By Kishori Sud
Gwalior- His expertise lies in three gharanas — Farrukhabad, Banarasi and Punjab — and he received the Bal Shree Award in 2012. Anshul Pratap Singh, 21-year-old tabla player, says tabla is a major trend today and very popular with the youth.
Pratap Singh, who has been playing tabla for 15 years, is the youngest artiste to get a chance to play at the prestigious Tansen Music Festival this year.
After giving a high octane performance with other artistes, including Pakhawaj player Rishi Shankar Upadhyay, at the 93rd edition of the music festival here, Pratap Singh spoke to IANS at length, tracing his growth in the profession so far.
“Today boys younger than me are exploring the world of tabla professionally and they are really good. I know of boys who are playing the instrument well even when they are just in fourth standard,” Pratap Singh told IANS.
“These days tabla is a popular instrument as it is being explored the most among the younger generation. Today it’s a major trend. And they play beautifully. They are even trying new things on the tabla like I tried the damru and shankh piece during my performance here,” he added.
Pratap Singh, who learnt tabla from his father and started playing when he was just four, believes the art and guts to innovate pieces during performances comes from a lot of practice.
“It is said that even if you give one hour to your practice daily but with all your heart then it’s sufficient… I do practice for seven to eight hours everyday but it’s all about how much of your soul is truly involved. Some people practice just for the heck of it as well but if not with full dedication then what is the point,” he asked.
Studying civil engineering at the moment, Pratap Singh went to Khairagarh University to learn from Mukul Bale, a tabla lecturer, for eight years.
He believes education and having a degree in hand is important no matter how established you are.
“Engineering isn’t my back up plan but in my household, my mother believes that it is important to have a degree in hand, keeping an unknown future in mind,” he said.
“Earlier artistes did not believe in that but today having a degree is a must. You get your education and then excel in what your passion is.”
“Today you will see a lot of artistes who are balancing two professions, with one being the bread earner and other fulfilling your passion even after making a big name. A back up plan is very important,” said Pratap Singh, who has been learning the art in Mumbai from tabla maestro Zakir Hussain’s brother Yogesh Samsi for almost four years.