Profile - Dr. Swarn Lata
B.A., B. Ed., M.A., Ph. D.
Dr. Swarn Lata was introduced to Indian Classical Music at the tender age of six.
She inherited the art of music from her father, Krishan Chand Joshi, who was a very good singer and a poet. She remembers her childhood days when after work her father would sit for dinner, he would pick up a plate and spoon and start playing different beats along with his favorite the now black and white film classic songs. That’s how she learnt bhajans and ghazals from him. It was her father who noticed the talent how easily she would pick up tough tunes and copy film songs listening from the radio.
Perhaps singing seemed too easy for the little Lata and the choice of the career has to be difficult subject! so she picked up sitar as one of her subjects in grade 6. She pursued it through her B.A., B.Ed., M.A. and Ph.D. in Sitar – instrumental music from Punjab University, Chandigarh, India. She took lessons from Mrs. Pushpa Verma, lecturer in G.C.G. Chandigarh, and Dr. Sagar Pandit, retiree from Marrice Music College, Simla.
Dr. Sagar Pandit was the disciple of the famous vocalist Pt. Onkar Nath Thakur.
Dr. Lata is an accomplished artist with more than 20 years of instrumental training.
She also teaches advance Instrumental music and has been the guide for Ph. D students.
Throughout her school, college and university days, Lata has been an active participant in activities like theatre, singing, dance and literature. She represented her educational institutions and the State of Chandigarh (Union Territory, India) at various youth festivals organized annually by the different States (Provinces).
She was a regular writer of poems, short stories and articles (in English, Hindi and Punjabi language) for her College annual magazines.
She has had the privilege to preside as one of the judges at various University level/Inter-State one-act plays/dramas, dance and music instrumental competitions.
Dr. Lata was the Chairperson of the State Cultural Activities Council (one act plays/drama/street plays, national group songs, folk songs, folk dances, vocal and instrumental music) Chandigarh, Union Territory from 1997 to 2001.
As a lecturer and Principal, she also organized various State/National level competitions in Instrumental music, group songs, group dances, and stage plays/dramas.
Dr. Lata has also given numerous sitar concerts and lecture series at a number of prestigious theatres (e.g. New Delhi Performing Arts in1989, Tagore Theatre, Chandigarh from 1980-1993 and many more) and platforms in India and North America.
In 1994, Dr. Lata had the opportunity to give her solo sitar concert organized by the department of music, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada. During the same visit to Canada she was also invited by various religious organizations, gurudwaras, temples in Vancouver to give sitar concerts. Dr. Lata was also interviewed on TV Asia studio in New Jersey, U.S.A.
Dr. Lata has been in Canada since 2001 and has been teaching sitar to Torontonians since then. She’s enthralled the audiences with her sitar recitals in Hamilton Arts Centre, Mohawk College and McMaster University, Hamilton, York University, Mel Lastman square, Yorkwood Library Theatre, Toronto. She’s delivered her solo sitar recital and lecture series on McMaster radio, FM 93.3 in Hamilton. In 2004, Dr. Lata also did an acting gig in a Bollywood film “Touch of the Pink” shot in Toronto!
For the past 6 years, Himalayan Yoga Meditation Society of Ontario, Canada, has been organizing Dr. Lata’s ‘morning ragas - sitar recital’ at various locations of Greater Toronto Area Region. She has played sitar at various festivals including the popular Panorama India, Toronto.
Presently, Dr. Lata is giving her full time to students keen on learning sitar. Her class reflects the true diversity of Toronto, pupils from all age groups and backgrounds but with same passion as hers and that is the love of the stringed instrument – Sitar.