The Rudra Veena, according to mythology, was created by Lord Shiva, while he was contemplating on the perfect beauty of his wife Parvati.
Her association with Lord Shiva (one of his alternative names is Rudra) made the Veena a popular instrument of the Yogis und Ascetics. For them playing of the Veena united ritual and meditation. It is said, that the music of the Veena possesses the power to purify the mind of the musician and the listeners alike and those uplift there consciousness into the transcendent spiritual plans.
The oldest preserve portrayal in temple architecture from around the 5th century A.D. shows a simple, one stringed instrument consisting of a bamboo cane with a gourd as resonance body.
Around the 16th century the Rudra Veena had developed her actual shape with frets and two symmetric resonance bodies. At this time it evolved into one of the most important melody instruments of the aristocratic court music and became later the main solo instrument of the primary vocal Dhrupad music style. With the rise of the Khyal, the modern classical music style of North India, and the therewith aligned evolution of newer instruments like Sitar and Sarod the Veena gradually lost its important role from the 19th century onwards.
While the Veena is still worshiped as mother of all Indian string instruments, one can find her today only rarely on the musical platforms. With her extreme subtle playing techniques and aesthetic which require lifelong devotion and self-discipline for mastering the instrument, she has become an ambassador of the past times.
Still, as an alternative to the restless time sentiment of the present age, the Rudra Veena and her music are nowadays rediscovered by a growing international audience. Independently from the great history of the instrument also today’s listeners enjoy the unique experience the Veena has to reveal - an unparalleled musical journey between silence and ecstasy.
Manufacturing my own
With the decrease of active Rudra Veena players in the 20th century it became for the instrument workshops increasingly uninteresting to maintain the art of manufacturing the queen of Indian string instruments. In 1994 the famous 'Kanailal & Brothers' instrument workshop in Kolkata, which was specialized on old string instruments like Rudra Veena and Surbahar closed its business.
Facing the lack of qualified Veena artisans in India I started in 2010 manufacturing my own Rudra Veenas. The project is running now in its 8th year. A small serial of high end instruments with unparalleled sound and finishing quality is about to be finished.
Enjoy a few impression from this adventurous journey.