Acclaimed sitar player Sharanjeet Singh Mand at his studio in Surrey. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

MUSIC

VIDEO: Surrey sitar player earns national acclaim

Years ago, Sharanjeet Singh Mand went on a hunger strike in order to get his hands on the instrument

When he plays the sitar, Sharanjeet Singh Mand’s fingers seem to fly on the fretboard.

The Surrey-based musician has been playing the instrument for about a dozen years, and also teaches others.

“It is a difficult instrument to play,” Mand, 26, said with a smile as he demonstrated his sitar-playing skills at his Newton-area studio.

In August, CBC Music named Mand among Canada’s top 30 classical musicians under the age of 30.

The recognition makes him smile, no question.

“It’s a milestone in my life,” Mand said. “And it’s the first time an Indian classical musician has been on the list, and that should open so many doors for other musicians, other ethnic musicians. That is something I’m really happy about.”

Born and raised in India, Mand moved to Canada in 2014.

While in high school, someone challenged him to play the sitar at a time when he was studying science, not music.

“I used to listen to opera and classical music as a young child, and I eventually asked my parents for a sitar,” he recalled.

“I fasted and didn’t eat in order for them to get me a sitar,” he added. “I was doing a hunger strike – that is how much I wanted it. I was doing well in science and they were concerned about me playing music, so they were reluctant. But as soon as I sat with a sitar, I just felt complete. It was very beautiful for me.”

In July, Mand performed at Surrey’s Fusion Festival with Vancouver-based guitarist Michael Averill. The two will again collaborate on Saturday, Sept. 28 at Guildford Town Centre, as part of a B.C.-wide Culture Days celebration, from 1 to 5 p.m.

“This collaboration is an attempt to break barriers and connect different ends of this world through music,” says a post at culturedays.ca. “Apart from playing their original compositions, they will also present a little talk about their music and collaboration. The performance will include a song where the audience can sing back.”

Presented by Surrey Civic Theatres, the afternoon event in Guildford will also feature a hint of a Salsa Night in Surrey dance, a preview of Axis Theatre Company’s production of Th’owxiya: The Hungry Feast Dish, and a performance by young musicians involved in Surrey’s Band-Aid youth musician workshop.

Later on Sept. 28, at New Westminster’s Massey Theatre, Mand will be a featured performer during the eighth annual Mushtari Begum Festival of Indian Classical Music and Dance. Event details can be found at mbfestival.ca.

Mand plays the gandhar pancham style of sitar – a “singing sitar” that imitates the human voice.

He teaches six to seven hours a day at his studio.

“I love teaching,” he said. “I have 20 regular students – I call them shishya – who are dedicated to learning. I also teach online, and I try to go to India once a year because I have a lot of students there. I go there to teach and also to perform.”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Just Posted

Sikh millworker lodges human rights complaint against Interfor, again

Mander Sohal, fired from Delta’s Acorn Mill, alleges discrimination based on religion and disability

Developer offers free Tesla 3 with purchase of South Surrey townhome

Century Group’s offer for Viridian development runs through Oct. 31

Police looking for missing teen last seen at Surrey Central bus loop

Surrey RCMP say Daniel Froehlich has been missing since 10 p.m. on Sept. 10

Hot start to BCHL season ‘a huge positive’ for Surrey Eagles

Team stymied by hot Coquitlam Express goalie in home opener

Delta police say no evidence found of shots fired in Tsawwassen

Police received multiple reports of the sound of shots fired in Tsawwassen Sunday night

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

U.S. student, killed in Bamfield bus crash, remembered as ‘kind, intelligent, talented’

John Geerdes, 18, was one of two UVic students killed in the crash on Friday night

B.C. communities urged to improve access for disabled people

One in four B.C. residents has disability, most want to work

Pedestrian struck and killed by vehicle in Surrey

Investigators were asking anyone who witnessed the incident to come forward

UVic students killed in Bamfield bus crash were from Winnipeg, Iowa City

Authorities said the two victims were a man and a woman, both aged 18

Safety concerns resurface after fatal bus crash on Vancouver Island

Huu-ay-aht First Nations wants a safe route between Bamfield and Port Alberni

National weather forecasters predict average fall, cold winter

The Weather Network says precipitation will about average in most parts of Canada

Two dead, two in critical condition in highway crash near Campbell River

Highway 19 reopened Sunday night after it was closed in both directions

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Most Read

l -->