As an acclaimed artist foraging in uncharted territory and making headway in her espousal of the khayal tradition, hers is a voice that rings loud and true. Her many contributions to music have helped reclaim the narrative and ensure that music—and music education—thrive in the Indian musical context.
Like the art form itself, Mudgal’s embrace of Indian classical music is holistic. “There is enough repertoire in circulation even today to prove that this system celebrates all aspects of life and living, from nature to wisdom, the sensual as well as the sublime,” she says. She views the genre as, “…immersive, demand[ing] discipline, concentration, and surrender. It teaches you humility because you can never be in complete control even after you attain considerable skill and mastery.”
Renowned for a strong social conscience, Shubha is one of the most prominent advocates for improving the treatment of women in Indian classical music. She has supported various radical movements who push for a more equitable distribution of power and resources in Indian society. She has also served on various national education committees, and runs Underscore Records with her tabla-playing husband Aneesh Pradhan, aiming to give Indian artists control of their own catalogue.
Bhimpalasi is an afternoon raga, said to evoke sringara [attraction, romantic love]. It uses the notes of Kafi thaat, with an aroha [ascent] of nSgmPnS and an avroh [descent] of SnDPmgRS. Characteristically, Dha and Re only appear in the descending line, and tend to be approached from the notes immediately above. Ma is the vadi [king note]. It is similar in shape to the Western Dorian mode, and the closest Carnatic raga is Abheri. Hear a playlist of Bhimpalasi performances here: