New Delhi, March 10 : He may hold a Doctorate degree in Management and several years might have been spent in a top advertising firm, but the magic of Dhrupad never left Sumeet Anand Pandey even for a moment. So much so, that he quit his cushy job to pursue the art form full-time.
Born in a family of established musicians, both his paternal and maternal have devoted their lives to music. While he received his initial training from both his grandfathers – his paternal one, Birendra Mohan Pandey, who taught him dhrupad, khayal, semi-classical and devotional music since childhood, much guidance also came from his maternal grandfather Pandit Siyaram Tiwari, a noted vocalist of Darbhanga Dhrupad tradition from time to time. “This continued for over a decade, all through my school life,” he remembers.
Adding that there was no pressure to pursue music despite coming from such a family, he elaborates, “Even learning it was mainly out of my own interest. During childhood, our grandparents would make us all siblings sit in a group to learn classical music, but gradually others slipped out and I was the only one who continued.”
Although focussed on Dhrupad, Pandey, who frequently collaborates with musicians from other genres and likes to listen to all kinds of music – classical and folk, both Indian or western, says, “I feel it’s enriching to interact and collaborate with other musicians. It definitely opens the mind and creative pores.”
After finishing high school in Patna, Pandey, who came to Delhi University for graduate studies and made friends with some students who played the guitar and drums, recalls, “We instantly clicked. I complimented their western/rock musical ideas with my Indian classical and film music sensibilities. It was wonderful to play popular covers as well as some originals in college fests.”
Pandey, who was part of the recently organised HCL Concerts’ ‘Baithak’ feels that the corporate house has been doing exemplary work to promote classical Indian arts and artists for a long time now. “However, it is important that more corporates come forward in support of Indian art and culture.”
Also a festival curator and organiser, the musician says that being involved in several diverse things does not take away his focus from music. “I always wished to contribute to music, both as a performer as well as professionally. I feel I am blessed to have a unique combination of skills across music and management. And, I put them to the service of music not just to grow as an artist but also contribute to the field by creating opportunities for other artists by bringing their music to more audiences.”
Currently working on multiple international collaboration projects, Pandey is also spending time to teach music to students from across the globe through the online platform. “Also, I am the co-founder and secretary of Pandit Siyaram Tiwari Memorial Sangeet Trust. As part of that, we organise both online and offline music festivals bringing emerging as well as established artists of vocal, instrumental and dance music under Geetam Vadyam Nrityam series.”