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WELCOMING THE DAWN WITH MUSIC

The 62nd Dover Lane Music Conference witnessed a rare meeting of generations, the birth of new talents and some illustrious performances. At the same time, it threw up an obvious question: is the GenNext of Hindustani classical music an able torchbearer of the ancestral traditions? After listening to the stereotyped alaap, jor jhala and gat in Maru Bihag, and also in pancham se gara, played by Anoushka Shankar, the daughter of Pandit Ravi Shankar, the disappointed audience may well ask the question.

The sweet playing style of Alam Khan, the son of another doyen, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, somewhat resembled that of his father. But he had a continuity problem throughout. He made a wonderful start with an alaap in Darbari Kanada and also played a charming gat in Kirwani, but both ended abruptly. On the other hand, sitar player Anupama Bhagwat, a young talent of Imdadkhani Gharana, proved that sincere hard work does not need the support of a reputed name in order to flourish. With her mellifluous movement of fingers, forceful and complicated taans and vistaars in the popular raga, Malkauns, she enthralled the audience. Her brief presentation of Sahana Kanada was very attractive too.

Another GenNext, Rahul Sharma, the son of Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, tried his best to bring out the essence of Raga Gorakh Kalyan. But the performance was too lengthy and monotonous. Senior maestro, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, presented Raga Jhinjhoti elaborately. He also enchanted with the well-known Hamsadhwani composition, “Laagi lagaan”. The alaap and self-composed kriti in Hamsadhwani of L. Subramaniam were alluring, but more was expected of his next presentation in Raga Pilu.

The duet of violin by Mysore Manjunath and flute by Ronu Majumder was a pleasure. The onstage coordination and performance of the artists, especially Majumder’s alaap in Raga Saraswati and later in Charukeshi, were praiseworthy. The talvadya presentation of Anindya Chatterjee (tabla), Bhavani Shankar Kathak (pakhawaj), Thiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam (mridangam) and Ghatam Giridhar Udupa (ghatam) was captivating. But nothing came out of the performance except some beats and resonance.

The sarod recital by Rajeev Taranath in Nat Bhairon and Ashavari was ordinary. The alaap in Kedara and gat in Shankara by Pushparaj Koshti also demand mention. As with every year, the exquisite performance of Shahid Parvez Khan this year too will be remembered. He commenced with Raga Parameshwari, and in its alaap, he rendered the key notes in three octaves with exceptional variety and mir. He attracted the audience with his renditions of Gurjari Todi as well as with his Bhairavi composition, where the famous tune, “Bajubandha khulu khulu jaye” added a new dimension.

In vocal recital, the audience got the chance to enjoy the performances of the renowned artists, Ajay Chakrabarty and his talented daughter, Kaushiki Chakrabarty. No doubt, Kaushiki caught the attention of the audience with her generous and skilful voice. Her vilambit as well as drut kheyal in Vasant Sarg was alluring, especially for the smooth, smart and various taan presentation. The audience wanted to listen to more kheyals from her, but she moved on to thumris. His father’s presentation of Bhinna Shadaj, Kaushik Dhwani or Hindoli was a little mechanical.

Senior vocalist Vinayak Torvi surprised the audience by presenting his vilambit and drut kheyal in Miyan Ki Malhar in his powerful voice. His kheyals and tarana in Tilak Kamod and Vasant Bahar were enjoyable too. Another senior artist of the Agra Gharana, Purnima Sen, touched her listeners with Raga Bihagda. She sang a beautifully composed bandish by Atta Hussain Khan, “Kal na padat”.

Shruti Sadolikar’s behag and kundavati had some limitations. She was better in a brief kheyal in Kausi Kanada. Koushik Bhattacharjee’s Jayjayanti and Jayateerth Mevundi’s Yogkosh were a little linear. Young talent Omkar Dadarkar has a appealing and promising voice, but his sargams needed clarity.

Pandit Jasraj sang Bhairon Bahar and Vasant in his sweet voice. Rashid Khan’s splendid rendition in Raga Lalit mesmerized the audience. In the lower octave, his powerful gamak, vistaars in the upper octave, his generous taan and voice modulation welcomed a wonderful dawn to the city. He was in a rare mood, which made his Ahir Bhairon composition, “Albela sajan ayo ri”, unforgettable.

On the tabla, Subhankar Banerjee was unparalleled. Amongst the other accompanists, in tabla, Samar Saha, Abhijeet Banerjee, Tanmoy Basu, Subhajyoti Guha; in harmonium, Jyoti Goho, Rupashree Bhattacharya, Paromita Mukherjee; in sarengi, Sarwar Hussain and Allarakha Kalavant were perfect.