Song of Surrender

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Zia Mohiuddin Dagar

Birthdays & Anniversaries

14.3.1929 - 28.9.1990
One of the foremost presentday practitioners of dhrupad, Umakant Gundecha has an interesting name for Seattle, USA. He calls the city “Dhrupad Nagari” meaning “City of Dhrupad”. For, true to its reputation of providing a vibrant blend of cultural activities that draw upon its rich ethnic diversity, Seattle is home to a large number of practitioners of the Dagarvani style of dhrupad.

It all began with the visit by an eminent rudraveena maestro from India, the late Zia Mohiuddin Dagar, who came as a visiting faculty member more than three decades ago at the invitation of Robert Garfias who headed the University of Washington’s (UW) Ethnomusicology programme in the mid 1970s. Over a period of four years spread over the mid-to-late-1970s, the ustad, a representative of the 18th generation of the Dagar family of musicians, trained several students in the art of dhrupad. He also taught khayal to beginner vocalists and trained instrumentalists who specialised in playing Indian stringed instruments such as the sitar, surbahar, violin and sarangi. Fred Lieberman and Daniel Neuman who succeeded Garfias at the ethnomusicology department at UW also actively supported the visiting artist programme. Over the years, musicians interested in learning dhrupad moved to Seattle from states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and California.

Mohiuddin Dagar groomed two disciples of Indian origin, Shantha Benegal and the late Prabha Rustagi, both committed to learning dhrupad.

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