For me, all recitals are significant turning points. This is because every performance is like an examination and if one sings well, one is invited to give more performances. Even today I get nervous before each recital as I feel I have certain responsibilities towards my listeners. And if I fail to perform well, the audience will not be satisfied.
My first public performance — at the age of 22 — in Kathmandu, was perhaps the first important milestone in my career. At the end of the three-hour performance, the King announced a gift of 5,000 mohars (Nepalese currency of that time) as a token of his appreciation.
Recently, when I launched my new album, Raga Symphony, along with my musician son Sharang Dev Pandit, I felt that it was yet another significant turning point in my life. In the album, we have tried something new for the first time and have merged Western classical and Hindustani classical music in a symphony format. It has a medley of various popular ragas and weve kept each of their flavours intact. Now we are planning to work on the second part of the album.
I feel music has the great power to change the world around us. I recall visiting Nagaur (near Jodhpur) in Rajasthan where I had bought a few acres of land. Unfortunately Nagaur was very arid that season and hadnt received any rainfall for a while. I had gone there to register that plot and after completing all the legal formalities, I asked the lawyer how much I should pay him. He insisted that I should sing something which would bring relief to the rain-starved land. I sang five malhars and it rained so heavily that people thought that I had performed some magic. I feel that music has the power to calm you or alleviate pains or change the atmosphere around you.
(As told to Sushmita Biswas)