Sitar player Sanskrati Wahane was discovered through a raw, unedited video posted in 2016. Only 18 at the time, the unassuming video shot by her father during a run-of-the-mill practice session at their home left classical connoisseurs in awe.
Wahane’s style is characterised by her commitment to maintaining the purity of the raga, gayaki and tantrakari ang. In fact, she believes the balance between the right and left hand to be the most distinguishing feature of her gharana—the Etawah gharana.
Now 23, Wahane started playing when she was only five. She remembers her first lesson as if it were yesterday. “I was too small to hold the instrument,” she laughs, “And it wasn’t even like I had a mini sitar. If anything, it was probably on the bigger end. My hand didn’t reach, so I used to strategically place a chair and pillow. It took months just to learn how to hold it!” She has pursued her music studies in college as well, and recently graduated with a degree in sitar studies.
Her passion, however, lies in upholding tradition and preserving the art form for future generations. “Ragas are the soul of classical music,” she says, “Beautiful varieties shine through, and they’re mentally fulfilling.”
Wahane has won the first position in the All India Radio competition in 2017 by Prasar Bharti’ she has also received the Shri Ravi Koppiker Memorial Award in the category of Hindustani Instrumental Music Plucked Instrument–Sitar, by the ITC Sangeet Research Acamdemy in 2018.
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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