Uday Bhawalkar is a standard bearer for Dhrupad, and a strong force in its growing recognition and popularity. Uday believes that in total immersion in note and raga the self disappears, and music takes on its own existence - The principle of ‘darshan’. These values are helping him on the path of devotion to Dhrupad.
Dhrupad is one of the oldest forms of North Indian classical music and Uday maintains this old form’s majesty and subtle nuances. Uday Bhawalkar has developed a personal style deeply embedded in raga ras and bhaav, bringing a creative melodic touch within the precise intonation and pronunciation of the Dhrupad style.
He spent over 12 years studying and living in the traditional guru-shishya parampara with Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar (Vocal) and Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar (Rudra-Veena), the towering pillars of the Dhrupad tradition. During this period there was a simple and complete concentration on the music itself. This intensity of relationship, in which the Ustads gave willingly of their inner secrets and Uday devoted himself to music, brought him to a deep sense of completeness and wholeness. The most significant episode of this period, which inspired Uday for life, was when Ustad Nasir Aminuddin Dagar, the eldest of the Dagar family, on first hearing Uday’s performance in 1987, blessed him with a Gold Medal.
Uday has an engaging style and is able to reach out and communicate with audiences of all backgrounds. He is a very sensitive teacher and has a devoted following of students committed to pursuing the path of Dhrupad. His workshops are always stimulating and he is supportive of all participants efforts whether professional musicians or small children who sit in his lap!
Uday has also received prestigious awards including the Kumar Gandharva Samman given by the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh (2001) and the Raza Foundation Award (2007) given personally by S.H. Raza the famous painter.
Uday has been blessed by Ustad Zakir Hussain who accompanied him on the Pakhawaj at Prithvi Music Festival Mumbai. Pandit Suresh Talwalkar and Shri Sukhvinder Singh Namdhari have also accompanied Bhawalkar on the tabla in prestigious concerts.
The most important thing for Uday is to gain a state of ”‘sahaj”, to be equally at ease at concerts large or small, or at home with his students. Every musical act is a blessing and a stage on his life’s journey !
Having given his first performance in 1985, Uday has since performed regularly at major festivals in India and abroad like Tansen Samaroh - Gwalior, Harballabh Sangeet Mahasabha - Jalandhar, Saptak Music Festival - Ahemdabad, Sawai Gandhrava Sangeet Mahotsava - Pune, ITC SRA Sangeet Sammelan- Kolkata, Samrat Sangeet Mahotsav – Goa, International Voice Festival - Rotterdam & Barcelona, Sangeet Parampara Festival – Berlin, World Music Festival – Switzerland, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room - London, Darbar festival UK, 2008, 2011 to name a few.
Uday has contributed to the soundtracks of International Art films including Mani Kaul`s “Cloud Door”, Aparna Sen’s “Mr & Mrs Iyer”, Amol Palekar’s “Anahat” and Renuka Shahane’s “RITA” etc.
Uday has collaborated with artists from other disciplines and cultures including the contemporary dancer Astad Deboo, Ensemble Modern in Germany and musicians from Spain and USA. Universities in Europe and USA have hosted his workshops.
Following is an excerpt of his performance at the ITC SRA Baithak in 2014, where he was accompanied by Shri Pratap Awad on the pakhawaj and his disciples, Shri Sagar Morankar and Shri Chintan Upadhyay on tanpura and vocal support.