This year’s Swami Vivekananda Music Festival held at Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Golpark, was full of grace and grandeur. The morning session was inaugurated with a rare instrument, sundri, played by Bhimanna Jadhav, who was assisted by his talented son, Venkatesh. Bhimanna played Raga Miyan ki Todi, elevating the mood with his charming rendition. Proper elaborations in the ektaal and the teentaal gats, with Shubhajyoti Guha on the tabla, made the experience enjoyable for the listeners. The pleasure continued with the rudraveena recital by Bahauddin Dagar (picture, left). The elaborate alaap of Jaunpuri and the immersive and intricate style of playing were gracious and subtle. He then performed a pleasant chowtaal composition with Uddhav Shinde Apegaokar on the pakhawaj, maintaining a sense of calm throughout.
This was followed by a vocal performance by Ritesh and Rajnish Mishra. They began with a vilambit ektaal kheyal in Raga Desh. Ritesh and Rajnish rendered the core attributes of the raga, bringing out its quintessential mood with their vocal prowess. Their performance was arresting and smoothly shifted to the drut kheyal. Ritesh and Rajnish concluded with a bhajan. Kumar Bose on the tabla and Jyoti Goho on the harmonium reminded listeners of previous performances of Pandits Rajan and Sajan Mishra — father/uncle to Ritesh and Rajnish.
The Odissi dancer, Ratikanta Mohapatra, presented self-choreographed excerpts — Shabari and Jatayu Moksha — from the Ramcharitmanas. In both compositions, he depicted the stories of a rural woman andthe fictitious Jatayu through the lens of cathartic philosophy. The expressions, postures and movements were a visual treat for the audience. The portrayal of Ardhanarishwar with his disciples was thoroughly engaging.
Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia commenced with Madhuwanti, a perfectly-chosen raga for the afternoon. Although age has slightly impacted his efficacy, his virtuosity remains unchanged. His expert co-artist, Vivek Sonar, held his own throughout. On the tabla, the young and talented Archik Banerjee brought up the memory of his father, Shubhankar Banerjee. The senior artist concluded his part with a kirtan chosen by the audience as he usually does.
The sitarist, Nayan Ghosh, began the evening session with Raga Purvi, along with a restrained but brilliant Anindo Chattopadhyay on the tabla. Ghosh played alaap, jor and jhala in Purvi, followed by teentaal gats. He continued with melodious compositions in Raga Jhinjhoti. The event concluded with the vibrant Carnatic ensemble of the flautist, Shashank Subramaniam (picture, right), and the violinist, H.N. Bhaskar, with Patri Satish Kumar on the mridangam and Tanmay Bose on the tabla. They started with Raga Purvi Kalyani, which is similar to the North Indian raga, Puriya Kalyan.
Subramaniam’s technique allowed him to bring out the true and entire essence of the raga with expert support on the violin. He presented elongated taans with heavy intricacies while keeping the melody intact — this is his forte. The violin kept pace with the flute. The ragam, tanam and pallavi were well crafted as were the compositions set to mishrachhapu and aditaala. The taani avartanam took the usual course of musical interactions among the artists, finally reaching a speedy crescendo. The raagmala and taalmala were concluded with a soothing Sindhu Bhairavi.