Eternal charm


By Payel Sengupta
  • Published 10.02.18

The four day music festival organized by Behala Sanskritik Sammilani in association with The Telegraph evoked the city's love for Indian classical music. Along with the eminent names, young vocalists like Moonmoon Das, Anindita Dev and Debarshee Bhattacharya set the winter mood with their tunes. The programme commenced with a Carnatic vocal by Bombay Jayashree in Raga Shankara Bharanam followed by a kriti of Thyagaraja. Her voice is enriched with the intricacies typical of South India which added flourish to her elaborate performance in Khamajh. She also entertained the listeners with another kriti of Thyagaraja in Pantubharali. But her voice seemed a little tired after a while and she ended with a tillana in Madhuwanti. She was ably assisted by J. Vaidyanathan on the mridangam and Shrikanth Venkataraman on the violin.

The sitar recital of Shahid Parvez came as a breath of fresh air. He won the hearts of listeners with his exceptional rendition of Bageshree. The movements of the keynotes especially in the lower octave provided an exquisite feel of the raga and Parvez held the mood with the compact as well as powerful jor and jhala. In the gats he showed his usual expertise in the application of mirs. He was accompanied by Shubhen Chatterjee on tabla.

Jayanthi Kumaresh maintained the tradition and style of Carnatic music on the Saraswati veena, starting her performance with " Vataapi Ganapatim" in Hamsadhwani and continuing with a brief presentation of Raga Vasantha in rupakam (the treatment was quite different from the North Indian technique). Kumaresh put in a lot of effort to provide a seamless performance. Her main presentation, Charukeshi, was full of details of ragam, tanam and pallavi, and was enjoyable. But her performance needed some improvisation. She was assisted by Jayachandra Rao and Pramath Kiran. Venkatesh Kumar enchanted the listeners, bringing out the depth and variation Raga Kedar. He rendered the lower and middle octaves with calmness and was generous with taans and vistaars in the upper octave, which is his forte. He added a new dimension to the kheyals he performed with the clarity of his voice and the various modifications he brought to them. He also sang a popular composition in Behaag, and was ably assisted by Samar Saha on the tabla.

The violinist, N. Rajam, and her grand daughter, Nandini Shankar, along with Ojas Adhya presented Raga Yog. In the alaap, jor and jhala they moved to the core of the raga followed by elaborate gats. The careful and flawless effort of the artists made the performance attractive. Rajam's rendition of a Benarasi thumri was very melodious. Pandit Hariprasad Chourasia created the perfect ambience with Raga Behaag. His rendition amplified the charm of the raga, the total impact of which was best understood during his performance of the gats. Samar Saha provided perfect accompaniment on the tabla.

The finale was graced by the sarod maestro, Ustaad Amjad Ali Khan. He created magic with a beautiful rendition of Raga Shyama Gauri. The rarely heard raga was brought to life with careful touches of the strings. This was followed by Raga Ganesh Kalyan. This self-composed raga sounded beautiful with all its attributes and melody owing to the clarity of Ustaad ji's style. The intense alaap of Jayjayanti expressed the complete and versatile traits of the raga and Ustaad ji continued with mellifluous gats.

The energy and spontaneous prowess of Ustaad ji provided an unstoppable flow of resonance as he started Rageshwari. The adachowtaal and teental gats enthralled the audience owing to the unusual treatment of the keynotes as well as the balanced combination of pace and fluidity. Shubhankar Banerjee's tabla worked as a positive catalyst to the performance and the perfect accompaniment of his able hands provoked the maestro for more. The stream of music, at least that evening, ended with a dhun which had the essence of Piloo, Zila Kafi and the Ustaad's favourite Tagore tune, " Ekla chalo re", but the hidden flow of music continued with the promise of return.