Known for his soulful rendition of bhajans and khayals, Madhup Mudgal received his initial training in music from his late father, Vinay Chandra Maudgalya, then Vasant Thakar and also from Kumar Gandharva. Mudgal has several compositions to his credit and is also the force behind the Gandharva choir.
Last week, this self-effacing vocalist performed with his sister, the well-known Odissi dancer Madhavi Mudgal in the Parampara 2006 festival in New Delhi. This is one among several such collaborations the brother-sister duo has executed.
Priya Kanungo caught up with the vocalist, who currently heads one of Delhi’s oldest and well-known music schools, the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya (founded by his father).
Proud of the fact that the Vidyalaya now manages solely on the fees paid by its 1200 music and dance students, Mudgal is excited about the three new floors that are being added to the institution. These floors will be used for dance classes and there will be a small auditorium for music concerts too.
Mudgal spoke about the jugalbandi with his sister and future plans about the Vidyalaya. Some excerpts:
How had the performance with Madhavi Mudgal been structured? Was there any difference between performing solo as against performing with a dancer?
When the organisers— Kuchipudi dancers, Radha and Raja Reddy approached us—we were told that all the items would require a dancer to perform with either a vocalist or an instrumentalist. Many of Madhavi’s dance items have been set to my music compositions. So for us, this was not really a first time. The challenge was in the last piece of the performance. It was a composition in Bhairavi for which we had not rehearsed earlier. The idea was that I would sing extempore and she would do abhinaya in response to the lines that I sang. This could have been tricky. But the good thing is that since we have been working together since childhood, we more or less knew how the other is going to respond.
Singing solo gives you the freedom to take off from where you wish to, and Hindustani classical music is structured that way. But when I have to sing for a dancer, the entire music is fixed—the number of repetitions of the lines; how long to pause between music phrases, etc. In a way aap bandh jaate ho (you get tied down).
Has the student profile changed over the years in Gandharva