Dilip Chandra Vedi

Dilip Chandra Vedi was born in 1901 and a contemporary of famous musicians like Omkarnath Thakur, Bade Gulam Ali Khan, Inayat Khan (sitar) and Nasiruddin Khan Dagar (dhrupad). The latter two were his close friends, he often travelled throughout India in their company, going to music festivals or ‘conferences’.

Vediji was a versatile musician and won many prizes in his prime. However, like so many other stalwards, he was not alert to the importance of making good deals with the recording companies. A few of his recordings are available (on this page), but they are not very well done. They do give an impression of his style though. He had been trained initially under Uttam Singh, dhrupadiya of the Tilwandi gharana of Panjab. After him, he became a disciple of Bhaskar Rao Bakhle. Vediji was a great fan of Bhaskar Rao and always remained devoted to his style. The essence of it can be heard in Vediji’s music: smoothly carved musical images of the raga. There are no jerks in this music. Bhaskar Rao died when Vediji was only 21, but the impression was everlasting. The training was not complete and he was accepted as a disciple by the great Faiyaz Khan, who was a gurubhai of Bhaskar Rao. Vediji also learned with Alladiya Khan, the great doyen of Jaipur gharana. Alladiya Khan and Bhaskar Rao had been very close friends – so much that Alladiya Khan wanted to stop singing when Bhaskar Rao died.

Dilip Chandra Vedi was a musician who could not tolerate degradation in music and who fought mediochrity. Many musicians feared him, for he would not hesitate to challenge anyone who, in Vediji’s eyes, was abusing the raga-s. Even a great stalward like OMkarnath Thakur had to endure such public criticisms on several occasions.

Vediji stopped performing in the late 1960s, his voice started faltering. From that time onward he devoted himself to teaching, to research projects and to advisory functions. He has disciples all over the world.

Dilip Chandra Vedi passed away on the 13th of November 1992.

Vedi’s last interview: “There is too much noise”



Dilip Chandra Vedi singing raga Bahar (1936)

Dilip Chandra Vedi singing Vedi ki Lalit (1936)

You can download these files by right/control clicking the links and choosing download linked file


Cultural Evolution: A Case Study of Indian Music

wim-pictOriginally published in Sangeet Natak, Journal of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi, Vol. 35, Jan-Mar. 1975, p. 49-65.

Apart from the fact that this issue is not easily found, it must also be added that the editor had not sent the text for proofreading nor had she done any checking herself. As a result (and also because of the then prevalent system of typesetting), the article was virtually unintelligible due to many typographical errors.

With the renewed interest in evolutionary musicology and the rise of memetics in music, this article may be of interest. I think it is one of the earliest statements of a neo-darwinian approach to music.

Meer – Cultural evolution, A Case Study of Indian Music (Sangeet Natak 35, 1975)

to the left: the author in younger days … though later than 1975