Uma Devraj: The Band And The Female Gang

  • Vaishnavi Samvedi

How many times have you heard a music band with only women musicians? We can barely remember to get a name into our minds. It’s not that we have a scarcity of female musicians, the fact of the matter is we don’t have enough or equal space for female musicians to share the stage and mesmerize audiences with their magic. Bringing a touch of magic, Uma Devraj is a musician and yes, she has her band. She’s stepped beyond and self-created a position she’s proud to be at and aspires to achieve the ambition her band has set. She’s brave, creative, fearless, and true to herself, to her art, and most importantly to her music. Her interview gives you a lot to think about with her simple, straightforward, and righteous voice.

When did you start learning to play the keyboard?

The Musical interest prevailed ever since I was in school…My dad is a very hardcore music lover due to which I have grown up listening to old Bollywood songs and Raj Kapoor songs… The actual learning started with harmonium at the age of 12 under the guidance of Shri Kakaji Safaya sir. Keyboard, I haven’t taken any formal training, it’s a skill that I developed on my own. For the technical things like musical notations etc, I have been trained under Shri Ankush Hadavale sir.

What is the journey of a female musician in the industry? What are the struggles, lessons, and achievements?

The journey is not very easy as it is still a male-dominated sector as far as musicians are concerned. The most difficult and the most initial struggle was about acceptance by fellow musicians and event organizers. It initially took a bit of time for those musicians who are my dearest friends of mine now, to accept me as one of them. But, like every field, your work speaks for itself here too. You perform and you flourish, you fail to work hard and you perish. The struggles included late-night traveling, handling instruments that require quite a lot of physical strength, managing jobs (employment), and then doing music professionally. If your work is good and at par with your male counterparts, you receive immense respect as a musician in this industry.

If there’s one thing your band could change about the industry, what would it be?

Yes, I was kind of waiting for this question. My concern here is not limited only to female musicians but to the Full Musician fraternity as a whole. Yes, we chose art, but we have a family to feed too. There is a lot of difference in the remuneration of a vocalist and a musician. For every show, the time and the effort put in is the same, everyone in the band has developed their skill, worked hard, travels to the show and back home, gives out equal time for the show. So, if the individual contribution is equal then the pay should also be equal. There are many or I would say almost all bands in the western countries who pay their team members equally, may it be a vocalist, musician, or any other artist.

How do y’all keep the energy and the spirit going during the pandemic?

The pandemic did teach us a lot of things. For keeping the morale high and for not letting the frustration of missing out on shows take you over, I and my band switched to youtube. I have my channel in the name of Uma Devraj where I keep uploading videos regularly. The love and affection plus the respect received are enormous. It gave us the right push to still hope for things to be normal and resume shows asap.

Are there any upcoming projects you’d like to share with us?

As of now, I’m looking at expanding my band with more female musicians and also trying out different genres, Indian folk music being the most prominent one.

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Comments (26)

  • Chintan 3 Reply

    Uma , I know her since last ten years . She and her art is very close , near and dear to me . I call her magician as she plays very short harkats which are not there in the original creations. Besides she guides othe musicians during the show as well as the singer. She is brilliant and intelligent at her work . I can write a book on her . A salute to the brave , hardworking , down to earth and multitalanted Uma .

    7 September 2021 at 6:36 pm
    • Uma Devraj Reply

      Thank you so much chintan kaka. You are family to me. It means a lot and it moves me to see how unconditionally you love me and my work. Thank you kaka.. keep blessing.

      10 September 2021 at 10:25 pm
  • Baishali Ghosh Reply

    This reflects the plight of any musicians or for that matter anyone in the world of art. But the battle will naturally slow down as long as a person like Uma Devraj is mesmerizing her audience. I am happy to have seen her playing and have attended many of her shows. Best wishes always.

    7 September 2021 at 6:58 pm
    • Uma Devraj Reply

      Thank you Baishali ji.

      10 September 2021 at 10:25 pm
  • Archana Deshmukh Reply

    I have known Uma Devraj from almost 15 years and she is a very talented musician. Happy to see her music and shows. Best wishes for future.

    7 September 2021 at 7:24 pm
    • Uma Devraj Reply

      Thank you dear Archana..

      10 September 2021 at 10:26 pm
  • Vinod Yelve Reply

    Yes Uma Devraj is one of my favourite Musician Although she calm Nature and good Heart of Nature , Sincerely and accurate in his work ,
    Love to work with him always..
    We proud on her she plays different role in music industry ,
    She was the example upcoming female musicians can learn lot from her.
    Tc Uma
    Keep Blessings..

    7 September 2021 at 7:29 pm
    • Uma Devraj Reply

      Thank you Vinod dada.. it’s been an honour to work with you .

      10 September 2021 at 10:26 pm
  • Kanan Koticha Reply

    I have been associated with Uma since almost a decade. She is amazing with the keyboard. Her art of making amateur singers comfortable is awesome. She helps out at difficult notations. God bless her for that.
    Reading about her struggles through the journey of music life …. gives me immense respect for her… to see her reach this stature of life on her own.
    Wishing her all the best for future always .

    7 September 2021 at 7:32 pm
    • Uma Devraj Reply

      Thank you so much kanan ji. Your words and your affection for me means a lot.. keep blessing . It’s been an honour to play for you

      10 September 2021 at 10:27 pm
  • Nikita Reply

    What a fantastic interview. Very well said !! i know Uma
    since childhood. Uma is my school friend. We had been together since KG in our school days. Even then she was very much in music learning from Kakaji Sir like she said in the interview. She is not just a fabulous musician but a great artist and was outstanding in her academic too. I remember our school days..what fun it was !
    Whatever she is today is entirely her hard work and dedication. And what’s more important is the support she received from her family. Being a bright student she could have chosen other corporate jobs which give good pay cheques but her love for music is something beyond boundaries. She always makes her presence felt among all nig artists and is now there with her female band. Keep rocking Uma and keep reaching great heights. All the very best

    7 September 2021 at 7:37 pm
    • Uma Devraj Reply

      Oh my god. Thank you so much dear Nikita. We have known each other for almost more than 25 years now. School was an unforgettable memory. I still miss St augustines Nerul. Thank you so much for your kind words and for your love and appreciation. It means a lot to me

      10 September 2021 at 10:29 pm
  • Kumud Reply

    Uma I am sure you will achieve great accolades for your talent You R simply too good and your humility will take places

    7 September 2021 at 7:49 pm
    • Uma Devraj Reply

      Thank you so much.. keep blessing

      10 September 2021 at 10:29 pm
  • DDeepa Shirodkar Reply

    I truly am with Uma regarding remuneration, I remember Kavitaji(Krishnamurthy) used to have it in her group …equal distribution of payment including herself. Each & everyone gives same effort so why differentiate or be bias regarding payment. Remuneration should be equal to all Artist.Keep it up Uma & may you flourish in ur fiture endeavours.

    8 September 2021 at 7:58 am
    • Uma Devraj Reply

      Thank u Deepa ji. I was unaware that kavita ji used to work in this manner. And if it’s true then my respect to her increases 100 folds today.. thank you for your love and appreciation deepa ji

      10 September 2021 at 10:31 pm
  • Seema Rajan Rane Reply

    Uma, the genius, very sincere and truly hard working magician blessed and deary to Almighty…Let her band flourish and mesmerise the world with her art…she has so much to give to society…

    8 September 2021 at 8:03 am
    • Uma Devraj Reply

      Thank you so much seema ji. I am so fortunate to have been associated with people like you who love me and my work so so unconditionally. Thank you so much. Means a lot to me .

      10 September 2021 at 10:32 pm
  • Usha.R Reply

    I am proud to have this Gem called Uma in our family. She is not only talented in professional front but extremely kind hearted individual. She is having a midas touch to turn anything she touches into awesome work. Love u loads . Stay blessed. We all r always with u my dear.

    29 September 2021 at 10:46 pm
  • Ram Gurung Reply

    Beautiful interview. I have found you all trio’s wonderful presentation in YouTube and I am following since then. Keep posting beautiful videos. Best wishes Uma Ji and your band members !

    30 September 2021 at 8:54 am
  • R D Vaniya Reply

    Madam Madam Dr. Uma Devaraj ji.

    I am senior citizen residing in Ahmedabad my name is R D Vaniya.

    Madam, I have seen vedio on Facebook “saregama” for ever Pancham organise by Ajay Madan (Mokshaevent) in which Mr Sudesh Bhosle sang sang “Pyar Diwana hota hai” and you are playing Keyboard.I am very much Impressed that being female artist playing keyboard so nicely.

    Please inform me name of vedio site or utube wherein your performance is there.

    Thanking you and God Bless you ???


    R D Vaniya

    PS I had undergone Cancer surgery.
    Now by the Gress of God I Very fine.

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    12 December 2021 at 8:05 pm
  • Sunil Ji Reply

    आप लोगों को सुन कर बहुत अच्छा लगा।
    मन बहुत खुश हो गया
    बार बार यूट्यूब पर सुन रहा हूं
    आप सभी कहां रहते हैं
    आप लोगों को बनारस, गाजीपुर बुलाना चाहते हैं
    आप सभी का क्या बजट होना चाहिए
    आप लोगों से कैसे संपर्क हो
    मैं दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय से शोध कर रहा हूं
    गीत गजल लिखता हूं

    20 January 2022 at 11:18 am
  • Patil S S Reply

    You are a wonderful musicians. I saw number of times your U tube performance of TRIOS.
    Can I get your mobile number please?

    23 January 2022 at 8:25 pm
  • sanjeev Reply

    Hi Uma ji Sabse pehle apke kala ko mera shat shat naman, apki music me mujhe excellence nazar aya how we can contact you, mail me thanks again and many congratulation to you and your team,

    23 March 2022 at 9:38 pm
  • Shashidhar Reply

    Undoubtedly very talented trio. They are driven by passion for music. It is difficult to reach top in music world unless talent is galvanized with very hard work and lot of sacrifices. You made it. Commercial success will follow.

    21 September 2022 at 12:38 pm
  • Narendra D Kothari Reply

    I am impressed by talented trio I personally enjoyed each and every song
    please give me details if I Wants to arrange musical night

    16 February 2023 at 9:34 am

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