Exclusive Interview With Sangeeta Dhoundiyal
Date of Birth: 13th October
Interview By: Vinay Dobhal | Editor: Namrata Naithani | Posted on 15th September 2010
Tell us about yourself?
I am from Dehradun having roots from Pauri, Bangredi village in Baijron. Since childhood I was very much interested in music and I was just 5 when I first performed on stage. Dance and theatre are my other passions and I was active in these fields too.
I take my father, Shri Ram Prasad Madhwal as my first Guru. He was a theatre artist who was also known for his melodious voice in AIR. Two three decades back in Pahar music and the artists were not seen with respect. In spite of this fact my father always encouraged me and helped me to groom in this field.
When I grew young I joined Shri Jeet Singh Negi ji and his group 'Parvartiya Kala Manch' as a child artist. I learnt a lot while working with him and in true sense he is another Guru who gave me a direction to walk on.
I did my Graduation in Music and learnt more of it in Gandharva Vidhalaya, Delhi. After that I joined Triveni Kala Sangam where I got chance to learn from Shanti Veera Nand ji, a well known Classic singer. I also learnt music from Murli Dhar Jadhuri ji in Dehradun.
Sangeeta tell us about your singing journey.
As I told I started singing at a very early age and haven't stopped since. After learning music from so many Gurus, in the year 1997 I started singing as a professional singer. That time I was in Delhi when I gave my first audition in T-Series. Dinesh Uniyal ji gave me a break in his first Garhwali album Baand Rauteli.
Till now I have sung for more than 600 albums for companies like T-Series, Rama, Neelam, Rami and lot many. I have sung these songs in Garhwali, Kumaoni, Jonsari, Himachali, Nepali, Awadhi, Bhojpuri, and in Hindi.
Artists from Uttarakhand not only perform in India but outside India too. What would you like to say about this?
Very true. Today artists from Uttarakhand are performing outside India also. Uttarahandis living outside India have formed their groups and they generally invite us to perform. I have been performing for last 3-4 years in these places. We get so much love, respect and response from them, much than we get in Pahar. I am happy to see that even though they have left their motherland still they think about their culture and tradition. I feel happy when I see these people celebrating festivals of Uttarakhand in their countries. Recently I visited Dubai and Muscat to perform and I am really thankful to all of them for the love and respect they gave us.
Sangeeta through your singing what would you like to give to Uttarakhand society?
Our motive is to spread our culture all over the world and for this not only I all the artists are working in their own ways. There was one time when there were only few singers and very less Garhwali/Kumaoni cassettes used to release. Today you will see that variety is there in the market. People are enjoying it and demanding more from us.
Do you think that fusion of western instruments with the traditional one is good for Uttarakhandi music? What kind of change artists are tying to bring?
Yes I am agreed with this that now you can see such kind of fusion in Uttarakhandi music and I strongly believe that it won't harm our culture but will help it in spreading, breaking the local regional barriers. At the same time I also believe that fusion does not mean vulgarity. When I am talking about westernization it doesn't mean cheap lyrics or senseless music but it means using different instruments keeping the essence of our tradition at priority.
In short we must stick to our folk but should present it in the way audience wants. Only new experiments can widen its scope otherwise it will remain limited forever within limited number of audiences.
Sangeeta you have been in this industry for almost one decade or more. What you think is the scope of Uttarakhandi Music Industry? Do you think that this scope can be widened so that it can reach Non-Garhwali audiences as well?
Yes I am sure that it can be done. If you see other region's folk music it was nothing. But those people have done a lot to bring it in front of the entire world and to provide International audience for it. It was only possible because they changed with time and improved their presentation as per the demand of the audiences.
The sad part is we are still old fashioned while presenting our folk. Whenever someone has tried to experiment something instead of appreciation he/she has faced lot many criticism. The problem is we people can't accept changes so easily and this is what making this situation worst.
If we want the new generation to come back and like their folk, if we want our folk to be recognized on International platform then we will have to accept these changes. Today you can see Bollywood Music having the taste of Punjabi – Bhojpuri. Why can't it be Garhwali?
Few months back a group called Young Uttarakhand came up with Yu Cineawards. This is where Uttarakhandi music and movies were awarded for the first time. Do you think these types of attempts can really help in encouraging our Uttarakhandi talents?
Yes this is the first time such thing has happened in Uttarakhand. I was the host of this show and it is sad that instead of getting appreciation we faced lot many criticism and allegations. There were voices putting questions on nominations and award distribution but no one ever thought of supporting this show which was happening for the first time in their State.
Ok what about Uttarakhand Government? Is it supporting our Artists or not?
I think yes. Govt. at their end do organise such programmes to promote the tradition of Uttarakhand. Seniors folk artists are getting pension which has been increased recently. We have put our demands in front of them for which they have given us assurance. I admit that this is not sufficient and this is just the beginning but I think in future we can expect much more from them.
Now day's talents from Uttarakhand are doing well in their respective fields and few got success too while making their prominent position in Bollywood. Do you think that they bring back that fame?
It is very sad that people who were born and brought up here forgets their people after getting so much success. I have seen some reality shows where people hide this fact that they are from Uttarakhand. Singers when asked to perform folk sing folk of different states. This must not happen. If these people can come and support us then we can do much better for our people and our State.
What are your latest and upcoming albums?
My latest album was Virma and upcoming albums are Mailya Gaon Ki Chandi and Rangeeli Baand. Now days I am working for my solo album.
Would you like to say something to your fans?
I would just say thanks to them for the love and support they have given me. Keep listening good music and keep supporting. Many thanks to Uttarakhandi groups operating in and outside India for giving us chance to perform for our people.
About our website aboutUttarakhand.com
When I first saw this website I felt happy to know that people are doing so many things to promote their land. It's a great effort I would say.
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