Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar was born on the 15th of June, 1932. Chhote Ustad, as he came to be known by his students and admirers, was an Indian classical musician of the Dhrupad tradition. Born into the 19th generation of the Dagar gharana of Dhrupad musicians, Chhote Ustad learnt instrumental and vocal music from his father, (Late) Ustad Ziauddin Khan Dagar and his elder brother, (Late) Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar. Through the course of his life until his death in 2013, he served the Dhrupad tradition of music with excellence as a performing artiste and ineffable dedication as a Guru.
Chhote Ustad left his mark as one who transcended tradition and laid open the treasure of his knowledge to anyone who aspired to receive it. His musical legacy thrives through the long line of illustrious, Dhrupad musicians who call themselves his students. Among them, Pt. Ritwik Sanyal, Ustad Bahauddin Dagar, Pt. Uday Bhawalkar, Pt. Pushparaj Koshti and the Gundecha Brothers – Pt. Umakant and Pt. Ramakant Gundecha.
Chhote Ustad is also credited with making the ancient, meditative and highly nuanced genre of Dhrupad music accessible to contemporary audiences around the world. An art form that was once feared to be receding into obscurity is in the midst of an international revival today. We owe this resurgence of Dhrupad, in no small measure, to the vision of Chhote Ustad and many others.
Not only do Chhote Ustad’s meditations on music survive through his students and their students around the world, so does his vision for Dhrupad. In fond remembrance of Chhote Ustad and with humble pranaams to his memory, we are happy to launch Dhrupad Darshan on the 85th anniversary of his birth. This is a first of its kind, online channel, exclusively for Dhrupad music. Guided by the Gundecha Brothers, Dhrupad Darshan is an initiative of Dhrupad Sansthan, Bhopal.
The aim for this channel is to serve as a platform for sharing and discussing Indian classical Dhrupad music. The channel will feature concerts of well-known as well as upcoming artists, lecture-demonstrations, interviews, notes from history and documentaries on the evolving Dhrupad music scene across the world. We hope that Dhrupad Darshan will provide every student, enthusiast and connoisseur of music an online repository that takes (him or) her closer to uncovering the uncountable colours, subtle shades and delicate hues of sound that form the essence of Dhrupad.
Subscribe to the channel here.
Here are some recent recordings of concerts and workshops on the channel.