Globally renowned Cellist and creator of the Indian Cello, Saskia Rao De Haas, has authored a book titled ‘Shāstra – A journey through Indian Music History’. The book dwells into the history of Indian music going all the way back to 5000-6000 BC (7000-8000 years ago) to present day.
In an exclusive interview, Saskia Rao de-Haas, told the The Australia Today’s Editor, Pallavi Jain, that there is an unbroken lineage of music in India dating back thousands of years. She added that we still use the name of musical instruments mentioned in the Samved (One of the four Vedas which are ancient Indian texts) like the ‘Mridang’.
“When we talk about the Samveda we talk about documented proof that there was a music form highly developed at that time, but even before, if we look at the Indus valley civilisations, there was music at that time as well. So we date back the classical musical tradition, the history, to the Samveda because from that point onwards we find a lot of commonalities in the documents with our classical musical traditions even today. For instance, the mention of the Mridanga as the drum used is mentioned in the Vedas, Vanshi for flute is also mentioned there”.
WATCH VIDEO: Catch the full, fascinating interview with Saskia Rao de-Hass on Shāstra
Born in the Netherlands, Saskia first came to India in 1994 to study Indian music at Delhi University under Dr Sumati Mutatkar. She currently resides in Delhi with her husband Sitarist Pandit Shubhendra Rao and son Ishaan.
Saskia along with Pt Shubhendra are founders of the Shubhendra and Saskia Rao foundation that aims to make ‘music the birthright of every child’. They have also initiated the Sangeet4all curriculum for young learners.
“It is a long, interesting road that we have taken into music education with Sangeet4All which has by now benefitted over 60,000 children in India. we are also bringing the program to the US and Europe and hope to bring it to children and their families across the world”.