Ruchira Panda carries with her vocals, the heritage of the 1000 year old Kotali Gharana , a style of Indian classical music native to East India, especially Bengal, characterized by an open voice, high melodic content, fast taans and improvisations. The lineage of Pandit Manas Chakraborty and Sangeetacharya Tarapada Chakraborty continues with her, as we experience her artistry either onstage at the major music festivals in India and abroad or at the teaching podiums of Ali Akbar College of Music, San Rafael; Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, London; and Departments of World Music at various Universities in the USA. Ruchira’s cerebral approach to classical and semi-classical music weaves a new tapestry at each performance, and, is much adored by the connoisseurs. Her repertoire: Khayal, Täp Khayal, Thumri, Tappa, Dadra, Kajri, Chaiti, Birha, Jhoola, Phaag, Hori, Bhajan, Bengali Thumri and Raag pradhaan.
An environment of classical music in the family ensured her initial trainings in ce early childhood. Subsequently, she came under the tutelage of the Kotali Gharana torchbearer and stalwart, Pandit Manas Chakraborty . Twenty four long years of mentoring by her guru shaped her gayki (style), finesse and purity of rendition inimitable in the current generation of classical vocalists.
“Never sacrifice your music for money or fame. It is better to be the unknown servant of music than be a famed one whose music has been sullied by envy, greed or gimmicks”. Ali Akbar Khan
The improvising purist:
As they say, it takes an artist to create an audience. Instead of the shortcuts in vogue, including rehearsed phrases, set piece taankari for instant public applause, and a general disregard for the raagdari , Ruchira devotes a lot of attention to ensure the purity of the Raga, often chosen on the stage itself, depending on the of time, season and mood, and creates music in the quintessential free improvisation style that is nuanced and aesthetically robust. Her creative talent manifests itself in the numerous classical Bandish compositions crafted on the fly while singing on stage, when the venue or the mood would demand a particularly innovative melodic approach to a Raga with matching lyrics to boot.
Ruchira is a composer of Vilambit, Madhyalaya and Drut Khayals, Thumris, Taranas, Nirgun Bhajans and experimental light classical items. Her live performances are sprinkled with compositions of her Guru, her own creations, and traditional compositions, in that order. She is currently recording a two CD set of her own avant-garde light classical compositions to be released in 2016. She, like her Guru, is well known for having the gift of creating superlative classical compositions on the fly and while teaching her students, thus creating a treasure trove of new style lyrics and melodies for future generations.
Ruchira has been teaching Indian Classical Vocal for many years. Very strict and tireless perfectionist that she is, she is a much soughtafter teacher for anyone looking to learn the purest form of the art. Her senior students are already making their entrance in the Indian Classical circuit.
The Social Worker:
Ruchira, is the founder and general secretary of PARAMPARIK , a nonprofit organization engaged in the fields of education and medical care of the poorer sections of society. So far more than four thousand students have been supported by the program, some of them are now very well settled in India and abroad.