Virdee is the son of Bhai Gurmit Singh Ji Virdee in who’s memory, his brother Sandeep Virdee OBE is the founder of the Darbar Festival. Virdee brings in a breath of fresh air with his choice of Ahiri, a Carnatic raga, which he plays in pure Hindustani style. He plays a heartfelt alap, skilfully exposing the Bhairavi-ang in the lower tertrachord and building the jod where he amply and diligently emphasizes the Kafi-ang in the upper tetrachord. Virdee’s layakari is controlled and devoid of any pretentious showmanship. In a short interview, he prudently provides an insight into the sound-mechanism of a sitar. He is a natural musician who displays soulfulness that can come only from intense, true and dedicated learning. He is accompanied by Bhupinder Chaggar on the tabla.
Harmeet or ‘Raju’ as he is lovingly called, is a trained optician who gave up the discipline for his love for the car trade. Music came quite inadvertently and naturally to him, so he never thought of taking it up as a profession; Instead, he pursued all the way to the top, becoming the head of operations of one of the world’s largest multinational luxury car brands. Surprising as it may sound after listening to him, Virdee plays the sitar purely out of passion. He started learning music at school where his father, Bhai Gurmit Singh Ji Virdee, was a music teacher. He deviated from the tabla-dominated family at 11 and picked up the sitar under the guidance of Dharambir Singh MBE. Raju is inspired by Pandit Nikhil Banerjee, Ustad Vilayat Khan amongst the stalwarts and Ustad Shahid Parvez, Purbayan Chatterjee and Niladri Kumar amongst the new generation. When the multi-talented gadget-freak is not playing his sitar, he is usually toying with his remote-controlled electronic cars, planes and drones.
Bhupinder Chaggar is an exceptionally talented tabla player based in Leeds, UK. He has trained under Pandit Sharda Sahai of the Benaras tradition. Bhupinder has studied in the Leeds College of Music, thus getting exposed to a wide array of musical genres which has enabled him to explore beyond the boundaries of pure Indian classical music and foray into fusion music too.
Harmeet Virdee (sitar)
Bhupinder Singh Chaggar (tabla)