A Bellwether of Indian Classical Music, The Flute Spectacle
Nephew and disciple of the legendary flute maestro Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Rakesh Chaurasia is an Indian classical flautist who plays the Bansuri. He has been continuing the rich legacy of the Chaurasia tradition by being adept at both the Hindustani Classical Form as well as other music formats namely Jazz, Fusion etc. Music is the driving passion for Rakesh Chaurasia and understanding all there is about music remains his only passion. Composing music to soothe the ears and soul of the listener, collaborating with other great artists who have a lot to offer, leaning from the masters and travelling the world along with music are evergreen in his mind. He strives to be known for his work and contribution to Indian Classical music whilst reaching out to the new generation and conversing with them about Indian Classical music.
Apart from carving a niche for himself as a sought-after Soloist, he’s also collaborated with many musicians of repute like Ustad Zakir Hussain, Dhafer Youssef, Béla Fleck, Edgar Meyer, Marco Salaun, Louis Banks, George Brooks, Carnatic musician Vid.Shashank Subramanyam, Vid Ganesh and Kumaresh, Vid. Jayanthi Kumaresh, Vid Patri Satish Kumar, have also worked with greatest of music composer in Bollywood like Laxmikant Pyarelal, R.D. Burman, Anu Malik, Anand Miland, Nadeem Shravan, Salim Sulaiman and many more. His uncle and Padmavibhushan Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia is the one person he grew up listening to and idolises as well. Back then, he used to be a busy artist performing all across the globe and many legends visited his Guruji with a musical energy that was palpable. His respect for tradition while being open to experimenting with something new made Rakesh follow him. His music repertoire includes classical, semi-classical, film music and collaborations with the likes of the Beatles. A simple and grounded person with absolute dedication to music and riyaz. Rakesh has the honour to learn from him that “you have to give your all to your craft and there are no two ways about it. His zeal to perform and interact with the audience is just infectious” he exclaims.
Learning music from a young age taught Mr. Chaurasia how to learn, listen, practice, perform and perfect an art. While others live their lives trying to figure out what to do, he was spared that experience. Music has provided him a singular purpose and a viewfinder that reflects beautifully on his own life. “Music is God for me and you are free to call it my weakness!”
Rakesh Chaurasia describes Indian Classical music as timeless and exciting as ever before. The infusion of new blood is keeping the scene alive and happening be it in India or beyond. He claims that he sees a surge in the number of students who come to him with a clear idea of making this a profession or a serious hobby, whilst some others also come for pure joy. “There are many more mediums available to consume music in a personalised fashion. This only leads to an increase in listenership. The more you listen the more you fall in love with classical music.”
Indian classical music is less rigid and offers a lot of scope to experiment. The newer generation is keen to know more and learn. There can be new people and new interpretations but the seven notes is a constant. All that happens in this orbit of music. The age-old tradition of Guru-Shishya Parampara to impart knowledge of music and cautious use of technology is being adapted to spread the magic of music.
For him, “Music is maths, poetry, yoga and is science and philosophy too.” Rakesh feels that music is the best stress buster and can be therapeutic. It also provides him and others a guiding light in daily life and creates a positive impact on society.
A truly remarkable and enthralling personality, Rakesh Chaurasia has a bountiful of awards and achievements to his name, which are: Indian of the year award-2017, Pannala Ghosh Puraskar – 2013, IWAP-Pandir Jasraj Sangeet Ratna Award – 2013, Guru Shishya Award – 2011, Indian Music Academy Award – 2007. He is also part of a young brigade “Rakesh and Friends” which is a group of extremely talented young musicians including himself, Gino Banks, Satyajit Talwalkar, Sangeet Haldipur, Sanjoy Das and Sheldon D’Silva. RAF blends Indian Classical Music and World Music effortlessly and effectively. Rakesh brought about the initiative of extending the boundaries of his music realm by combining his understanding of diverse Indian musical Gharana styles with World music styles through imaginative experiments!