Shubha Mudgal is a well-known Indian singer of Hindustani classical music, Khayal, Thumri, Dadra, and popular Indian Pop music.
In addition to being a popular concert artist, Shubha has also won recognition as a composer. Her repertoire of medieval bhakti (devotional) poetry has received great appreciation from music lovers in India and abroad. She has also been working with filmmakers and her recent performance in Mira Nair’s new film–Kama Sutra, A Tale of Love–has been widely acclaimed. Shubha has performed extensively in several music festivals in and outside India.
She is also close to progressive movements like ANHAD and SAHMAT. Shubha Mudgal started performing as a classical singer in the 80s and gained a certain reputation as a talented singer. In the 90’s, she started experimenting with other forms of music, including pop and fusion varieties. She says, “I believe in music. Khayal and thumari are my favourites, but that doesn’t mean I should not experiment with other forms, Why should I curtail my musical urges?” asks the singer, and adds, “I want to allow the artist in me to come through. If you are a musician, how can you say, ‘this one is from devotional poetry, so I’m not going to sing it'”. In addition to her recordings and concerts, she also briefly ran a website called raagsangeet.com aimed at lovers of traditional Indian music.
Kohl-lined eyes, trademark tikka, minimal accessories, elegant sari, hair neatly plaited and an ear-to-ear smile, quite unlike her multi-layered music, Shubha Mudgal the person is plain and understated. But put her before the mike and she at once acquires a striking persona. It’s all in her full-throated voice. It’s the voice with a cross-generational appeal. It’s the voice that comfortably traverses genres. It’s the voice that oozes sensuousness and emotion in the switch of a tune. Shubha has done extensive research in ancient and medieval music, particularly bhakti sahitya to know how it can guide and add depth to sangeet.
Born in 1959 into a musically dedicated family. Her parents Skand and Jaya Gupta Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh. Her paternal grandfather, Prof. P. C. Gupta. Shubha married Pt. Mudgalaya’s son Mukul Mudgal. Shubha Mudgal got divorced from her first husband, and got married to Aneesh Pradhan.
Trained initially as a khayal singer by Pandit Ram Ashreya Jha in Allahabad. She also received the guidance of gurus such as Pt. Vinay Chandra Mudgalya, and Pt. Vasant Thakar. She went on to learn stylistic techniques from well-known maestros Pt. Jitendra Abhisheki and the legendary Pt. Kumar Gandharva. She also received training in thumri from the late Smt. Naina Devi, and is one of the most versatile and popular concert artists among the younger generation of Hindustani musicians.
Awards & Titles
- Best Music Direction in a non-feature film for her music in the documentary “Amrit Beej” by Meera Dewan, at the National Film Festival of India, 1996.
- Aadharshila Award 1996.
- Kalashri Award from Raja Ram Mohan Roy Education Foundation 1997.
- Surmani from Sur Singar Samsad 1982.
- 1996 National Film Award for Best Non-Feature Film Music Direction for ‘Amrit Beej’, the 1998 Gold Plaque Award for Special Achievement in Music, at the 34th Chicago International Film Festival, for her music in the film Dance of the Wind (1997), and the Padma Shri in 2000. An “A” grade artist of All India Radio and Doordarshan.