Category Archives: Vocalist

The Hindustani Classical Singer of India

A hush descends on the audience in the darkened hall as Madhup Mudgal begins his sonorous recital. Clear as a bell the melodious, mellifluous notes pierce the hearts of listeners, fuse them all into one, bind them into a spiritual, blissful, soul-entrancing and elevating experience. That is the magical effect of Madhup Mudgal, classical Hindustani singer extraordinaire.

Kumar Gandharva, the legendary Hindustani Classical singer would be more than proud of Madhup Mudgal, his disciple. As would Pandit Vasant Thakar, Pandit Jasraj and his father, Professor Vinay Chandra Maudgalya, a renowned musician of the Gwalior Gharana. If these four got Madhup started on the road, Kumar Gandharva gave polish to his talents. Madhup is today unequivocally acclaimed for his magical, soul entrancing renditions of khayals and ragas with a spiritual hue. The Padma Shri award he received can only give part recognition to this musical genius.

Steeped in music since his childhood days when the likes of the great Pandit Omkarnath Thakur and Ali Akbar Khan could be conducting sangeet sabhas at home, Mudgal needed no introduction to classical music; it coursed in his veins. He completed his schooling in Modern School in New Delhi and went on to gain a Masters and then an M.Phil in music from the University of Delhi, focusing on khayal. He went on to become principal of Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, a music school founded by his eminent father. He is the chief conductor of the Gandharva choir, a music group famed for innovative compositions in Indian classical music. At the same time he composes music for the Odissi dance productions of his sister, Madhavi Mudgal. Music, for Madhup, is not an art or a profession; it is life itself.

Whether it is Nirgun bhajans or the more involving Sagun style, his passionate renderings based on pure ragas can be intensely moving. Only Madhup can fuse ragas and devotion in a way to stir heart strings and evoke entrancing spirituality. Over the years he has recorded a number of classical ragas, thumris, khayals and devotional compositions with a rare virtuosity, balancing tradition and innovation with a fine sensitivity. Despite the lofty heights and global recognition, Madhup remains, essentially an earthy person. His vision is to pass on the rich legacy of Hindustani classical music to future generations through Gandharva Mahavidyalaya.

When Madhup Mudgal performed at the Ramakrishna Mission in January 2012, the audience was left spellbound by his golden, honeyed voice, as were audiences across the world in his innumerable performances. He leaves you replete, yet wanting more.

Ben Johnson said of Shakespeare that he -was not of an age, but for all time-. We can say the same for Madhup Mudgal. His music is eternal.

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How to Work with Your Wedding Singer Better

It is necessary to create a good work relationship with your singer. Doing so will not only make you more comfortable to work with him, but also provides encouragement. Remember that things will run smoothly if you try to practice work harmony with your wedding suppliers.

Here are some tips for a good work relationship with your wedding singer:

Don’t hesitate to make requests.

Clients’ suggestions are always welcome, since wedding singers want provide entertainment. Your wedding singer won’t know what songs you like if you don’t speak up your mind. You can’t leave all the wedding selection to him if you want a more personalized song list. So, make sure you communicate your ideas clearly.

Introduce him to other wedding suppliers.

Help him get acquainted with suppliers he needs to coordinate with like the wedding planner and host. This will help them work more efficiently together. You can also suggest that they set up a meeting to talk about important things concerning their roles in your wedding.

Have him perform at the wedding rehearsal.

He might ask for an extra charge to do this, but it will be worth it. He’ll get to familiarize himself with the stage, so he can perform better. It’ll also be great to do your first dance rehearsal if you have your wedding singer there. It’ll definitely make you look forward to that moment even more. If in case there are some things about his performance you want him to change or improve, then you can talk about it. The singer can make adjustments, so he can wow the guests with his performance for sure.

Communicate with your wedding singer.

Make sure you talk to your wedding singer often before the big event. Ask him about updates regarding the song list or requests you’ve made. Don’t forget to give him a heads up in case you want to change some details about the wedding. Check out his list of wedding songs to ensure the music you asked for is there.

Send a little thank you card.

Let your wedding singer know how happy you were with his service by sending a thank you note. Or better yet, send some love on his website for future clients to see. This gesture is not only thoughtful, but also very encouraging.

By having good work harmony with your wedding singer and other suppliers, you’ll have lesser things to worry about on your wedding day!

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Vocalist Debi Smith, From Soprano To Alto To Soprano

Vocalist Debi Smith started out as a soprano singing in church, but after college she became interested in jazz and started developing her alto range. She and Mary Chapin Carpenter began performing around Washington, DC about the same time, but when Smith’s sister Megan, who is five years younger, came home from college, they started touring together as The Smith Sisters.

Smith is a master of many skills. She is a composer and recording artist whose songs have captured six ASCAP popular music awards and been recorded by such artists as Tom Paxton and Al Petteway. With five solo albums to her credit, she has stashed away many Wammies (Washington Area Music Awards). Her latest double-disc CD, “The Soprano” and “The Soprano Christmas,” highlights the upper register of her three-octave range. In contrast, pop fans around the country know her as one quarter of The Four Bitchin’ Babes, solo artists who write and perform their own witty songs and share others in glorious harmony. She has been heard often as both soloist and ensemble member on national radio and telecasts, among them Prairie Home Companion, All Things Considered, PBS specials, CMT’s New Country, CBS Sunday Morning and Good Morning America.

Touring with TFBB has occupied a large chunk of Smith’s life since 1994. Next month they head for Florida and will be on the road until May, followed by the gigs at the shore during the summer.

Whether singing country, pop, folk, or jazz, Smith receives raves for her solo appearances accompanying herself on guitar. She is also a master of the bodhran, an Irish hand drum, which she played on the main theme song in Ken Burns’ “The National Parks” PBS documentary. She loves the bodhran and integrates it with most of the songs she writes.

Writing is cathartic for her and a way to honor her family. She has penned songs about her son, who suffers from autism, and songs about her parents, such as “My Mother’s Hands” and “My Father Was a Quiet Man.”

Nothing pleases her more than having someone come up with tears in their eyes and tell her how much her music has uplifted them.