Padmashri Ustad Wasifuddin Dagar (फैयाज़ वासिफुद्दीन डागर)

Ustad Wasifuddin Dagar (social media: facebook)

Ustad F. Wasifuddin Dagar represents the 20th generation of dedicated dagarvani (डागरवाणी) dhrupad singers in the Dagar family. He is the nephew of Ustad N. Zahiruddin Dagar and son of Ustad N. Faiyazuddin Dagar, the legendary younger Dagar Brothers (डागर बन्धु). Wasif (shortened name) successfully presents the dynamic of the duet of his gurus his father and uncle in his solo performance by maintaining their distinct musical approaches and styles.

Ustad Wasifuddin Dagar in concert

Wasif’s early training was with his uncle Ustad N. Zahiruddin Dagar, and his father Ustad N. Faiyazuddin Dagar. The untimely demise of his father in February 1989 paired Wasif with his uncle and teacher Ustad N. Zahiruddin Dagar, who taught him the crucial aspects of jugalbandi (duet) a specialty of the Dagar family. As the Dagar duo they toured extensively. Their concerts and music was the subject of the French television documentary Dagarvani in 1992. They also recorded in Switzerland, India, and America with major recording labels.

Since the demise of his uncle Ustad N. Zahiruddin Dagar in 1994, Wasif has been carrying on the tradition of Dagarvani solo. His rendition of dhrupad is a unique blend of his uncle’s training, his father’s quality of voice and temperament, and his in-depth knowledge of dhrupad tradition. His innovative alap notes are spacious and colorful, ranging across the three octaves delineating the personality of the raga in great clarity. His gamaks are fast and sonorous yet retain the softness and sweetness of the raga inherent in dhrupad renditions. Over the years he has developed subtle variations and improvisations by modulation of volume and sound application to present many shades of the same musical phrase. The composite effect of his dhrupad rendition remains traditional, merging techniques and styles of both his teachers. He is very popular with young listeners for his lively lecture demonstrations illustrating old Vedic technicalities through metaphors from daily life.

Ustad Wasifuddin Dagar interacting with children in Portugal.

Wasif performs regularly and extensively on Indian television and radio, at music festivals, and concerts. He performed for the UNESCO in France, and also toured the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Hungary in 1998, in America for the United Nations Peace Summit, and the World Festival of Sacred Music of the Dalai Lama in 2001.

In several very successful concert tours, he has performed extensively in the United States including at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, at Harvard University, and several other prestigious venues. He has also toured Japan and Europe. For example, the 2003 Europe concert tour included France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Finland. Similarly the last US tour included over a dozen cities in the US including Washington DC, San Francisco, New York, and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

His performances have received rave reviews in The Washington Post, The New York Times, most major Indian publications, as well as other world press. Despite his active concert schedule, Wasif still finds time to teach many talented youngsters grooming the next generation of torchbearers for this ancient august tradition. Ustad Wasifuddin Dagar was honored by the President of India with the Padma Shri award in 2010. The Padma Shri is the fourth highest civilian award in India.

जय माता भवानी चंडी कालिका जय  जय, महाशक्ति भगवती दुर्गे विनाशिनी कल्याणी।

Raga Durga, traditional.