The East Calcutta Music Festival, which was held in fond memory of Hemen Chandra Sen, is the new address for lovers of Hindustani classical music. The programme commenced with a bhajan based on Yaman by Anjana Kusari. The thumri in Mishra Khamaj was impressive. But her rendition of the bhajan, “Prabhuji main to teri charano ki dasi”, based on Malkauns failed to make an impression. Prasanta Dey Roy on the tabla and Kamalaksha Mukherjee on the harmonium accompanied her.
The sarod recital by Parthasarathi started with Raga Saraswati. His alaap was beautiful; the jor and jhala charming. The lack of variation notwithstanding, the movement of the key notes brought out the character of the raga. Both the vilambit and drut gats in teentaal were melodious. Ashoke Mukherjee on the tabla was a perfect foil.
The young sitarist, Parthasarathi Chatterjee, caught the attention of the audience with a wonderful alaap in the Carnatic raga, Latangi, which mirrors the attributes of the North Indian raga, Vasanth. He played jor and jhala with great care. The rendition of Raga Tilak Shyam showcased his talent. His vilambit and drut gat, followed by an interesting jhala, made a mark. Subhajyoti Guha on the tabla was remarkable.
New generation dancer and choreographer, Anurekha Ghosh, put up a sparkling Kathak performance. Her captivating footwork demonstrated the traits of the Lucknow gharana. The presentations of parans, bols, toras in teentaal and of bhao and bhajan — composed by the Kathak maestro, Bindadin Maharaj — were alluring. The sweet voice of Chandreyee Majumder, a striking tabla performance by Dinanath Misra, and Umesh Misra’s rendition on the Sarengi deserve special mention.
The solo harmonium player, Shubhendu Banerjee, with Arindam Chakraborty on the tabla, started well with Raga Desh. His unpredictable, but fluent, style made his performance enchanting. But his vistaars and taans of vilambit jhanptaal and drut teentaal lacked in variation.
Shubhra Guha, a leading exponent of the thumri and dadra, usually commands the audience’s attention. But on this occasion, her performance lacked the necessary energy. But her first thumri in Mishra Kafi and Mishra Khamaj met her usual standards. She displayed her spontaneity with a dadra.
The final performance was by the sarod player, Abhishek Lahiri. His alaap, jor and jhala in Raga Behaag were captivating. But the lack of concentration affected his performance.
Overall, the organizers should be thanked for putting up a satisfactory event.