Dr Shakti Kumar Pandey
Dr Shivani has been working extensively for the revival of ancient Indian culture and traditions through music and other fine arts in Awadh region of Uttar Pradesh. She has also worked for organisations like SPIC-MACAY, North Central Zone Cultural Centre Allahabad, and Sangeet Sankalp.
Dr Shivani received Junior Fellowship (2005) and Senior Fellowship (2013-14) meant for outstanding persons in the field of culture, from the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. She completed a research project entitled “A Comprehensive Study and Collection of the Music Tradition of the Pushti Margi Stream of Krishna Bhakti (Haveli Sangeet) Prevalent in the Braj Region” for her Junior Fellowship and now for her Senior Fellowship. She is working on a research oriented project entitled “A Thorough Study, Collection and Documentation of the Folk Culture of the Areas Situated at the Banks of the Ganga and Festivals and Folk Songs Related to the Ganga.” This project aims to highlight the religious, social and cultural aspect of the Ganga.
A very rare combination of singer, music director, music teacher, instructor, composer, lyricist, poetess, writer, orator and researcher, Dr Shivani Matanhelia is the recipient of “YASH BHARTI” (2016-17), the highest honour from the Government of Uttar Pradesh, for her outstanding contribution to the field of Indian classical music
All research projects carried out by Dr Matanhelia are a testimony of her keen interest in the rich cultural heritage and traditions of India and her sincere efforts to associate these traditions with the daily lives of the common people by creating social awareness and sense of belonging towards them.
Dr Shivani Matanhelia has equal hold over classical, semi-classical, light and folk music and has performed at almost all the prestigious stages, including a short tour to Johannesberg, South Africa in July 2013. She has excellent command over Sanskrit, Hindi, Urdu, Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Braj and Marwadi. Her articles, write ups and research papers are frequently published in music journals and magazines of high repute of national level. For her remarkable works in the field of music, Dr Shivani Matanhelia has been honoured by many organisations. She aims at mobilising the youth to opt for serious career in music and other fine arts and inspires and helps them to explore job options in the field of art and culture. She is devoted to the cause of establishing Indian music as one of the promising streams in the society. She is considered the cultural icon of the region and her exemplary works have set milestones in the cultural scenario of Awadhi belt.
At present Dr Shivani is working on a highly ambitious project entitled, “A Comprehensive Study, Collection, Documentation and Presentation of the Folk Songs of the Awadh Region”, partly funded by the Sangeet Natak Academy, New Delhi under the scheme for safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage and diverse cultural traditions of India. Under this project Shivani, along with her team, has been going door to door into the remote villages of Pratapgarh to contact the men and women who know and sing folk songs based on various occasions and rituals. These songs are being recorded and documented in their natural and original form along with the details of the resourced person. At the second stage, these folk songs will be published and popularised through internet and free
workshops, lectures, demonstrations etc will be conducted in educational institutions and cultural organisations.
All possible ways will be adopted to preserve them for the generations to come. Shivani believes that these folk songs are not merely songs, but they consist of terms of local dialect, describe the beauty and role of relations in the clan and of course, the traditional rituals. These songs are on the verge of extinction, and if not preserved now, we may lose them completely in future. n