Anupriya Deotale is a well-known violinist. She portrays a unique style that she developed on her own, fusing elements of gayaki, that is vocal rendering, withtantarakari, instrumental rhythmic patterns. Her style of playing the violin is marked by an emotional depth that she brings to her music. She recently received a senior fellowship from the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. She spoke to Guardian 20 about her life and work.

Q. Your father Chandrakant Deotale is a legendary Hindi poet, whereas you decided to become a violinist. How were you introduced to this instrument? Throw some light upon you early life.

A. I was inspired a lot from my brother since childhood. He got me admitted to vocal training. There I used to listen to the violin playing in the next class. My mind always got diverted towards the violin. Since then, I got the feeling that I am made for the violin as its tunes were so attractive. It was just this coincidence.

Q. Which musicians do you look up to and draw inspiration from?

A. I have been listening to Ustad Ameer Khusro since childhood and grew up learning from his style. I also admire Pandit Ram Narayan and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan sahab. These maestros have been inspiring me a lot in terms of composition by mastering the art of the right tunes.

Q. You have performed in 40 countries other than India. How would you describe your international experience?

A. It was mesmerising as I got to travel a lot across different countries, exploring different cultures and performing amid them. The taste of music and fondness they hold for classical music, is impressive. It was a pleasure to perform on behalf of my country. Especially in Europe, which is a cultural centre of the violin. They appreciate and respect the artists who come from different countries.

Q. What would your recommendations or advice be to the youngsters who want to pursue a career in music?

A. For the emerging talent, I would say that for the violin or any other classical instrument they prefer to learn, they need to be patient to master the art. With continuous practice and passion one can lead the way. Proper dedication and hard work surely opens doors to success.

I have been listening to Ustad Ameer Khusro since childhood and grew up learning from his style. I also admire Pandit Ram Narayan and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan sahab. These maestros have been inspiring me a lot in terms of composition by mastering the art of the right tunes.
Q. Tell us about your Ameer Khusro Centre for Music.

A. Through this centre for music, we are promoting and supporting the youth who wish to pursue a career in the violin or classical music, as it soothes the mind and gives you a boost of positive energy. We provide them with proper classes and training to elable them to perform their best. We train them in vocals, the violin, as well as the piano.

Q. What was the first musical instrument you ever played?

A. I have always been playing the violin, my entire life. It was the first instrument I played. It has been 37 years now since I started playing it. I started very early with the violin.

Q. Who was your first teacher? Tell us about him or her?

A. I have taken lessons from Ustad Amjad Ali Khan sahab and Pandit Ram Narayan ji. Pandit Ram Narayan is India’s famous Sarangi artist who is a senior among the fraternity. Ustad Amjad Ali Khan sahab is the great sarod artist who has contributed a lot in the field of music. They both are my inspiration and teachers. What they taught me about the world of music is beyond words.

Q. How does playing the violin help you in everyday life?

A. The violin plays the most crucial role in my life. I cannot imagine my life without it. My whole world revolves around it. It is not just an instrument to me. It is my prayer, my religion and everything. Classical music is often considered as spiritual music that helps you soothe your mind and body. For me, it is a form of meditation, as I am able to express all my feelings through it. The violin is my companion wherever I go. It takes me to a complete new level and I am usually just lost within its positivity and mind-relaxing tunes.

Q. Which of your performances or recordings are you most proud of?

A. I don’t take any pride in any of my performances, as I believe in humility. Whatever I do or am doing is because of my parents blessings and also God’s blessings. These are what took me so far. I am planning to contribute a lot more in the same discipline and take the violin to a completely new level.

Q. What challenges and obstacles have you faced in your journey so far?

A. There have been a lot of challenges and difficulties during the course. Being a female musician was also not that much accepted by society. Also I don’t belong to any ancestral musical family; this became an obstacle to my career. The people in music fraternity look out more for artists belonging to particular families or gharana. They prefer those whose parents are already from a musical family. They keep promoting their kids in the industry. I faced all such hindrances but my commitment to music helped me. Encouragement by my parents and sister also made a great difference/

Q. Do you have any favourite venues, in India or elsewhere, where you want to perform?

A. One of my favourite places is Austria. I also performed in Pakistan two or three times and gained much love and respect from the music lovers. In India, people are crazy for classical music and I have played in Gwalior, Ujjain, Delhi. The people here are amazing and they harbour a true love for music. I enjoy a lot playing at such venues as it gives you a chance to present your production before a set of people who belong to such different cultures but hold sound knowledge of music and love for Indian classical tunes. It is a great pleasure to perform in front of such audiences who understand well your devotion towards the art. I also love playing for SPICMACAY in schools for young children and aspiring musicians.


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