The Telegraph
Saturday , March 1 , 2014
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Dum Dum Marga Sangeet Utsav, organized by Mriganka Bhattacharya, enhanced the festive spirit of winter, a season synonymous with Indian classical music in the city of joy. The festival was inaugurated with a sarod recital by Pandit Tejendranarayan Majumder, who commenced with alaap, jor and jhala in Shyam Kalyan. While playing gat, his long and enchanting rendition brought out the characteristic features of this raga. The vistaars in vilambit teentaal in Tilak Kamod were melodious. The approach of returning to the middle octave from the upper octave and the use of mirs caught the audience’s attention. The artist also gave a brief, but alluring, performance in Pahari. Shubhankar Banerjee’s tabla added a spark to this performance.

Expectations were higher from Ustad Rashid Khan, who was accompanied by Tanmoy Bose on the tabla. His conventional, but beautiful, commencement with Raga Gorakh Kalyan created the perfect ambience. But some of the charm was lost even as the vilambit kheyal progressed. However, his thumri in Mishra Pahari and a tarana in Desh were interesting as always.

The performance of Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar (picture), even though it was methodical, was a learning experience. The small vistaars rendering the key notes, komal gandhar and komal nishad, along with the variations made his vilambit and drut kheyals in Raga Bhimpalashree an elegant presentation. Marwa, a late evening raga, was brought to life by the artist’s sparkling rendition in three octaves — in vilambit kheyal, in rupak taal, and drut kheyal in teentaal. His commitment and skill led to a pleasing performance. He also brought out the soul of Raga Vasanth. Abhijit Bandyopadhyay on the tabla put up a credible performance.

Ustad Aashish Khan’s announcement of Raga Shudhha Vasanth created a stir among the listeners. This is because this raga is rarely played. Aashish presented a wonderful alaap and the added resonance of the pakhwaj made his jor refreshing. But the gat in Raga Pahari Jhinjhoti lacked the necessary energy. The captivating tabla lahara of Pandit Swapan Chowdhuri dominated the proceedings. The artists presented some enjoyable moments while playing Ragmalika. The combination of Chowdhuri’s tabla and a composition by Aashish’s grandfather, Ustad Alauddin Khan, in Raga Pilu and Zilla Kafi was gorgeous.

Purbayan Chattopadhyay’s classical rendition, accompanied by Bickram Ghosh on the tabla, was one of the main attractions of the festival. Chattopadhyay played Gavati, an exceptional raga that has emerged from Khamaj Thaat. Chattopadhyay’s smooth and mellifluous rendition made his alaap, jor and jhala arresting. The gat in Rupak taal was embellished with a variety of vistaars and taans. It would have maintained its purity till the end had the artist decided to shorten his performance.