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Music wherever she goes - by Anita Nair
Bahrain: 12 Dec 2006 [Bahrain Tribune]

“There were days when I used to get up at 3 am to practice and then rush around to prepare everybody for office and school”. It is a classic story of a talented woman’s life; juggling many responsibilities, being a wife and mother and holding tight to the artistic side that nurtures her.

They are the words of Padmini Rao, a renowned Hindustani vocalist who is performing in Bahrain after a gap of 12 years. Known for her musical prowess, Padmini infuses her music with a rare passion and has left no stone unturned to achieve the position she so rightfully deserves.

An admirable student and a disciple par excellence, this musical exponent from the Kirana Gharana will surely do her Gurus proud.

“Any Hindustani Classical singer is known by the name of the Gharana and the name of their Guru [teacher]” Padmini says with pride. A disciple of the Dhrupad and Rudra Veena maestro Ustad Z M Dagar and the renowned maestro Dr. Prabha Atre, she has performed extensively in India, US and Europe, especially in Germany. She takes the extra effort to nurture and propagate this traditional music of India, which is the only country in the world to have two distinct and highly systematized forms of classical music.

“My experience while performing in Germany was pretty interesting as most of the audience was German and when your medium of expression is vocal music, the ‘saahitya’ [literature] has more ethnic connotations which need some explanations “

She talks in retrospection about the open-mindedness of the Western audiences and their immense respect for the performing artistes. “They are very receptive to different genres of music” she adds.

Starting training at a very early age, she learnt the intricacies of the different complex Hindustani ragas and sings with absolute finesse. ‘I don’t think traditional music will ever die out, although it has to be admitted that a little more effort has to be taken to listen to classical music” she said sounding optimistic. The fact cannot be ignored that there are more takers for film music these days.
“I don’t look down on any kind of music,” she says and comments, “Even though one may not understand the language of singing, the art can still be appreciated. The explanation will only enhance the enjoyment for the uninitiated ear.”

Her advice to aspiring artistes and also the number of women who waste their talent by not practicing - Padmini says “Never lose sight of your goals and if you have the courage of conviction, even the impossible can be attained.”

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