Subhadra's Taans and her sum of pause and prescience were strongly hitched to the High Road of Kumar's Gayaki.
There is little doubt that Subhadra has embarked on a daunting journey, but her listeners were left in little doubt that she will find a haven in it.
-Dr. Raghava R. Menon, Times of India
Dr. Subhadra Desai is a classical vocalist of Hindustani genre whose performances have drawn attention for their contemplative character. As a researcher and academic she has worked on the oral traditions of Samavedic chanting and taught Sanskrit at Delhi University.
Subhadra is an empanelled artist with Indian Council for Cultural Relations, and is an accredited A grade artist at All India Radio.
Subhadra has composed music for ancient Sanskrit and Pali texts in classical Ragas, and presented them as theme-based recitals. These range from Upanishadic hymns based on the philosophy of Advaita to Vedic hymns on Marriage, Jaideva’s Ashtapadi and Buddhist texts from Dhammapada and Sutta Nipata.
Subhadra’s academic/interdisciplinary works include Music in Valmiki’s Ramayana and several research-articles on Indian Music and Culture. Her second book: Indian Women Seers and their Songs: the Unfettered Note was released in March, 2017.
Subhadra has been engaged as Honourary Faculty at Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, New Delhi and Visiting Faculty of Performing Arts and Sanskrit at Ashoka University in addition to her performance schedules.
The Upanishadic sages of Vedic India in their intense search for eternal in the ephemeral and infinity in life’s finitudes, first discovered ‘Unity’: Oneness immanent in the manifold diversity of the world.
This, the ‘Advaita’, explored and celebrated initially by saint and savant down the ages in different treatises of varied disciplines, subsequently became the keynote of Indian thought, feeling and civilization, reiterated by poets, artists and artisans through millennia. Recognized as one of the principal ideas of latter day Hinduism, Advaita Philosophy postulates the identity of the self with the Creator and Creation. As a religious philosophy it found conclusive articulation in the life and works of the great saint Shri Adi Shankara in the 9th century, validated consequently by other seers in other era.
The journey of Advaita in Indian Music can be traced from the Upanishads where it was first expressed in Mantras and Suktas, to the songs of the Saint-poets of Medieval India who broadcast it to the common people of the country.
The present production is a part of the outcome of research on the theme of Advaita. Mantras, Shlokas and Songs are carefully selected with respect to their inner purport and musicality, chanted according to Vedic tradition and composed on Classical Ragas.