Shibir: A 7-day immersive residential retreat

The chateau nestled in 20 acres of private greens!

For the first time there will be there will be a Shibir in the Seattle area, in May 2018 – in the form of a 7-day immersive residential retreat with the esteemed Padmashri Gundecha Brothers, under the auspices of DMIA, and as a part of Dhrupad Days.

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 in 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 7-day Shibir is planned for May 21-27, 2018 (arrival on evening of the 20th and close on morning of the 28th). It will be located in the lap of the Pacific Northwest, in the little town of Chimacum on the Olympic Peninsula, a 2-hour driving distance from Seattle, and approximately 3.5 hours from Portland and 4 hours from Vancouver, B.C. The chateau is on 20 acres of secluded land with trees, a beautiful valley view, its own 0.7 mile trail, and a ravine to explore! The address is 516 Blue Mountain Road, Chimacum, WA, 98325. (See residence details further below.)

THE PROGRAM: The program includes 7 full-days of Dhrupad (vocal) music instruction beginning before sunrise with Kharaj practice (a way of preparing and culturing the voice), and ending around 8pm just before dinner. Each day’s schedule includes 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. The lovely chateau on 20 acres of secluded property has many flexible spaces and a large hall for music instruction. Sleeping arrangements will include dorm-type settings for female-only, male-only, or mixed occupancy, as well as shared rooms with large double beds. (We will do our best to honor everyone’s comfort – arrangements may be humble but comfortable!)

PROGRAM ENROLLMENT: The maximum enrollment for the Shibir is 16-18 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, 8 nights of room-and-board, as well as 3 vegetarian, saatvik meals per day, prepared and cooked daily on site, sometimes with the assistance and participation of both gurus and shishyas. The fee is estimated at $970; the finalized amount will be announced when enrollment begins. Early enrollment will open between December 2017 and January 2018, with possibly a 5% discount for registering with full payment on or before February 15.

INQUIRIES: Please direct inquiries to organizers Vikas Garg: vikasgarg.iit@gmail.com, or Shahana Dattagupta: shahana.dattagupta@gmail.com. And, be sure to sign up here to be notified when enrollment opens.

Shibir 2017, Germany: Kharaj practice before sunrise

Shibir 2017, Germany: Group photograph of participants

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