His sitar recital is devoid of gimmickry or technical wizardry. The pure classicism of Subroto Roychowdhury’s sitar was evident in the short, compact concert organized by the Rabindranath Tagore Centre, ICCR, at the Satyajit Ray Auditorium on March 5.
Roychowdhury began with the evening raga, Rageshree, and created the mood of the entire recital with his mellifluous meend and vistaar. In spite of restricting himself mainly to the alap and jod, the artist unveiled the entire spectrum of the raga with fluent movements over all the frets of the instrument. The smooth and graceful musical glide from one swara to the other was an auditory gift for the enthralled listeners.
After Rageshree, Roychowdhury played Abhogi. The gradual blooming of Abhogi created a transcendental atmosphere. The acoustics of the auditorium did not let the audience miss the nuances of the artist’s effortless playing. The smooth meend ang and bol banis are indeed Roychowdhury’s forte.
The third presentation was in Manjh Khamaj. Although the duration of the playing was short, it revealed the true characteristics of the raga. The sweet, romantic tune percolated into the minds of the audience and became an apposite end-note to the terse and melodious recital. The tabla accompaniment by Sanjib Kumar Pal was up to the mark. Roychowdhury allowed the tabla to bloom on its own.
Roychowdhury looks back to the old dhrupad tradition of music. His music stands as a strong pillar of classical beauty that is not bereft of modernity because the relative term, modern, finds a new meaning in Roychowdhury’s sitar.