The percussionist, composer and instrument-maker Ganesh Anandan was born in the south of India in Bangladore, the centre of Hindu Karnatic music as well as the Indian software industry. From early childhood on, he was taught traditional classical music - the bamboo-flute by G. Venugopal and the two-headed drum mrdangam by K.K. Parthsarthy.
After receiving his university degree in the mid-70s, Ganesh Anandan moved to Canada, where he explored classical western music, Cuban and Brazilian rhythms and Indonesian Gamelan music both in theory and practice at the piano. He maintained and deepened his musical ties to his homeland through periods of study under T.N. Shashikumar at the Karnataka College of Percussion, where he learnt to play the tavil, a two-headed cylindrical drum, and the tambourine kanjira. He also spent a lot of time exploring percussion instruments from various cultures. He was taught the bodhran and tar by Glen Velez, the tammurriata and tammurrelo by Allessandra Belloni and had lessons with Carlo Rizzo, who were also partners in his trio 'FingerWorks'.
Ganesh Anandan has received grants from the Canadian Arts Council and the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec and has launched various projects, including 'Espace Shruti', which he worked on with the sculptor Pascal Dufaux. Specially designed instruments based on the 22 intervals of the microtonal Indian scale are integrated into a sculptural work of architecture, which also provides space for a performance.
Ganesh Anandan works at transferring the rhythmic notions and percussive techniques of the south of India onto the tambourine, drums and various resonance surfaces. His dynamic style of playing is a unique blend of the classical Karnatic style with the North African and Persian traditions enhanced by a set of hand- and finger-techniques which he has himself developed.
Highly praised by music critics, the singer Uday Bhawalkar counts in present-day India as one of the younger generation's leading exponents of dhrupad, one of the oldest forms of classical song still current in the north of India. It began in Hindu temples and was then performed in at the courts of Hindu rajas and Muslim conquerors from about the 14th century on. At first the texts were only religious but were then extended to include praise of noble patrons and expressions of erotic love.
Though the word 'guru' has become dubious in western ears, it is still esteemed in India, since a guru teaches manual, spiritual and moral virtues for sometimes the whole of his life. The notion that a tradition should be handed on from teacher (guru) to pupil (shishya) is basic to Indian culture.
Bhawalkar, born in 1966 in Madhya Pradesh, was taught classical Indian music from the age of eight, and a grant from the Ustad Allauddin Khan Sangeet Academy enabled him to be taught dhrupad singing by Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar from 1981 on. He then spent years in being taught by Ustad Zia Mohinuddin Dagar the veena - a lute esteemed for being perhaps the oldest and most difficult Indian instrument.
Uday Bhawalkar has received many honours and prizes, including the prestigious Young Musicians' Award of the Indian ministry of culture, and has been heard outside India since the mid-80s. He has appeared for instance at the Sangeet Parampara Festival in Berlin , the World Music Festival in Switzerland, the Raga Mala in Seattle in the USA and in the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London.
Bhawalkar counts as being an outstanding dhrupad singer who not only maintains the old form's elegance and refinement but, owing to his musical curiosity and wide range of interests, is able to add to it.