The Telegraph
Saturday , July 5 , 2014
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A rain drenched monsoon evening met its musical counterpart in a recent programme organized by Sangeet Ashram at G.D. Birla Sabhagar. Soumitra Lahiri (picture) enchanted his listeners with the tunes of Puriya. Puriya is a perfect evening raga, which creates magic with its renditions, especially with the keynotes, komal re, komal dha and kadi ma. This raga is an exceptional choice for perfomers and the artist touched hearts with an elaborate presentation of it.

A sincere follower of Bishnupur Gharana, Lahiri commenced his performance with alaap and jor. The movements of the key-notes in alaap were quite able to express the charm of this raga. He took his time, and gradually unfolded the calm, quite and sombre nature of Puriya that was smoothly blended with a fatigued monsoon flavour. The early phase of his jod was pleasant and it moved towards a compact finish. He played madhyalay and drut gat in the same raga. The strokes seemed sweet to the ears. The small and intricate vistaars were interesting, although more variations were expected of the artist. The taans, especially the gatkari in drut laya, were enjoyable.

Soumitra Lahiri’s rendition in the aochaar of Tilak Kamod gave the listeners the ambience of the raga from the very first note. He did not try to break the traditional path and experiment with it. But his expertise made the performance unique in spite of the artist following the regular structure of the raga.

He did not make his gat in Tilak Kamod too long, but rather completed it with a necessary rotation. His conclusion with a brief presentation of Raga Piloo was charming. The accompaniment by Sabir Khan on tabla was remarkably good.

Saptarshi Hazra’s solo sitar recital at the Vivekananda Hall of Golpark Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture was a memorable experience for the audience. Saptarshi’s alaap in Raga Durga was interesting, as he tried to experiment with the rendition following an authentic and traditional structure of the raga. Although he seemed slightly hesitant in the beginning, he soon captured the mood and explored the bold beauty of Durga. In his alaap, jod and jhala, he created sparks of possibility. His gat presentation in Raga Desh seemed regular at the outset. But then he beautifully gave it sudden and new dimensions with his middle and upper octave vistaars as well as by coming back to the lower octave standing.

Saptarshi’s taans were critical and he tried to portray the attributes of the raga smartly till the end. The drut gatkaari and the concluding part were alluring. Although Saptarshi should have focused more on stage performance and coordination, he gave a satisfactory feeling throughout his performance. Samir Nandi accompanied him well on tabla.