Serving Fiji with music – Marriage of musical duo

Shraddha Dass with her Postgraduate Diploma in Hindi Literature certifi cate during the University of Fiji 2022 graduation past month. Picture: NAVNESH REDDY

For the past 50 years, Shraddha Dass has not only made Fiji her home. She has served Fiji with her musical talents and promoted classical Indian music too.

Shraddha, who is originally from Madhya Pradesh, India is married to renowned Fijian musician Sattvik Dass. “At a very tender age of four, I started learning Indian music,” the 72-year-old said.

Both her parents were academics. Her father was a Professor in Marathi, the chief language spoken in the western Indian state of Maharashtra. “My parents encouraged and supported me to develop my talents and so did my siblings.”

Shraddha said after completing her Bachelors degree in Science, she received a scholarship from the Government of India to further her interest in music at Kathak Kendra, New Delhi where she learnt kathak dance and received training in vocal music.

From the accounts of her husband in the autobiography “A Musical Journey”, Sattvik revealed he fell in love with Shraddha during their time in Bharatiya Kala Kendra, an Indian cultural institution of music, dance and performing arts in Delhi.

Sattvik described their matrimony as “Marriage of Music” held with “great pomp and ceremony”.

The couple left Delhi and moved to Fiji in December 1972. Shraddha has taught music and Hindi language for more than 30 years in various secondary schools around Fiji.

“I retired in 2009, however, post-retirement, I continued learning vocal music and harmonium from two musical experts in Pune, India.”

The veteran composer and singer said apart from teaching music in schools, she also taught at musical centers around the country.

“I teach music and Hindi language from home if students are ready to learn. I also perform on the air (Radio Fiji 2 & Radio Sargam) and in various functions in Fiji.”

Shraddha has also performed abroad, in countries such as India, Canada, US, Mauritius, Australia, New Zealand.

“I compose my own songs, poems and music and my composition Var de Saraswati was played on Radio Sargam for many years.”

The song ‘ai aai re Diwali that was played on Radio Fiji Two during Deepawali for many years was also sung by Shraddha.

“Music is just like doing meditation. It allows you to be focused and a focused mind helps in studies. Shraddha has challenged those who speak Hindi and those eager to speak it to continue learning the language because ‘language gives us our culture, our traditions and our true personality.”

Past month, Shraddha added a feather in her cap after she graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Hindi Literature during the University of Fiji’s 2022 graduation. She lives with her family in Naisoso, Nadi.

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