Suraj Nirwan: Leading torchbearer to the oldest tradition of Tabla


Suraj Nirvana, the son of renowned tabla legend and late Pandit Subhash Nirvana of Delhi Gharana style (Delhi Baaz) player, believes that this true essence of Indian classical music should be propagated across the world.

New Delhi: Indian classical music has been a source of expressing the movement of one’s soul. Over the centuries, it has evolved, transformed and interacted with a different culture. However, its sweet essence remains the same.

Suraj Nirvana, the son of renowned tabla legend and late Pandit Subhash Nirvana of Delhi Gharana style (Delhi Baaz) player, believes that this true essence of Indian classical music should be propagated across the world. Suraj is confident that he can purify the soul of the listeners and give them momentary inner peace. Apart from making it a mere technical creativity through his unique playing style, with his melodious melodies, he has already made a big difference in his field. His maturity, tonality, and soulful attention display have gained substantial worldwide recognition at such a young age.

Born and brought up in a well-known musical family of Delhi gharana, Suraj learned the delicate art of tabla from his father. Even in his formative years, Sooraj had started showing signs of a prodigious talent. So it was no surprise when he accompanied his father to one of the most prestigious stages of Indian classical music, the Sankat Mochan Sangeet Sammelan, Varanasi. At that time he was only four years old. Sooraj believes that to become something else, you need to learn the little things first, and finding a suitable environment to grow, learn and develop is the key to success.

Today, Sooraj has a novel way of promoting the complex Indian traditional culture and its rich and ancient teachings and concepts through his multifaceted skills of tabla playing, singing and music composition. Furthermore, he has spread the idea that Indian classical music has the power to heal souls at every possible stage performance across the globe. These range from speaking at TEDx NMIMS Shirpur to solo performances at Sankat Mochan Sangeet Sammelan, Haridas Sammelan, Harballah Sangeet Sammelan, and countless others.

The Delhi gharana is the oldest of all the tabla gharanas. The playing style is popularly known as “do anglian ka baaz” (two-fingered style). Suraj Nirvana has immense proficiency in this prized tabla playing art and has developed a unique style of playing it. His proficiency in playing and a high level of balance between Baya and Daya is unmatched. Extending the traditional ‘kaida’ from intricate ink and kinnar bolas to flawless ‘dheer-dheer’ and creating extraordinarily harmonious produce is a perfect reflection of his character in his art. In addition, he has amalgamated between the traditional and modern techniques of tabla.

Recently, Sooraj got a chance to enthrall the audience in the mesmerizing tunes of Delhi Gharana Tabla at the “Mewati Sangeet Martand Parv” festival organized by Pandit Jasraj Sansthan. Utsav was organized on 19 September 2021 to celebrate the 91st Jasrang, 1st. Jasvibhu birth and 26th year of Gurukul. Sooraj not only captivates the audience with his unmatched skill of executing precise lyrics, but there is something so peaceful in his playing to create a magically intense tonal that is almost obliterated in today’s sharp style of tabla playing .

Sooraj is somehow quite different and inspiring from his similar club of professional artists. At such an early stage of a highly accomplished and successful career, he has been tirelessly spreading his idea of ​​promoting Indian classical music. Through his phenomenal foundation (a tribute to his great father-cum-guru) Pt. Subhash Nirvana Foundation, many programs and activities are performed. The Foundation is involved in educating, nurturing and honoring young artists. Through this renowned foundation, Sooraj is providing a significant exposure opportunity to talented young artists. The sole vision behind this highly laudable work is to provide much needed and timely recognition to the emerging talents in Indian Classical Music for a bright and financially secure career.

Sooraj also worked in the Department of Music and Fine Arts, University of Delhi as the Faculty of Tabla. In addition, he was part of the faculty in other prestigious educational institutions like Kala Ashram, Shri Ram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, and others. Presently, Mr. Suraj Nirvana is posted as Teacher-cum-Artist in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He has been given this extraordinary opportunity by ICCR to teach and promote Tabla. With a vision to enhance the beauty of our traditional Indian classical music globally, Sooraj is setting new milestones every day.

If we talk about the effect of Suraj playing the tabla, we all know that Indian classical music follows a gentle raga. But when one listens to Sooraj’s performance with the tabla, the stage accompaniment and the audience can’t help but be drawn into a trance. One note in the song seems to follow another that flows through his fingers, creating a continuous meditative eternal effect of pure healing music. Sooraj intends to bring people closer to the glory of Indian classical music. Music practiced for centuries can set the stage for spiritual and physical healing. Since ragas align with the time of day, as they affect emotions or rasa, the positive impact of classical music cannot be ignored.

Through years of performing, teaching, composing and songwriting, Sooraj not only faced and overcome the turmoil of his life. They have also seen other people overcome the obstacles in their lives. Indian classical music is inherently organic. Thus, it has the power to bring us closer to our inner being. The awareness that Sooraj experiences while practicing the tabla or composing music is unparalleled. This leads her to believe that engaging in classical music can improve her emotional, mental and physical condition.

Now the time has come, trust Sooraj, to harness the immense resource that has the potential to heal our mind and body. As in classical music, this resource can make one more emotionally aware, connecting them more deeply to the world around them. Indian ragas have the power to undergo identification and transformation, so Indian classical instruments, if learned thoroughly. Music may be a form of entertainment for some people, but Indian classical music has the power to break the wall behind us from creation.

First published:October 4, 2021, 6:57 pm

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