Narendra Datar began his formal musical training in 1976, at the age of 16, under the highly respected teacher and Agra gharana vocalist Pandit Vasantrao Kulkarni. While still in school, he won several first prizes in inter-collegiate and inter-university vocal music competitions, held at state and national levels. In recognition of his musical promise, he was given a special gold medal by his own high school, the Raja Shivaji Vidyalaya. A few years later, on the occasion of that institution’s 75th anniversary, Mr. Datar was again celebrated as a distinguished alumnus.
He came to Canada in 1984, completing an M.Sc. in computer science at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton and B. Tech. (Electrical Engineering) from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. Since 1986, he has resided in Toronto, where he has been active both as a teacher and a performer of Hindustani (North Indian) classical music. His concert appearances have taken him across Canada, from Vancouver to St. John’s, and he has also given programs in numerous U.S. cities, including New Jersey, Boston, Ann Arbour, Battle Creek, Detroit, San Diego, Los Angeles, Washington, Rochester and Buffalo. He participated in the Music Events at the 1993 (Baltimore), 1995 (Houston) and 1997 (Boston) Brihan-Maharashtra Mandal Conventions, which were appreciated very much by the audience. Closer to home, he performed in the ‘Rhythms of India,’ a Harbourfront Centre presentation in Toronto, in 1993 and 1994. As a part of the 25th celebration of the Marathi Bhashik Mandal, Toronto, he had helped organize and participated in various musical events.
As a recipient of the prestigious Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute Senior Performing Arts Fellowship in 1989, he was able to return to Bombay for one year, from September 1989 until October 1990, in order to receive advanced vocal training from Pandit Kulkarni. During that same period, he also gave a number of classical music programs in Bombay and other locations. He has finished making two recordings of his music, classical as well as devotional songs, which has been made available to the public. His classical music recordings was done with the help of a grant from the Ontario Arts Council.
In addition to his achievements as a performer of classical and light classical (Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati, Kannada) music, Mr. Datar is a composer of merit. One of his series of devotional songs is based on texts by Kishan Varma of Halifax. Mr. Datar is also an active member of the Indian community in Toronto, and has frequently participated in local cultural events. In November 1993, the Marathi Bhashik Mandal (Maharashtrian Cultural Organization) presented him with a plaque in honour of the contributions that he has made to music and to cultural life in general.
Ravi Datar: Apple Falling Not Far From the Tree
Ravi was born in Toronto on 13 November 1994. Ravi has been interested in vocal music from a very young age and started singing light classical songs such as Bhajans and Natya-Sangeets since he was four years old. He presented songs at many Marathi Mandal get togethers. Ravi also participated in his father’s concerts in Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and India. All of his presentations have been highly appreciated by the audience. In September 2006, Ravi was invited to present a short private concert of his songs—not with his father—and that was appreciated by all the invitees.
In fall 2005, Ravi Datar won the first prize in the age category 5 to 12 years in the Vocal Music Competition arranged by Kalasangam, Canada. He was later sponsored by Kalasangam, Canada to represent the Canadian Chapter in the All India Level Music Competition held in New Delhi in February 2006. Out of the four representatives from Canada in all age categories, Ravi was the only person who won a prize, even at New Delhi, where he came in second. Later in summer 2006, he participated in the Vocal Music Competition held by Swar-Vihar, Brampton and once again won the first prize in the age category 11 to 18 years. He also participated in a Vocal Music Competition held by the Toronto Sanskriti Sangstha, a Toronto Bengali Association, and once again secured the first place in his age category. He was also invited to present a few songs in the 28th North American Bengali Conference in 2008 in Toronto.
Ravi participated in the ‘Sur Paschimeche’ Grand Finale Presentation at the BMM Seattle Convention in 2007. His presentation of ‘Ghei Chhanda’ was appreciated tremendously by the audience. His presentation of ‘Saangaa Mukund Kuni Haa Paahilaa’ and ‘Ghei Chhand’ were once again appreciated very much by the audience at the second presentation of ‘Sur Paschimeche’ at the fundraising concert for the Maharashtra Foundation held in New Jersey in 2008.
Ravi continues to learn vocal Indian classical music under the guidance of his father, Narendra Datar.