Hindustani Classical singer Aradhana Karhade’s melodious voice holds the audience spellbound and the desire for ‘Yeh Dil Maange More’ is always there in her Baithaks. Speaking exclusively to Natyahasini ahead of the 12th anniversary celebrations of Lamakaan, Hyderabad-based Aradhana Karhade, says that Cultural Events have just started after a lull of two years. “I had performed at a ticketed event in December last, and the music lovers had turned up with COVID precautions. The distances are being maintained and there is always a distance between the stage and audience. There will be no danger to artists, if COVID protocols are followed,” she says.
The classical singer shares that the two years of COVID was tough as one had to practice with machines – with music on ipads. “The fun of practicing live with co-artists on a Tanpura and Tabla is different. One can’t experiment with machines, but experiments done with co-artists brings in a different energy,” says the musician. She goes on to add: “Sometimes when we practice during late hours, we do on the ipads only.”
Aradhana confesses that when initial lockdown was declared, she had not taken any online classes for a month as she was a little apprehensive about how it would go. “My students came forward and convinced me to take classes online. Today, still some students prefer to take classes online as they state that it helps them to save time in travelling though, they are staying in the same city. I still feel physical classes definitely have a tremendous aura and give immense satisfaction,” she says.
Learning Sketching: A Grade artist of All India Radio, Aradhana reveals that during the COVID times, she also ticked an item on her bucket list. “I began learning drawing, to be exact Pencil Sketching under Mr. Karan Singh. He is too good. Now, I can clearly distinguish any object through my sketching be it a potato or a stone. I think I am able to make that characterisation description,” she says humbly.
Taking a peep into her learning journey, Aradhana says that being born into a musical family, learning music was natural and not a choice. Like most of us learn our first words from mother, Aradhana learnt music initially from her mother late Smt. Usha Karhade and then came under the tutelage of her father Late Dr. N K Karhade. She gave her first stage performance at the age of seven years. “At that age there is no stage fear, one learns and performs. It is only as you grow up, the fears begin of ‘What will people think’, ‘Will I sing properly’ and so on.” She feels fortunate and privileged to be a student of Late Pandit Vasantrao Rajurkar and Smt. Dr. Sudha Patwardhan of Pune.
The Karhades have been running the Gandharava Mahavidyalaya in Ramkote for some decades. Though, today the school is under renovation, many singers who have learnt here are making the school and Dr. Karhade proud. After his tenure with IAF, Aradhana’s brother Suresh Karhade also teaches at the school. Aradhana reminisces that as a 22-year-old she began her teaching journey at the Gandharava Mahavidyalaya. “After my father’s death, I began teaching his students and the journey continues,” she says. For the past 12 years, Aradhana has been taking classes at Lamakaan – open cultural centre too. She has 45 students and she takes group classes which last for 90 minutes and solo classes that last for an hour. “Students must have knowledge in music and enjoy it, certifications will follow later,” she states.
The classical singer decoding a music evening says: “One begins with Vilambit Khayal- to build the tempo, followed by Madhyalaya – Dhrut Khayal which lasts for 40 minutes approx., then a 10-minute Raag contrast and a light classical piece.” She further states that today, people have knowledge in music, because they are listening to music and sometimes, they come up with their requests. “Some of them lack patience and request for faster beat. Nowadays, we ourselves have also made some changes and if one makes more changes then the Hindustani classical music will lose its heart,” she explains.
For any artist – be it musician or dancer, Aradhana advices students to follow discipline and spontaneity and not look for quick results. “Follow your work honestly and with passion, results will follow,” she says.