Sapna Seepaul, keeping the culture of local Indian classical singing alive by The WE Mag Team
Sapna Seepaul is an 18-year-old local classical singer from Debe who is currently enrolled as a year three Bachelors of Education student at the University of Trinidad and Tobago. The current champion of the Mahatma Ghandi Charitable Organisation’s (MGCO) Youth Talent Competition, recently placed second at the NCIC/Coca Cola Youth Champ Competition. Additionally she copped the title for Best Local Classical item at the same competition.
Singing since the age of nine, the petite Sapna has entered numerous competitions. To name a few, she has been a three-time finalist in the Children of Mastana, five-time finalist in the NCIC Youth Champ, fifth place winner in the nationwide Ladies Classical Singing competition, second place winner in the Choti Sangam TV programme and a five-time finalist in the Mahatma Ghandi Charitable Organisation’s (MGCO) Youth Talent Competition, where she emerged as the winner for 2019. Amazed by her accomplishments, we reached out to Sapna for an insight on her journey as a young Indian classical singer. This is what she had to share with the WE Mag:
Shane Ramlochan | SR Digital Photography
How has your singing career changed since winning the MGCO Youth Talent?
Honestly, it has been only a couple of weeks since winning the competition and it really hasn’t sunk in as yet. However, I have received some more calls to perform in programmes for the Divali season.
What are you working on at present, what is keeping you excited?
This might seem strange, but I recently started learning to ride a dirt bike. Some friends of mine are bikers who go hiking and off-road biking, and it’s really nice to take a break from school work and the like, to do something physical. As for singing, I am already preparing for next Divali by learning new songs.
What is your ultimate goal or biggest dream for your future?
Besides finishing my degree and getting a job, my greatest passion is working with animals. I hope to be able to rescue as many animals as I can. I absolutely abhor animal abuse but due to space restrictions, I cannot adopt any more (animals) at the moment.
What do you believe should be done to keep the heritage alive and take the tradition forward?
A few years ago, Local Classical Singing was basically a dying art, however, in recent years I have observed that shows with this type of singing are filled to capacity and very well appreciated. This is so encouraging for performers. I do hope that in the future, this type of singing will be given more recognition by the necessary institutions in order to continue preserving the art.
What is the greatest challenge for you as a Classical Singer?
I have the greatest group of musicians who are always ready to perform with me, however, due to restrictions with their job or school, they may not be available all the time and finding musicians, especially drummers that can play for my genre of singing, is a challenge. Many times, I have to turn down an opportunity to perform because the hosts do not have the right musicians.
Do you have any advice for other young women who may want to get into classical Indian singing?
Not for young women only, but for everyone interested in local classical, I would say go for it…don’t hold back. Get yourself associated with someone who is versed in the style and take that person’s advice.
Why do you do what you do?
Well besides all the encouragement from my parents, friends and family, most people see a young person going to perform and expect a film song and it is such a wonderful feeling when you surprise an audience when you sing the unexpected. I always get kudos for choosing this genre.