Artist Profiles: Shweta Jhaveri

Shweta Jhaveri is a vocalist of North Indian (Hindustani) classical music. A celebrated singer of her generation performing Khayal, she is also adept in Thumri, Dhrupad compositions and Bhajan. Her ‘mesmerising voice’, innovative artistry and remarkable vocal technique have made her a favorite among audiences in India and abroad.

Born and raised in Ahmedabad, India, Shweta was the premier female vocalist to represent the state of Gujarat internationally in the field of North Indian classical vocal music. Initially learning from her age of 6, she was trained to perform in her early years by way of the passed on gurukul music traditions of India under the tutelage of maestro vocalist Pandit Jasraj. After moving to California in the USA by her mid-twenties, she was blessed to perform under the guidance of legendary musician Ali Akbar Khan.

Shweta Jhaveri made her debut in India at age 12 and outside of India at age nineteen traveling to Great Britain and the United States in 1985. On the side, she earned a Bachelor’s in literature and master’s in vocal music under Vilas khandekar. She has performed extensively in India at prestigious major festivals including Saptak-Ahmedabad, Sankat Mochan-Varanasi, Pandit Motiram Samaroh-Hyderabad, NCPA-Mumbai, Sawai Gandharva, Shankarlal fest and more.

She has toured India, USA, UK, Canada, Europe, Africa, The Netherlands, Bangladesh, the Middle East, Singapore, the Caribbean and South America. She was a vocal teacher-faculty at the esteemed Ali Akbar college of music for a decade in 1990s. Since early years she has been fortunate to perform alongside such greats as harmonium virtuoso Appa Jalgaonkar, pandit Swapan Chaudhari, ustad Sultan Khan, Zakir Hussain and pandit Ravi Shanker.

As the premier North Indian classical vocalist to perform world music with western musicians, from her twenties she has introduced raga and khayal in the western world. In 1993 Kavi Alexander had formed an ensemble producing music of The Court Musicians featuring Shweta jhaveri’s vocals in ragas in collaboration with American musicians, performed in Santa Bárbara, California.

In 1998, producer Lee Townsend formed an ensemble and produced the music of Anahita, performed by Shweta in North Indian ragas, based on Khayal. The accompaniment of guitar, bass, violin, and drums is innovative and arresting, lending a modern touch to these traditional musical expressions. She had performed vocal music in the Maihar orchestra under the direction of swar samrat Ali Akbar khan.

Shweta Jhaveri founded Cosmic khayals in her early 30s in 1998. Initially a music company, it has remained as one of her creations, under which she has preserved and propagated Hindustani classical vocal music through her vocal performance. Her music reflects mewati and maihar traditions.

She has also performed raga based world music and lyrics, taught the Spring & Summer classes for international students of Indian classical vocal music and presented her recordings such as Avishkar and khayal Saga.

Shweta Jhaveri expresses her cherished areas in music as Shruti-Raga-Invocation which denotes microtonal sound-raga sentiment-soulful music.

Her creation Saraswati bani in Hindustani classical vocal music since 1990 features khayal, dhrupad, classical compositions and her raga creation such as Krishna Bhairavi performed by her in concerts. Recorded by prestigious international labels, performing for radio such as the BBC, Television and Films from her young age, she is a recipient of awards and honours from India and abroad.

WorldDiscoveries net reviewed her as ‘Shweta Jhaveri is to the raga for voice what Ravi Shankar is to the raga for sitar’. At the Saptak fest,in memory of ustad Allarakha Khan, she was recently reviewed as ‘a magical voice filled with the colours of microtones and raga’.

Discography:

Ecstasy ‎(Biswas Records, 1995)
In Various Moods ‎(Biswas Records, 1997)
Anahita (Intuition, 2000)
In Various Moods (Biswas Records, 2000)
Hindustani Classical (Biswas Records, 2001)
Avishkar (21st Century Cosmos, 2005)
Khayal-Saga (21st Century Cosmos, 2005)
Music of Teens & 20s (21st Century Cosmos, 2007)
Huge (21st Century Cosmos, 2007)
Prabandh: Classical Vocal Forms of North India (2010)
Awakening (Audiorec Classics, 2011)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.
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