they're doing something which is very wrong but the knowledge that they're sharing

is still pure knowledge maybe because there is a toxic situation which is getting built up there

so you need to get out of there but that does not mean that you have to deny that teaching now yeah

i think that's not possible i think that's what makes it so tragic and so complicated

horrible in a way is that you know that information which may be very valid and

well taught and well understood is so tainted by other traumas

that someone may have had to endure yeah now for for yourself have there ever been moments in your

uh time as as a as a student or someone learning the music your journey where you

just felt like stopping or wanting to to give up or any major setbacks that you had to endure

there were many such things actually fortunately i was never sexually harassed by my gurus

but uh apple from sexual harassment as a woman musician as a woman instrumentalist and as a woman

is woman rudra been a player there are different other challenges that we have to face right

so most other rudra vena players are almost double of my age so to be considered as a good musician

sort of in this instrument you have to first become very old sure otherwise you are no good

so those kind of things those are frustrating frustrating because uh no matter how good maybe

you are sometimes there will always be this kind of people who will discourage you so badly yeah

they no matter how good you play they will criticize something which is just not fair

so my body is different my instrument is different why don't i sound like someone

else why should i sound like someone else yeah yeah if i'm not sounding like someone else then

i'm not playing the authentic vina that's actually more disheartening for me

do you feel like you have to prove yourself all the time to to be taken yeah definitely

definitely yeah all the time it's it's like someone if even if a man underperforms in the

same concert they can get away with it so much more easily and even if they perform very well

just one small mistake people will just point out that and poke that a lot and

because everything is improvised there can be just a hand slip once in a while

so if it's a man they might just overlook that on my hands they will always point out ah you miss

there do you think that the the this will change in the future do you think that that women who are

are trying to to be musicians and learn and have gurus do you think that this level of

of harassment or or invalidation do you see that changing in any short term yes yes yes yes i see

that changing and we are moving towards a much more positive future for sure because previously

when i was a young kid and wanted to learn intravenous most of the people they said no no

we don't teach women we don't teach without these certain kind of backgrounds and these and that

but then now people accept students more because i was rejected by so many people i have this motto

that i won't reject anyone women never knew that they could speak up and their voices will be hard

now for a fact we know that our voices will be hard so because of all this me to movement

more women are now aware of this thing and it's not normal anymore previously people

would try to make these things seem normal in a way yeah but now they know that okay this

is wrong and this should not be happening i was going to say do you think that the the the male

performers or teachers who've abused the system in us in a way have taken advantage over time

you think they'll face any sort of punishment or they'll they'll see less bookings for concerts or

do you think that that'll be overlooked uh i think this bookings for concerts and all these things

will be overlooked yeah but the students who start learning they will be more aware of to whom to go

to yeah if i know that this guy is going to try to sexually abuse me i will definitely not go to that

guy right so i i would choose someone who might not do that and now in the united states like

major celebrities here if their whole careers have been ruined and people have gone to jail and so

forth do you think that's going to happen in india in in the indian classical music scene or do you

think that that's if that happens that is the most ideal thing it might take some time but i i also

believe that there is a huge possibility that that might happen and i really want also that to happen

yeah to all of those who have abused their power and who have done and it's not one or two people

there are so many hundreds of such people yeah you feel it's really pervasive in the whole industry

yeah yeah yeah and it's it's not just this generation it has been happening throughout

the generations sure well i'm going to try to change topics to something a little more

positive yeah that's nice that would be so nice let's talk a bit about um your your guru mittanag

what has that experience been like what are some of the things that she's

taught you that go beyond just um the instrument any sort of i mean i would imagine very profound

impact on your life yes yeah so the basic thing that she has taught me is how to live a life

how to stay grounded how to stay humble and how not to bend your head how how to keep the head

held high and be strong in difficult times as a woman i think that's also what made the

foundation in my belief that uh when we are trying to teach this music we are not limited in a music

we are not trying to teach just the music it's a philosophy it's a lifestyle that's that we're

trying to at least get you to understand yeah that's totally i i learned that totally from her

even now she lives a very humble and grounded life and even though she's that big of a artist

she's still like a very simple person she is my guru but she treats me like a younger sister and

she treats me like with all that care and i i i call her my dede my girl sister

if if she was not there i might never become a rudra veena player mom yeah i might

never start teaching if she was not there i might not even be who i am

today so you know the entire credit to my existence goes to me it goes beyond just

play these notes like this it's yeah so much and she never asked me to copy her playing at all she

always encouraged me to play how i should she always guided me how things should be but then

she never asked me to copy exactly like her she would give me the philosophy she would

give me all the materials yeah yeah and the ingredients to cook a very nice dish but then

she will also write down the recipe but i can give my own inputs into that and make the recipe my own

yeah make it your own that's fantastic can i be supposed to ask you to just play a little bit

for people so they can hear what it sounds like uh okay okay i know i'm putting you on the spot

yeah i know so let me look and fully aware that it's not an optimal you know recording experience

but just so that people can can can hear a little bit and see a bit more of what we've been

talking about can you hear the thumbnail i don't know how the balance is going to be on your side

how is the balance that's good that's good so which

we wanted um how about uh do you wanna play some ragyaman is that all right

um

um

um

hmm

okay

oh

um

oh

wow wow that was fantastic thank you thank you i i selfishly picked yaman because

that's the one i know the most so i wanted to sort of really absorb as much as possible

that was really great though thank you so much thank you could you could you see those

different truthies and movements yes yes yes so let me point this out yes many people there

is this popular belief that you have to be very much strange to be able to even hear those things

the fact is if done properly everyone can hear those things

so you don't have to be very classically trained and all those things and a very big knowledgeable

person of indian music to understand or enjoy the small subtle differences you can anyways here

yeah no yeah so most people they kind of get intimidated by these popular beliefs

i just wanted to point that out no i mean i'm also watching you and it's it's really apparent that

you've put in a lot of a lot of hours practicing because your control is just so you have a lot of

control but we cannot practice a lot on the future because this instrument is so heavy and so big

we eight hours practice is impossible sure the highest that i could ever go was probably three

hours oh wow so so do then do you practice a lot sort of vocally or what's the the focus then

either vocally or a lot of thinking about the music so because on veena our tayari should not

ever become the foreground thing if you practice too much also then our hands will kind of take

over we don't want that on veena yeah okay i give it to you we don't want to be able to play those

fast chances or we don't want to play a very fast challah or things like that at all yes and and is

that because of the drupal influence drupal and spirituality all those things together it's a nice

music but it's not also meant for entertainment we don't want your heart to get pumping

get relaxed and calm down and forget your anxiety and think about it so if i start playing

so fast your heart will heartbeat will go fast yes yes but you do have a jala movement correct

we have challenges we have actually many different kinds of jobs but it's just not that you see that

it's just not as intensely fast as let's say on a sitar would be or so let's say yeah yeah in a

way it should not be that intensely fast so there are still some challenges which are supposed to

be little faster but usually it should not be very fast well thank you so much for doing this i've um

i've learned a ton of information and i i really appreciate you you being so open about

all the different topics we discussed i know sometimes some people want to keep all

all the secrets and and don't want to share them and i feel like you've been very open about um

all the details you know and if you want to learn more they should they should take lessons from you

they should find you and and get some lessons um yeah thank you very much i have one last question

sure what is your favorite food uh in bengal we have a rice porridge called

okay made out of very small grained rice okay the rice is cooked and it's in a rice porridge

kind of consistency little bit salt little bit ghee that's it okay so that's kind of

yeah well thank you again is there anything i missed anything you want to add anything you want

to say yeah thank you for having me and thank you for uh asking all these questions and bearing with

me for all this long no no talking about all those serious stuffs i think people will really enjoy

this interview and um and i want to encourage people to obviously go to madivanti's youtube

channel and subscribe watch all her videos um and follow you on on facebook and instagram as well

right you said you have channels there yeah yeah yes and i'll put links for all that stuff below

i think i think that's it yeah okay so thank you for having me and uh i hope to see you again

yeah soon sometimes yes we will we should do a follow-up to this all right i'm gonna

wave goodbye yeah bye-bye have a nice uh day yes you are still in the morning time

yeah have a nice day afternoon yes perfect all right there we go that's our interview

The Description of What is a Rudra Veena? The BIGGEST string instrument! Madhuvanti Interview