Why you need to pick up the sitar, according to a sitar player

Why you need to pick up the sitar, according to a sitar player

Sarita McHarg

We chat to sitar player Sarita McHarg about her upcoming show at Melbourne institution The Boite.

How did you get introduced to the sitar and when?

Coming from a family of professional musicians, I learned many forms of folk song and dance, especially in the Kabeer and Malwa traditions. There was a sitar at our home during my childhood but nobody played it. In 1990, at the age of thirteen, and after hearing a Ravi Shankar soundtrack, I decided to take up sitar and began my study of Indian classical music.

How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?

Indian classical music has seven basic notes with five interspersed half notes, resulting in a 12-note scale. The notes are not simply stand-alone notes, they are connected by means of bending the strings through several positions, which makes the music flow.

For someone who has never played the sitar, why should they take the instrument up?

The sitar is a wonderfully expressive and challenging instrument. The most likely people to take it up would be those with a strong connection to Indian classical music, and a strong desire to master the instrument.

Describe your experience working with The Boîte. How has the organisation benefited you?

Through my connection with Boite, I have met so many wonderful artists and musicians, which has enriched my own musical experience. It gave me the opportunity to share my knowledge of Indian classical and Indian folk music through workshops and recitals.

What can we expect from your show at Open Studio on Wednesday July 10?

People can expect to hear a cross-cultural blend of Indian classical, Western classical and Greek traditional music – World Music.

Catch Sarita McHarg at Open Studio on Wednesday July 10. Grab your tickets at The Boite website, boite.com.au.