Sunil Mungee is a talented child prodigy, started learning music at the age of five. He was trained by the late maestro of Agra Jaipur, Gharana Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki, for fifteen years. He started performing in international venues since 1995, starting from the US. Since then he has done well over two thousand concerts worldwide. Sunil had received the prestigious “Sur Mani” Award – “The Jewel of India” and with title of “The Prince of Ghazals and Bhajans”. The US government also honored him with the US citizenship under the “World Music Category”.
Interview by Stephen Thompson, Ph.D.
Welcome to OpenBeast. Tell us about yourself.
I am a Ghazal and Bhajan singer, with great music learning experience from the Maestro Pandit Jitendra Abhishekiji, under the traditional GURU- SHISHYA PARAMPARA. This is a traditional way of learning any art form, where a disciple learns the art form by devoting years staying and learning with the teacher. I was with my Guru – the Teacher for fifteen years. I have been fortunate to perform all over the world for music lovers, and also shared and performed with the maestros like- Ustad Bismillah Khan sahab (Great Shehnai maestro), Pandit Jasraj, Sonal Mansingh and with Ghulam Ali- Ghazal King, Anup Jalota – Ghazal and Bhajan Maestro and Anuradha Paudwal, to name a few.
So how did your music career get started?
I was five, I remember, when I made a mind to be a singer (smiles). My parents though are not from music profession, but are big music connoisseur and I think, that encouraged me to listen good music from my childhood. Like anyone else, it started from film songs, small participation in the school co- curricular activities, small family gathering presentation and so on. With my love and dedication, my parents provided me learning basic music lessons from the local music teacher that further encouraged me to pursue this profession. Then at the age of thirteen, I was identified by prominent Indian vocal classical maestro Pandit Jitendra Abhishekiji and then it was a further deep dive divine journey of learning music.
What would you consider as you one best gig thus far?
It is difficult to comment, as a musician (pauses). But I think, one of the best performance, I had was at KOOMBH- MELA at Allahabad, UP, in India, where I performed for more than 200,000 people. I was unable to see people, as was on a very high stage and finally, when I concluded, felt, the crowd is rushing towards me, I was told the crowd was WILD, and want to hear more and more (smiles). I started again for few more hours. It was a touchy moment. The other one in US at Nicholas Center in New Jersey in 2008 for a joint concert with Anup Jalota, we both had fun.
Any upcoming events you would like to discuss?
I have planned a theme concert called “Gulistaan” finest ghazals and old nostalgic film songs for the tour of North America that starts from April through July. To reach out more and more music lovers all over North America, I decided to cut down the cost on marketing, so that we can offer reasonable package to music lovers to organize the shows. This is overwhelming. As, we are getting tremendous response, that preponed the tour to March. Now my forthcoming concert is scheduled at St Louis, Missouri on Saturday, March 28. This concert has been organized by SEEMA ENTERPRISE AND SEEMA WORLD WIDE TRAVEL. Saint Louis music lovers should reach out to 314-423-9990 or 636-391-5914 for more details, soon.
How do you get inspired?
Music- HEALS! It touches your heart, it is pure, divine, and that’s how I got inspired to music.
Do you teach?
Yes, I do. One thing I look, is the same passion that I carry for music from the person who would like to learn.
What are your leisure time activities?
Gardening, cooking. I feel cooking is another great recreation, at least to me, as that brings more and more creativity out of me.
For more details about Sunil Mungee, visit www.sunilmungee.com