Vrinda Mundkur’s music reflects all that is beautiful and sublime. She performs the styles of Khayal, Thumri, Dadra, Tarana and Bhajan with ease and dexterity. She brings out the true mood and essence of the Raga with her rich and resonant voice. Her keen aesthetic sense coupled with a mellifluous voice and a charming stage presence creates an instant rapport and impact on appreciative audiences. It is an enriching and elevating experience to hear her unfold the Raga effortlessly and improvise on it with accurate swara projection, a clear ringing voice and a good command over Tala and Laya. Vrinda has gained recognition as a gifted vocalist by critics and connoisseurs alike.
Vrinda Mundkur hails from a family with a deep rooted interest and pursuit of art. Vrinda has been initiated into Hindustani Music by her mother Smt. Aruna Rao, herself an artist par excellence in the field of music, painting and literature. Vrinda has the benefit of her mother’s valuable guidance and inspiration till this day.
From childhood Vrinda had a flair for the creative arts. Along with music she pursued Bharata Natyam, a classical dance form for eight years under the rigorous training of Acharya Parvati Kumar, a renowned Guru. However, later Vrinda devoted herself to the pursuit of Hindustani Classical music which became her major field of interest and expression. This was a turning point in her career.
Training in music:
Vrinda has been groomed by eminent gurus. After she graduated from the well known Elphinstone College in Mumbai, she became a pupil of Pandit Firoz Dastur in the music centre of the Mumbai University for several years. From him she imbibed the delicate intricacies of the popular Kirana Gharana.
Later she came under the valued tutelage of Pandit Batuk Dewanji, a veteran of the Agra Gharana and an acclaimed musicologist, from whom she learnt numerous and valuable rare Ragas and Thumri forms such as Hori, Chaiti, Kajri, Jhula, Sawan etc.
She has had the privilege of training under Smt. Shobha Gurtu a maestro and queen of Thumri.
She has received rigorous and advanced guidance from the eminent scholar- musician and composer of the Agra-Jaipur Atrauli Gharana, Pandit Babanrao Haldankar, from whom she has learnt several popular and rare Ragas and Taranas. She sings his unique and inimitable compositions with great fervour and spirit.
Vrinda has also been intensely trained in the multi-faceted intricacies of the stylized ragas of the Hapur, Khurja, Sikandra and Delhi-Tanras gharanas from none other than the doyen and maestro Ustad Aslam Khan disciple of Gayan Samrat Ustad Azmat Hussain Dilrang.
Vrinda blends the intricate styles of Agra-Atrauli, Khurja and Hapur gharanas judiciously and innovatively.
Vrinda Mundkur is a graded artist of All India Radio and Television. She is on the panel of artists of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, New Delhi. In the role of a cultural delegate, she has given concerts and lecture demonstrations in Zurich, Geneva, London and Holland. She has completed successful concert tours of the USA and UK in 1994, 1996,1999 and 2010.
She has given significant performances since 1980 at various prestigious concert halls in India and abroad. To name a few,
- She has been awarded the ‘Sur Mani’ by the Sur Singar Samsad, Mumbai in 1981.
- She is also featured on the website of the Agra Gharana www.agragharana.org.
- Her music has been recorded for ‘Antara’, an interactive guide to Indian Classical Music, distributed by Times Multimedia.
- She has recorded fifty Raga Bandishes for the archives of the Samvad Foundation, Mumbai, an institution for the preservation and promotion of Hindustani Classical Music, funded by the Ford Foundation of USA.
- Vrinda has been awarded the prestigious Dagar Gharana award in March 2009 for excellence in the performance of Hindustani Classical Music (khayal and thumri) by the Maharana Mewar Foundation of Udaipur, Rajasthan.
- In 2018 she has been awarded the Madhuvan Ratna Puraskar by the Madhuvan Charitable Trust, Mumbai, for her valued and distinguised contribution in the sphere of Agra Atrauli and Khurja gharanas and her delineation of Banaras and Lucknow Thumris.
“A clear voice, attuned to a high degree of modulation marked her khayal as well as a light classical composition. The great variety of her ideas and intuitions were beautifully reflected in both the numbers.”
Mohan Nadkarni in “The Times Of India” Bombay, in Jan. 1986.
“ One was enthralled by her elaboration of Drut patterns in all the major events. It was obvious that the artiste had taken care to practice different and difficult tan patterns weaving them well in the frame. Her sawan with its rhythmic beauty had a captivating lilt.”
P.G Burde in “ The Times Of India”, Bombay dated Sept.4, 1988.
“ Her sense of involvement in music enables her to strike a rapport with the audience. The vocalist has been able to link the two idioms into coherence with a degree of success. Both the light classical pieces were marked by an elegance of diction.”
Amarendra – Nandu Dhaneshwar in “The Independent”, Bombay dated Aug.31,1998
“ Vrinda Mundkur is another name in the galaxy of young women singers who are transmitting the methodics of their taalim with a sense of commitment to the concrete and clear values in music. Vrinda has a clear ringing voice.”
Roshan Shahani in “ The Sunday Observer”, Bombay dated July 19,1992