The Proficient Dr. Aparna MayekarSwar Aalap
- Nisha Jalori | firstname.lastname@example.org
“The best tunes are played on the oldest fiddles” forced to quote it as this feature of mine will cover a versatile singer, who at the ripe age of 75 years, has a successful career as a practising doctor and a multi lingual singer. Dr. Aparna Mayekar has sung more than 5000 songs in 14 Indian languages, composed music for some Marathi films and lent her euphonious voice to more than 1000 cassettes and CDs. She has also sung for yesteryear heroines – Sridevi, Rekha, Dimple Kapadia etc. We are here in conversation with the multi-talented Dr. Aparna Mayekar, who is also a recipient of the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Award.
Tell us about your musical journey.
Well, music runs in my blood as my father Datta Davjekar, was a music composer of repute associated with Marathi and Hindi films. He was a music arranger to music maestros C Ramchandra, Chitragupt, Roshan ji and others. He also gave break to playback singers Mangeshkar sisters and Anuradha Paudwal.
Owing to the musical environment at home, I just started humming. Seeing this, my father sent me to train myself in classical singing, which I learnt from Pt. Jitendra Abhisheki, Smt. Shobha Gurtu, Pt. Vasantrao Kulkarni and ghazals from Pt. Govind Prasad Jaipurwale. But all the same, I learnt the nuances of classical music from my father himself. I started singing from the early age of 7 years.
Music director C Ramchandra fondly known as Anna Sahab used to frequent our house and he gave me my first playback song. It so happened that Anna Sahab once heard me humming and asked me to sing for him. I agreed, my father was a little skeptical but the song got recorded in one take. I sang for films only for 2 years, as did not find a congenial atmosphere there. But continued with music recordings and stage shows, which am doing till now.
My husband Arvind Mayekar, was a Sitar maestro, who worked with SD Burman, RD Burman, Kalyanji-Anandji, Jatin-Lalit, Anu Malik and others. He lent me full support and encouragement. With his unwavering cooperation, I managed to carve a niche for myself as a singer.
How do you balance your professional career as a doctor and passion as a singer?
My first priority has always been my medical profession. But at the same time, I followed my passion also. There did come times in my life when I had to give up singing, but Pyare bhai always motivated me to continue it. Then, I took care of my clinic in the morning and evening hours and continued with my recording sessions, though completely gave that up during my husband’s illness. After my husband’s sad demise, have taken back to singing, which he also strongly desired, doing musical workshops also. Am so proud to quote that the students trained under me are shining and making their mark in vocal singing.
What do you enjoy singing most Bollywood or Konkani?
I enjoy singing in every language as it is music after all. Though I was the only Marathi singer who sang in Konkani then. I also received first best playback singer award in Mangalore. It is of course challenging to sing in different languages especially South Indian songs, but I love to accept challenges and enjoy singing them.
How has your experience of working with Legendary composers been?
I have done more than 2000 stage shows with Legendary composers Bappi da, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Manna Dey, Anand-Milind, Nitin Mukesh etc. and learnt a lot from them. Laxmi bhai and Shakti Samant were extremely impressed with me as my singing had the desired expressions needed for the song.
What has been the most memorable incident of your singing?
I distinctly remember that during one of my song recordings for Shakti Samant, tears rolled down my eyes and this expression was needed in the song. As for the stage shows, during one of my shows with Bappi da, two singers before me on the stage failed to impress the audience owing to their lip singing. This aggravated them, upon which Dada asked me to perform and I managed to captivate the audience with my mesmerizing renditions.
What is your perspective on the current scenario in the Indian Music industry?
There is a drastic change in the music recording scene now to that in the yesteryears. Earlier, we used to have recording sessions with the musicians wherein we got time for improvisation and it used to be like a family performing together. Nowadays, due to the advent of Digital recordings, the music composition is already done before, we just have to add pur vocals to it. Even for duet songs, there will be solo recordings, which lacks expression and no time is there for improvisation.
Tell us about your Musical workshops?
I have done 24 workshops till now. My approach to teaching is very different. I teach them Omkar Sadhana, some musical exercises, Pranayams, when they have to do riyaaz etc. I teach them one-to-one basis, that is, do not take more than 15 students in one workshop. So happy and proud am I to share that some pf my students are now professional singers and some have won music competitions.
Since you have been singing for decades now, what advice would you give to the upcoming singers?
Well, I would like to tell them to always do Riyaaz. Nowadays, most of the singers are singing on karaoke and think that they have mastered the art, but this is not right. Today, even when am about to turn 75 years, I try not to miss my Riyaaz. Also, they should refrain from smoking or alcohol. Always be humble and polite, as your behaviour gets reflected in your song also. Also Be Positive – I believe in never giving up, no matter what the odds.
With so many credentials to herself, how can I forget to quote some of her popular Hindi songs – “Tum Jo Parda Rakhoge, Humko yaad na karna, Sahib yakeen kar do, Kaise mein bulaaun jaane jaana, Chalta chala jaaon mei,” and in Marathi – Sheptivasyachi Praanyaachi Purvi bharli Sabha, Hridayi Vasant Phultana, Gajanan Gajanan, Bandhu Yeil Maheri” and many more. Such were the fantastic views of this wonderful talented artist, whom I bow down to. Long live Dr. Aparna Mayekar and her inimitable singing.