Many a dulcet feminine voice has graced a mehfil of ghazal throughout the sub-continent and past, for many years. Singers like Farida Khanum, Begum Akhtar, Chitra Singh, Iqbal Bano and Nayyara Noor have made their voices heard in a world dominated by their male counterparts reminiscent of Jagjit Singh, Mehdi Hassan, Ghulam Ali and Pankaj Udhas.

The ghazal singers are all the time accompanied on the stage by male musicians. One would not often come throughout a feminine musician at a live performance of ghazals. That custom is about to alter, although.

A newly shaped ghazal band has ladies taking part in all of the devices. Singer Gayatri Asokan’s band is all set to make its debut, breaking a glass ceiling that has stood agency for lengthy.

It was after a dialogue along with her supervisor that Gayatri, a State-Award-winning playback singer who’s making fast strides in ghazal too, determined to kind an all-female band.

“After the breakout of the coronavirus pandemic, there have been no live concerts on a stage for me, like other performers, and I thought I should attempt something new when the world comes out of the lockdown,” Gayatri tells The Hindu over cellphone from Mumbai. “I thought it would be great if I could get female musicians and try to form a band, the first of its kind in India.”

She knew she was trying one thing that no one had tried up to now. “In my two decades of performing ghazals on stage, I never have been accompanied by a female musician; neither have I seen women playing the instruments in any ghazal concert,” she says. “I know this is a break from the tradition, but I hope music lovers will encourage our band.”

The band has Mukta Raste on the tabla, Megha Rawoot on the sitar, Nastya, a Russian dwelling in India, on the violin and the flute, and Kaushiki Joglekar on the keyboard. “They are all very talented and we have been practising here in Mumbai,” she says. “We are all looking forward to our first performance.”

Because of the pandemic scenario, the band will make its debut with a web based present, to be streamed on on November 13.


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