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World Music Concerts & Festivals

Ustad Faiyaz Wasifuddin Dagar
November 9, 2005
Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Illinois

On Wednesday, November 9 at 7 pm, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs presents a free concert by Indian musician Ustad Faiyaz Wasifuddin Dagar, who represents the twentieth consecutive generation of Dhrupad musicians from the Dagarvani tradition. The concert, which takes place in the Preston Bradley Hall of the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 East Washington Street, features Dhrupad music, one of the oldest forms of Indian classical music.  This is Dagar’s only Chicago appearance on his current U.S. tour.  Admission is free.

Both a vocal and instrumental style, Dhrupad music is spiritual in nature and is meant to induce feelings of peace and contemplation in the listener.  Dagar fills every note with space and color, traveling across three octaves, and uses subtle modulations in volume and sound application to bring out diverse shades of meaning.  The majority of Dhrupad compositions being sung today were written in the 16th century and performed in the royal courts of the emperors and kings of India.  Dhrupad music has two major parts, Alap (sung without words), and Dhrupad (a fixed composition sung with the accompaniment of a two-headed barrel drum called the Pakhawaj).  This concert features Mohan Shyam Sharma, who accompanies Dagar on the Pakhawaj.  A vocal Dhrupad performance begins with a slow and meditative Alap comprised of syllables taken from a mantra and devoted to various Hindu gods.

Ustad Faiyaz Wasifuddin Dagar began his musical apprenticeship at age five under tutelage of his father and uncle, collectively known as the Dagar Brothers.  After the untimely death of his father in 1989, Faiyaz began performing with his uncle as the Dagar Duo and toured extensively in India, Europe, and Japan.  The Dagar family has been associated with the Dhrupad for the past twenty generations and has contributed significantly to the preservation of this ancient musical style.

Dagar 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, for the United Nations Peace Summit, and the World Festival of Scared 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.

For more information about this program and future Chicago Cultural Center Presents programs, please call 312.744.6630 or visit