Dinesh Mishra, bansuri maestro from Mumbai, was born in Varanasi into a non musical family. He learned bansuri in the traditional Indian classical way from R. K. Shrinivasan, Late Pt. Raghunath Prasanna and from the legendary Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia. After 20 years of working in Indian classical music and Bollywood, Dinesh changed his way of playing and became an internationally working musician. It took him only few years to become well known throughout Europe.
He worked together with musicians of many different styles like jazz, rock, western classical music, experimental music, symphony orchestra or flamenco. In his musical journey Dinesh collaborates with well known musicians from all over the world, such as Markus Stockhausen (Eternal Voyage), Jorge Pardo (Multi Roots), T. M. Stevens, Nippy Noya, Rhani Krija, Stevko Busch, Florian Weber, Sandesh Shandilya, Embryo Band and many more. Dinesh experiences always that music is one universal language for the whole world. In playing, he just follows his heart and creates his personal unique music, enjoying freedom and not following any specific musical style.
He is Artist in Residence at the Akademie der Kulturen, Germany, from where he travels all over Europe to teach and perform his vision of One World Music, a fusion of Indian classic, European jazz and other ethnic inspirations.
“The music of the world sounds wonderful anywhere if it’s coming from the heart.” (Dinesh Mishra)
(from an interview on cityplus.jagran.com, India)
Dinesh Mishra, an internationally acclaimed flutist, has devoted his life to music. Through the years of experience, he finds the world more attracted to popular music, rather than its true essence seen in classical forms.
For a lot of people, music is just another profession to earn a handsome living, for a handful, it’s a way of life. While most musicians around us spend their lives in creating profitable music, musicians like Dinesh Mishra prefer being immersed in its serene beauty, dedicating decades as a humble student. Known as an internationally acclaimed flutist, Mishra is one of the few artists to represent India on a global level. His ability to create mesmerizing fusions and the will to add unique signatures in the music is undeniable. In conversation with Cityplus, Mishra talks about his initial struggle as a musician, his disapproval for shallow Bollywood songs and his aspiration to enrich the younger generation with global definitions of music.
A melodious struggle
Being born in Varanasi, music and art run in our veins like a proud heritage. As children, we were raised amidst a musical environment. Well, my musical journey started in a quite intriguing way. The credit undoubtedly goes to Rajendra Kumar and Mala Sinha’s movie, named Geet, in which the protagonist played a flutist’s role. I was mesmerized by the music and its ability to enchant everybody. Later, I realised that great Indian bamboo flute maestro Padma Vibhusan Hariprasad Chaurasia originally played the flute. Since that day, I dreamt of being able to sit at his feet and learn the art. I knew that it would need immense dedication, focus and uncountable hours of practice, but I was prepared for it. I was 13 then; it took me a decade to be worthy enough to be his student.
Under the guidance of RK Srinivasan, I took my first flute lessons. To take formal training, I joined the Diploma in Flute course at the prestigious Banaras Hindu University. On completing it, Raghunath Prasanna from Delhi took me under his wings. I barely noticed the time passing in tireless training and uncounted hours of practice, till the day my dream came true. Learning under Chaurasia could be explained as a spree of hypnotizing hours of practice that just passed by. It was an experience of a lifetime. His dedication and achievements inspired us to walk on his footsteps.
Today, while there is barely a stage that has not welcomed me on a global level, I often look back to the days I spent in local trains, when I first came to Mumbai. It’s only dedication that has helped me survive and flourish.
Exploring the global tunes
Even while learning under the guidance of Chaurasia, I was certain that I will not be able to constrain myself to the Indian classical form of music. My aspiration was to be acquainted with its numerous global counterparts. From the very initial days, I was intrigued by the international styles of music that allowed adaptations and fusions of various musical hierarchies around the world. After 20 years of performing experience in Indian classical music, I picked up my suitcase and embarked on a globetrotting journey to experience the magic of music created in different forms.
During my journey, the European style of music attracted my attention the most, especially Germany, which housed a range of names that had proved their metal on international platforms. While collaborating with global musicians, the major task was to unlearn the music that I grew up with. To learn something new, it was important to temporarily let go of the Indian classical impression of two decades. It took me around five years to be able to welcome the international forms of music.
While performing as a solo flute player in jazz and world music fusion, the musical journey enabled me to collaborate with the likes of Markus Stockhausen, Jorje Pardo, Nantha Kumar, Rhani Krija, Nippy Noya, Manni Neumann, TM Stevens, Florian Weber, Stevko Busch, Embryo, Michael Reiman, Ignacio Bejar, Praful and Jim Galakti and numerous others who are till date, much acclaimed names on international musical format.
Composing for the world
As we speak, numerous projects and bands around the globe are putting in their efforts to create music that is genuine and from the heart. Global concerts introduce me to various kinds of audiences that are attracted to the purest form of music and not its ability to entertain. Even the musicians are open to learn various forms and styles. Music is a global language that has no place for ego, and they mirror these facts in their eagerness to learn. Today, I am invited to various international musical institutions to share my experience and knowledge. One wouldn’t believe that their faculty member sits with equal enthusiasm as that of a student to learn.
In Bochum, Germany, we have established a Bamboo Flute Academy, where musicians come to learn music improvisation. Some stay with us to learn music from Indian classical guru Shishya Parampara. I am also a faculty member of Akademie der Kulturen, a free high school for holistic development.
Strengthening the soil
I am thoroughly impressed by the ability of our younger generation to learn and adapt to the different styles of music in a matter of days. Their power to absorb the intricate details of a particular form of music is commendable. Sadly, they lack proper guidance. They are attracted to popular music seen in movies, which fall short of the genuine understanding of music.
While teaching in India, I approach a different style of teaching that includes creating your own music. Music should come from your heart and not by listening to a foreign tune. One might refuse to believe that we have children who compose tunes at the age of seven or eight. If trained, a child can present immense potential and help the country scale milestones on a global level. My doors will be always open for those who wish to learn and posses the will to dedicate themselves to music. In the end, the most satisfying part of it is to spread the art and not confine it within.