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Akhil Jobanputra

Student, Educator, Performer, and Curator

of Indian Classical Music

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As a kid, I always enjoyed singing devotional songs at the local temple, and hitting random pots and pans at home. I started taking tabla lessons, but my passion kept driving me towards singing. At the age of three, I was enrolled in the Pandit Jasraj School of Music Foundation, Vancouver. I received my preliminary training from Smt. Asha Lohia of the Jasraj school, as well as from another local teacher Smt. Neeraja Aptikar. My association with the school gave me opportunities to learn from my BadeGuruji Pandit Jasraj and other representatives of the Mewati gharana. After my association with the school, I took a period of self-study, after which I found amazing Gurus for my intensive training. I currently receive taleem in khayal from Pandit Dr. Arun Dravid, and in khayal and dhrupad from Pandit Arijit Mahalanabis. I am also fortunate to receive guidance from Pandit Sanjeev Abhyankar. 

My gayaki (style) is mainly shaped by the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana, but also exhibits elements of Agra, Mewati, Gwalior, and Kirana along with Dagarbani Dhrupad. My approach to Hindustani raga sangeet brings contemporary experience into the context of a traditional art-form. It is constantly evolving, finding itself situated beyond time and space, but stays firmly rooted in its essence. My music is shaped by drawing on elements of self-introspection, personal narratives, metaphysical beliefs, and artistic expression. I also enjoy composing and have created bandishes (compositions) in different ragas and compositional styles. Apart from my Gurus, some artistes who inspire my music are: Pandit Mallikarjun Mansur, Vidushi Kesarbai Kerkar, Pandit Kedar Bodas, Vidushi Mogubai Kurdikar, Pandit Maniram, Vidushi Gangubai Hangal, and Vidushi Asgari Bai.

I’ve had the privilege to perform for various organizations and festivals across Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, and India either as both a soloist and an accompanist. My first solo performance in India was at the prestigious Pandit Motiram Pandit Maniram Sangeet Samaroh at the age of thirteen. Recent performances of note include Chaar Prahar Festival 2020 (Global), Richmond World Festival 2019 (Canada), and UTSAV SpringFest 2018 (U.K.). As an accompanist, I’ve performed with BadeGuruji Pandit Jasraj in some of his performances, such as at the Sawai Bhimsen Sangeet Mahotsav, as well as with my other Gurus and various eminent vocalists.

With the permission of my Gurus, I have been teaching Indian classical music since 2010 across the Metro Vancouver region. My curriculum has been developed over the years through a variety of experiences that I’ve encountered both as a student and a teacher. Pedagogy plays an extremely important role in cultivating good musical sense, and my curriculum constantly evolves through feedback from my students. As an educator, I’ve delivered lectures, both of academic and non-academic nature, on Indian classical music. I was recently featured in the Canadian South Asian Youth Conference, and my paper “My Identity, My Music” was published by the Simon Fraser University Library. Growing up, I wanted to see more Indian classical programs curated in my hometown. At the age of twelve I founded the Indian Classical Music Society of Vancouver (ICMSV) with the goal of bringing communities together and promoting various local events. Since then, my team at ICMSV and myself have organized a series of initiatives and events geared at increasing awareness, accessibility, and education around Indian classical music.

Besides music, I am a University of British Columbia alumni with a Bachelor of Arts in Human Geography. My focus has been on socio-cultural development, South Asian studies, and decolonization.

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