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Maestro keeps legacy alive - Audience yearn for more at shehnai recital in the capital

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By SHUCHISMITA CHAKRABORTY
  • Published 1.09.10
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Patna, Aug. 31: LN Mishra Institute, along with Spic Macay, organised a shehnai recital of Padma Shri Pandit Daya Shankar at the institute’s auditorium today.

Pandit Daya Shankar, a representative of the Banaras gharana, is widely known for its artistry and excellence.

With his intense shehnai rendition and rich Hindustani raagas, he took the audience on to a musical journey that held them mesmerised. Anup Ghosh on tabla and his student Yogesh Shankar and Khemchand on sur shehnai accompanied Pandit Daya Shankar.

Pandit Daya Shankar started his performance with raaga shudh sarang based on teen taal. The synchronisation and the laykari gripped the audience. His second performance was a thumri. A folk song of the Banaras gharana — Dagar beech kaise chalun. The beautiful tihai and offbeat singing reminded the listeners of the strength of Indian classical music.

Pandit Daya Shankar told The Telegraph: “Music is in my soul. I started my initial training under the guidance of my father, shehnai maestro Pandit Anant Lal. At the age of nine, I started taking shehnai lessons. I had the privilege of learning from the legendary sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar as well. I am learning even today.”

He added: “I had decided from the very outset that I would live my life with shehnai. I could not stop myself from listening to my father Pandit Anant Lal, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan sahib and other musical greats. Gradually, I became so inclined towards it that I began my journey into the world of shehnai vadan.”

“Music is our legacy. Without music, a man cannot be called a man,” Pandit Daya Shankar said.

Brij mandir desh dikhao, the original hori song of the Banaras gharana and the last performance of the day on Raag Bhairavi left the audience spellbound and yearning for more.

Asked about the legacy of shehnai vadan not being carried forward, he said: “People are under the illusion that playing shehnai leads to breathing complications and chest pain. I am 60 years old and am totally fit. Nothing has happened to me in all these years.”

He said: “Shehnai is the mangal dhwani. Our ancestors played it on holy occasions and people should always try to carry their tradition along with them.

In 1975, the central government appointed Pandit Daya Shankar as a teacher of performing arts in shehnai in Afghanistan. He has given many successful solo recitals in Holland, Germany, Switzerland and the US. Sangeet Natak Academy awarded him for excellence in music in 1991.