The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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The bliss of mesmerising melody

Numerical permutation is an integral part of music, more so in classical music. For many pundits it is nothing more than an intellectual exercise, others’ soul-stirring melodies often smudge the precision of dividing lines while a maestro like Shivkumar Sharma creates sheer bliss with the confluence of titillating number-game and mesmerising melody.

The slow-medium gatkari in Jog by the santoor maestro was a delightful example of such superbly crafted patterns that juxtaposed the chhanda of 4-4 with the cycle of seven beats of rupak and climaxed on the sam ' together. The preceding seven-minute alap succinctly etched the raga before ushering in the rhythmic and equally concise jod and jhala. One of the two fast teental compositions, bedecked with intricate taans, resembled a khayal bandish Sajan more ghar. The concluding jhala showcased some interesting dialogues with the tabla. To facilitate clarity he played his trademark staccato notes by cutting the resonance with the touch of one hand. On heavy demand a melodic Pahadi dhun followed next. In its delicately romantic fabric he weaved in all the 12 notes as amorously as imaginable.

Jointly presented by the Shakhri Begum Memorial Trust and the Institute of Culture on May 6 at Vivekananda Hall, the evening saw veteran tabla player Pandit Lakshmi Narayan Mishra being felicitated by the Trust created by Ustad Rashid Khan. Dedicated to the fond memory of the ustad’s mother, the Trust is known for offering reverence to elders and showering love to young aspirants.

Singing under the banner of his own organisation for the first time, Rashid Khan started with an emotion-charged long aochar in Madhuwanti. Very slow and peaceful elaboration was the focal point of the ektal. The consummate taaseer of the golden voice aided by his uncanny sense of selecting relevant lyrics for pukars effortlessly carried his music to the heights of emotion. This, coupled by the cascading taans at a supersonic speed in fast teental, left one totally lost between the high-voltage passion and matchless virtuosity. It was like being soaked in the drizzle, but not without the startling thunderbolts. Jyoti Goho’s perceptive support on the harmonium was highly commendable. Pandit Ananda Gopal Bandopadhyay’s versatile tabla accompanied both the artistes of the evening. However, the tabla was visibly more contented with the vocalist.

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