(Desi News May 2014)
Toronto lovers of shastria sangeetwill enjoy a sumptuoustreat on April 12th when the luminous Dr. Prabha Atre opens Raag-Mala Music Society’s 2014 season with a recital at the prestigious Glenn Gould Studio in downtown Toronto.
Vibrant and spry at the age of 81, Dr. Atre is in popular demand at music festivals across India such as the SawaiGhandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav. To honour her as a senior musician, organizers present her as the final act to bring festivals to a stirring end. Her singular commitment to her art is best summed up by her poem:
Enclosed within the shell of my mind,
I keep on at my music, my meditation eternally;
The struggles of a calcite inside an oyster,
Till I sublimate that note into a dazzling pearl.
Dr. Atre is widely acclaimed for her grace and excellence in performance. In the oral tradition of Indian classical music that is transmitted from guru to shishya, Dr. Atre’s credentials are impeccable She trained under Sureshbabu Mane and Hirabai Badodekar, children and disciples of the late Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, the preeminent modern day exponent of the Kirana gharana.
Meaning “family or household”, a gharanain Indian classical music refers to a style that has developed around a charismatic master. Today, Dr. Atre is the senior-most exponent of the Kirana gharanawhichincluded such luminaries as Bhimsen Joshi, Gangubai Hangal and Manik Varma in its ranks.
Dr. Atre has been honoured with many national awards, including the title `Padmabhushan’ and the Sangeet NatakAkademi award, in recognition of her creativity, artistic excellence, outstanding achievement and distinguished service in the field of classical music. A renowned scholar with publications in English, Hindi and Marathi,she has taught at universities in India and overseas.
Dr. Atre’s lyrical singing style has captivated music lovers of all ages. Whether singing a khayal, thumri, ghazal or bhajan, she presents her performances with an ingenuity of design, effortless control over intricate yet appealing phrases, precise articulation of words and stirring portrayal of the emotional themes. All these make her music a singularly satisfying experience.