Ajit Singh - Sitar Player
The virtuoso from the ancient holy city of Varanasi (Benares) has been studying classical sitar since he was a child, following a long family tradition which over countless generations has produced many great masters (pandits, in Hindi) of Indian stringed instruments.
His first musical guru, in fact, was his highly celebrated grandfather, the late Thakur Mahadev Singh, who in his time was known throughout India as "Sitaria Baba," the saint of sitar. Later, he came under the guidance of his father, Ranjit Singh, who gained equal fame as master of the sarod, unlike the sitar a fretless instrument plucked with a coconut shell. And finally, before embarking on his own illustrious career, he attended the master classes of his eminent uncle, Dr. Rajbhan Singh, former dean and head of the music department of Benares Hindu University, and one of India’s greatest virtuosos of the sitar and surbahar, a larger, more sonorous version of the sitar.
Himself a much sought-after teacher when not indulging his unorthodox life-style as a wandering minstrel indifferent to worldly fortune the very modest and endearing Ajit Singh is known to music lovers in India and around the world for his sensitive approach to his instrument and his art. "Music is a God-form," he believes. "A raga is like the soul, and each note is like a flower in bloom, an offering to heaven."