One of the few world-class female artists currently performing India’s classical sitar music, Hasu Patel was born in Baroda, India, and began her musical training with voice lessons when she was three years old. At the age of 6, she started learning India’s most popular stringed instrument with her first guru, Narasingbai B. Kikani, and at 10, she performed publicly for the first time. At 21, she won the first prize in Gujarat State for the stringed instrument competition held by All India Radio.
Patel was the first woman to graduate from the Maharaja Sayajirao University in Baroda, majoring in sitar and she was the first woman to receive the Gold Medal in the 75-year history of the school’s Faculty of Performing Arts. “In India,” she has said, “being a female musician means that is very hard to be recognized as a musician both in the professional and non-professional world.” She considers this the greatest challenge of her life.
Patel performs the innovative gayaki ang, or vocal style, of sitar, the characteristics of which emulate qualities of the human voice. Her current guru is Ustad Vilayat Khan, the style’s greatest proponent. Khan, who holds one of India’s highest honors, the Bharat Samarat, is considered by many to be the finest sitar player ever.
Patel arrived in the United States in 1970, and obtained a Masters Degree in Computer Science from Cleveland State University. At the same time, she gave private sitar lessons and performed occasional concerts. In 1995, Patel founded the Sursangam School of Music (in Westlake), where she teaches sitar, tabla and vocal music, and began teaching Classical Music of India at Oberlin (Ohio) College’s Conservatory of Music. In 1999, Patel was invited to perform at Woodstock’s 20-year reunion festival in place of Ravi Shankar.
Visit Hasu's web site at: http://hasupatel.com