At university, Prakrati Wahane is an English Literature student. But at home, she is a dedicated disciple and the first female player of the santoor in her entire Ehtawa gharana.
Surprisingly, however, the santoor was not her first choice. “I actually started out learning sitar,” she shares, after which she moved on to the harmonium before discovering her love for the santoor. “Whatever instrument you play, there’s a handful of phrases or bundles of notes,” she explains, meaning that her hard word on different instruments ultimately provided her finger and hand strength, as well as sustained practice.
Starting her lessons with her father at a very young age, she laughs as she recalls, “I used to have sitting or baithak practice.” Her persistence paid off, and Wahane has won the first position in the All India Radio competition in 2018 by Prasar Bharti’ she has also received the Blue Star Award in the category of Hindustani Instrumental Music Plucked Instrument–Santoor, held in NCPA, Mumbai.
“We’ve recontextualised the teachings of the Ehtawa gharana for my instrument,” she says.
About the Wahane sisters:
Even before becoming a father, Lokesh Wahane was certain he’d have daughters. In fact, he had his daughters’ names picked out before their birth: Prakrati and Sanskrati; nature and culture.
His musically gifted daughters have lived up to the individual and joint potency and symbolism of their names. The Wahane sisters have been trained by their father Lokesh Wahane and are currently being taught by the legendary Ustad Shahid Parvez and Pandit Suresh Talwalkar. They are part of the Etawah gharana. They view this music talim as Sanskar, a Hindi word referring to enhancing ones virtues and obliterating any personality defects. They encourage artists and creators to remain steadfast in their pursuit of creation, and never let commercialism sway their instinctive impulse: “The art gets polluted,” they believe.
Though their training, which commenced at a very young age, was rigorous—they often refrained from participating in sports to ward off the potential for injuries and subsequent disruption in their riyaz schedule, and have sometimes had to prioritise their music education over their conventional degrees—they have blossomed into self-assured and driven young women ready to take the world by storm.
“Many people can’t seem to digest or accept the fact that as young women, we can learn and play. They think strength is required, and that boys have more physical stamina. They believe only boys can be recipients of this knowledge, but our dad never compared us with boys. We want to break stereotypes.”
Both sisters have represented the National Youth Festival in 2018 and 2019, and performed at multiple festivals and music tributes. They will be making their UK debut at Darbar Festival 2022.
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