Article by Akash Deep

The LearnQuest Music Festival will celebrate its 16th offering this spring. Most music lovers are well aware that it is one of the largest festivals of its kind in North America, but even regular attendees may not be aware that it is one of the few festivals worldwide that spans both Hindustani and Carnatic music. And this year, it will also include a genre that some believe precedesthis bifurcation: Dhrupad.

Dhrupad is the style of raga-based music that legendary singers Miyan Tansen and Baiju Bawra performed during the Mughal period in India. A typical Dhrupad recital consists of an unfolding of the raag in increasing tempo – called alaap, jod and jhala – followed by a composition and its elaboration accompanied by a pakhawaj. Dhrupad music is described by both connoisseurs and new listeners as pure and resonant, subtleand majestic, introspective and divine.


This year the LearnQuest Festival will feature a renowned vocal exponent of dhrupad music, Pandit Uday Bhawalkar. He is a flagbearer of the famous Dagar bani after having received training under Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar and Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar. A recipient of the Sangeet Natak Academy Award, Pandit Uday Bhawalkar is a globally acclaimed performer and devoted teacher of Dhrupad music. He has also contributed to the soundtracks of films such as Mani Kaul’s “Cloud Door”, Aparna Sen’s “Mr. & Mrs. Iyer”, and Amol Palekar’s “Anahat”.

Pandit Uday Bhawalkar’s performance will be a part of the five-day LearnQuest Music Festival that will take place on March 29-31 and April 13-14, 2024, at Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts. The festival also features Shashank Subramanyam (flute), Manjusha Patil (vocal), Kushal Das (sitar), TM Krishna (vocal), and many more. For full details and tickets, please visit

About the writer— Akash Deep is a student of Hindustani and Dhrupad music at the LearnQuest academy of music and a part of the organizing committee at Learnquest music festival. Professionally Akash is a professor of Finance at Harvard university