Talking with Deepak Kumar
Writing about the experience of music is impossible, especially music as transcendent as Deepak Kumar’s. Laying in savasana, expecting the typical recorded tracks or perhaps silence, a wave of sound moved through me. It was Deepak Kumar’s liquid voice and velvety harmonium playing that swept over me. The music was so tender and heartfelt that I was awe-struck. Hearing Deepak play live is a deeply moving and unforgettable experience.
Deepak Kumar is a light classical singer whose compositions span a wide variety of styles from romantic poetry to kirtan to film soundtracks. He has mastered many instruments as well, playing harmonium, tamboura, guitar, among others.
I was honored to have been able to interview Deepak about his experiences playing and recording music. Here is what he had to say:
JS: When did you start singing, and why were you called to sing?
DK: I started singing when I was five years old. My father was my first teacher, and he still is. I grew up seeing great master musicians, playing and singing in my city Jaipur and in my house. From that time, that is all I wanted to do in my life – it was the most peaceful, joyful and spiritual experience – then and now.
JS: Who was your first teacher? Tell us something about your experiences with them.
DK: My first teacher was my father P.N. Vyas. After that, I studied with Ustad R. F. Dagar,
Ustad Moinuddin Khan and Mohindrajit Singh. My experience was a mixture of joy, gratitude and extreme discipline. Also, all my teachers, not just my father, treated me like a son.
JS: You are well known both in india and in the u.s., what is the difference between Indian and U.S. audiences?
DK: Obviously, in India, they understand the language…but here in the West, I explain the
meaning of the song…but also the Western audience I feel is more attentive.
JS: Who do you like to listen to? Who inspires you?
DK: I love all kinds of good music – from all over the world. I still get inspiration listening to my teachers, and I love any kind of good quality music.
JS: What is your favorite song you have recorded?
DK: From my first cd “Enchanted Evening” the song “Mero Man Ram He Ram” and from my second cd “Universal Songs of Kabir” – ” Moko Keha Dhunde Re Bande”
JS: Any advice for those learning to play music? Any practice tips?
DK: Find a good teacher who inspires you. Don’t just go after a famous name. Listen to live performances and good recordings. Immerse yourself in the music, and have patience. Don’t be in a hurry to go on stage. Let your music mature. No matter how busy life gets, make room for practice – from five minutes to five hours – whatever time you can afford, but it has to every day.
Deepak will be giving a concert at Jivamukti Yoga School NYC on April 13th, 2013 @ 7:30pm
Find out more about him by visiting his website: http://deepakkumarmusic.com
Also, find his music on itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/universal-songs-of-kabir/id316847917