Nirmalya Dey is a renowned master vocalist and teacher in the tradition of Dagarvani dhrupad. Inspired by his mother, he started his initial dhrupad training with Prof. Nimaichand Boral, who was a disciple of Ustad Nasir Moinuddin Dagar. From 1988, Nirmalya Dey learned in the true tradition of Guru-Shishya Parampara, spending extended time with another celebrated dhrupad master, Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar. Nirmalya continued to take advanced training and also regularly performed on the stage with Ustad until he passed away in 2013. While meticulously maintaining the traditional musical form and its nuances he imbibed from his teacher, who represented the 19th unbroken generation of dhrupad performing family, Nirmalya also evolved his own distinctive style and approach to dhrupad.
Early in his career, Nirmalya Dey’s musical prowess was acknowledged as he won the first prize at the National Music Competition organized by the All India Radio in 1979. In recognition of his excellence and achievement in dhrupad, Nirmalya Dey was awarded the senior fellowship by the ministry of Human Resource Department, Government of India. He has been later bestowed with Top Grade by the music audition board of national broadcasting channel – All India Radio, for his distinctive musical art in the dhrupad tradition.
Nirmalya Dey is a distinguished artist and has been invited to perform in numerous prestigious festivals and concerts in India and abroad. Beside his solo performances, Nirmalya has adopted the tradition of “Jugalbandi”, the musical dialogue between two musicians of the same genre, and sang with Rudra Veena Maestro Ustad Baha’ud-din Dagar for several concerts.
Despite the demands placed on his schedule as a performer, Nirmalya Dey is a devoted teacher, grooming and initiating the next generation of artists in dhrupad. He has taught at the University of Delhi and Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra (Delhi) and conducted workshops around the world, including in Europe and North America. When not performing, Nirmalya teaches at the Dhrupad Gurukul in Delhi, India. Read more
Dhrupad is the oldest existing form of Indian classical music. The nature of Dhrupad is spiritual - its purpose is aradhana (worship). Seeking not to entertain, but to induce deep feelings of peace and contemplation in the listener.
Its origin is linked to the recitation of Sama veda , the sacred Sanskrit text. Dhrupad probably evolved from the earlier chanting of Om , the sacred syllable which is claimed to be the source of all creation. Later, the rhythmic chanting of the Vedic scriptures evolved into singing of Chhanda and Prabandha.
One significant characteristic of Dhrupad is the emphasis on maintaining purity of the ragas and the swaras.
According to some accounts, Dhrupad was sung in temples, the singer facing the divinity. From this early chanting, Dhrupad evolved into a sophisticated, classical form of music. The language of Dhrupad changed from Sanskrit to Brijbhasha sometime between the 12th and the 16th century.
About six centuries ago, Dhrupad came to be patronized by the royal courts and its complex rendering became highly sophisticated for royal audiences. The compositions became more secular. Some were written in praise of the emperors ; others were elaboration on the music itself. However, the pristine nature of Dhrupad survived. Even today we hear this majestic form of music performed like it was more than 500 years ago in the royal courts of the emperors and kings of India. Read more