“Sitar as a Symphony for the Soul: Rishab Rikhiram Sharma’s Mission for Mental Wellness”


In the enchanting world of Indian classical music, Rishab Rikhiram Sharma stands out not only as a virtuoso of the sitar but also as an emissary for mental health awareness. Born into a family renowned for creating musical instruments, the legacy of his artistry has found a deeper purpose, striking chords that resonate beyond melody and into the minds of his listeners.

Rishab’s musical voyage is now interwoven with a profound advocacy, exemplified in his latest venture, the ‘Sitar For Mental Health’ music series. This initiative is a testament to his belief in the therapeutic capabilities of music, a belief that has taken shape against the backdrop of his personal struggles during the pandemic. Emerging with a resolve to help others, Rishab has embarked on a multi-city tour in India, traversing from Chennai to Mumbai and planning to enchant audiences in New Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, and Chandigarh. This three-month musical sojourn, commencing on March 15, 2024, marks an ambitious undertaking to destigmatize mental health issues through the medium he knows best.

At 26, the New York-based artist bridges cultural gaps, having shuttled between the eastern and western hemispheres throughout his life, accompanying his father on lecture-demonstration circuits in the United States. This early exposure has lent a global perspective to his craft, a nuance evident in the ease with which he navigates his dual heritage.

Rishab’s education in production and economics at Queens College augmented his musical flair, fostering collaborations that spanned across genres. Such interdisciplinary experiences only enriched his sonic palette, enabling him to don multiple hats as a musician, luthier, and even an instructor.

His concerts reflect a tapestry of his talents; the melodious strums of his sitar are complemented by the aesthetic allure of mehendi patterns adorning his hands. This artistic choice, inspired by Mughal paintings, serves as a cultural statement and subtly challenges gender norms. In the personalization of his kurtas, he manifests his desire to infuse his classical performances with a flair of individuality.

The protégé of the legendary Pandit Ravi Shankar, Rishab cherishes memories of his mentor, recalling the joyful, festival-like atmosphere when Shankar was in residency. Under his guidance, Rishab honed not just his craft but imbibed a philosophy of life and art that continues to shine through his works.

Rishab’s concerts are an experience unlike any other. The infusion of mindfulness into his performances is deliberate, designed to conjure an ambiance of serenity that encourages reflection amidst the resonant strings of his sitar. He integrates discussions on mental health into his performances, weaving personal narratives with pleas for empathy, acceptance, and care. In the pauses between melodies, he speaks of resilience and healing, thereby cultivating a dialogue that often remains shrouded in silence.

The response to Rishab’s concerts has been overwhelmingly positive, attracting music enthusiasts and empathetic souls alike. His approach offers solace and stimulates a communal sense of belonging, enveloping audiences in a musical embrace that transcends the mundane.

The ‘Sitar For Mental Health’ music series is a journey unto itself, a celebration not only of Rishab’s prodigious talent but also of his conviction that music holds the key to unlocking the gates to better mental health. In this quest, he stands not just as a performer but also as a healer, whose melodies serve as a balm for troubled minds.

As he tunes his sitar for the ensuing concerts, Rishab’s mission is clear: to offer an immersive experience steeped in tradition yet pulsating with contemporary relevance. Each concert promises to be a unique and captivating expedition into the nexus of music and mindfulness.

The tour opens its arms to the public, with tickets made accessible through Zomato Live. Attendees can expect an array of shows, from cozy 150-member gatherings to grand spectacles of up to 1800 spectators. With ticket prices starting at a mere ₹300, Rishab ensures that the symphony for the soul is within the reach of all those who seek solace in the strings of his sitar.

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