Shibir: A 7-day immersive residential retreat

For the first time in the America, in May 2018, DMIA will offer a Shibir in the Seattle area – in the form of a 7-day immersive and residential retreat with the esteemed Gundecha Brothers.

SHIBIR INTENTION: The intention of a Shibir – meaning summit – is to work in a focused and immersive way on chosen aspects of the venerable art form of Dhrupad. The residential nature of the experience follows the Gurukul tradition, in which students are in co-residence with the Gurus, and observe not only the musical practice together, but also all other life aspects of Self alignment that make for a holistic sadhana.

DATES AND LOCATION: The Shibir is planned for May 21-27, 2018, and will be located in the lap of the Pacific Northwest within 2 hours of driving from Seattle. (The location is to be determined.)

THE PROGRAM: The program includes full-days of Dhrupad (vocal) music instruction beginning before sunrise with Kharaj practice (a way of preparing the voice) and ending around 8pm just before dinner. Each day, sessions include 3 group sessions distributed through the day (Kharaj session with Umakant ji,  Voice Technique / Composition session with Ramakant ji, and Taal session with Akhilesh ji on the pakhawaj), as well as one-on-one lessons with both Umakant ji and Ramakant ji. All one-on-one lessons are open to be observed by all students, making for wonderful listening sessions when one isn’t in direct instruction, a significant avenue of learning. The one-on-one sessions are student-directed, which means the student gets to ask for guidance in a particular Raag, as well as any aspect of Dhrupad singing, whether alaap, jod or jhaala, composition elaboration, voice technique, and so on. The schedule includes breaks for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner.

RESIDENTIAL ASPECT: The Shibir mandates residence on premises as part of the full-immersion. The ideal environment includes going offline from the internet, emails, phone calls etc., so that all can observe an inward gaze in stillness and Self alignment. And the togetherness of all participants with the gurus is in the spirit of satsang (communion) rather than socializing. Accommodation in the residence may be single rooms or shared rooms with multiple beds.

PROGRAM ENROLLMENT: The maximum enrollment for the Shibir is 20 participants. This is the ideal number for a group immersion as well as adequate time with the gurus each day for one-on-one instruction. Participants must be adequately self-directed in their learning, with experience singing  Indian classical / Raga music, and at least some exposure to Dhrupad. Participants are welcome from all over America, with an aim to reach students from Seattle, Portland and Vancouver. The Shibir will be appropriate for students 18 and older, unless a minor is accompanied by another adult learning member. (No family members can attend as companions.)

PROGRAM FEE: The program fee includes Music instruction, room-and-board, as well as vegetarian, saatvik meals, prepared and cooked daily on site, sometimes with the assistance and participation of both gurus and shishyas. For this first time, the fee is estimated in the range of $850-$950, to be finalized once the location and all other arrangements are also final. Enrollment will open between December 2017 and January 2018 with 50% deposit due at the time.

Shibir 2017, Germany: Kharaj practice before sunrise

Shibir 2017, Germany: Group photograph of participants

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