SINCE the age of three, Akhil Jobanputra (Akhil Dattani) has been learning North Indian classical vocal music under the guidance of Pandit Jasraj ji (PadmaVibhushan), Pandit Sanjeev Abhyankar, and Asha Lohia as well as many other gurus from Canada and India.
Akhil started performing from a very young age, and has been featured in the Sawan Mela, Vancouver Celebrates Diwali, Mushtari Begum Festival of Indian Classical Music and Dance, and the Pandit Motiram Pandit Maniram Music Festival in Hyderabad, India. He has performed extensively across Canada, the US, and India. Akhil has also had the honour of accompanying his guru Pandit Jasraj at the Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Sangeet Mahotsav in Pune, India, and at his concerts throughout Vancouver, Toronto, and San Francisco.
Akhil is also a teacher in his own right and has been instructing students since 2010. He was invited to participate at the Living Library organized by Douglas College and Coquitlam Public Library in 2013 where he explained the similarities and distinctions of western and Indian vocal forms as well as theoretical, historical, and emotive components of Indian classical music.
Akhil has received many awards and honours including the ‘Mewati Deepak’ and ‘Mewati Deepankur’ titles from the Pandit Jasraj Institute of New York along with the Performing Arts Award from his school for excelling in the arts. In 2013, Akhil was awarded the ‘Times of Canada Award – Arts and Culture Category’ for his outstanding contributions to the community of BC.
Thanks to maestros such as the Gundecha brothers and Pandita Girija Devi, Akhil has worked hard on riyaaz (practice), research, and meditation on the subtle aspects of Indian classical music. He has developed his own voice filled with emotion, complemented by shades of powerful sargam taans (fast improvisations) that play with the laya (rhythm). He has enabled himself to approach Indian classical music with modern ideas without polluting its spiritual and pure image. He has experimented with western music as well, being an active participant in the Burnaby Children’s District Choir until 2010 and collaborating with Celtic, and African musicians during a performance at the Mission Folk Festival in 2012.
Akhil has extensively collaborated with a local Kathak dancer, Amika Kushwaha, learning the subtle aspects of accompanying Indian classical dance and composing music pieces for dance recitals as well as embellishing his technique on the harmonium (Indian reed organ). Akhil has also dabbled with various instruments such as the piano, tabla, Djembe, flute, and Pakhawaj.
Akhil has been very active in promoting Indian classical arts in Vancouver. He created the ICMSV – Indian Classical Music Society of Vancouver. He is also the creator and official administrator of the Mewati Gharana Fan Group on Facebook and plays a vital role in the administration of the Pandit Jasraj School of Music Foundation Vancouver. Through ICMSV, he has organized events such as the Maha Shivaratri Sangeet Samaroha and the Raag-Taal-Nritya Workshops. He actively aids other organizations in the community with their events.
He is currently in Grade 12 at Moscrop Secondary School and has high aspirations for his future.