Notes as heady as wine


By Samarjit Guha
  • Published 9.06.18

Seldom do accompanying musicians get credit, even when it is rightly deserved. But when such musicians enhance a recital with a superb opening and interlude, their contribution cannot be ignored and one has to make a special mention of it. Such was the contribution of Amlan Halder (violin), Shiuli Basu (esraj), Kaushik De (harmonium) and Biplob Mondal (tabla) to Swapanparer Dak - a programme on Rabindrasangeet held at the ICCR recently. The lead performers at the event were Arindam Banerjee and Swapan Gupta.

The voice of the veteran performer, Swapan Gupta, is like vintage wine. While it is true that an element of tiredness did creep into some of the songs, Gupta's renditions reminded one of the days of robust singing when nothing else mattered. The opening bars of " Tomaar kache e bor maangi" were so haunting that the audience felt an instant connection. With some excellent musical accompaniment and Gupta's own dextrous playing of the harmonium, it was one of the most beautiful renditions heard in recent times. The audience's response, too, was equally joyous.

The same can be said about " Tumi mor pao nai parichay" and "Amaro prane gobhiro gopon". " Prathamo juger" was a bonus, but one wonders why Gupta decided to sing it without the tabla.

Arindam Banerjee provided a breezy account of a wide range of songs - some of them common and others that are rarely sung. But it is often necessary to make programmes crisp in order to pique the audience's curiosity and leave them thirsting for more. Banerjee would do well to take note of this. Especially since the tail end of some of his lines sounded weary and were on an uneven pitch. " Sei bhalo sei bhalo" and "Ki dhwani" are two instance in which Banerjee faltered.

However, he managed to hold the audience's attention with other numbers like " Aaji godhuli logone", "Aaji momo mono","Tai tomaar anando" and " Maharajo eki saaje". "Ke janito" - a song not often heard - sounded bright in patches. It must be pointed out here that the violinist, Amlan Halder, added a lot to most of the songs with his individualistic strokes. This gave Banerjee the fillip needed to deliver the right notes.