Veteran art critic Shanta Sarabajeet Singh and the charismatic Kathak danseuse Varonic Azan, who left for their heavenly abode last week, were offered tribute by by dance lovers of the Capital along with Saswati Sen, the senior-most disciple of Pt Birju Maharaj at the Stein Auditorium on the Kathak evening Talaashe-Haq. Talash-e-Haq: Return to Eternity, the thematic Kathak production, was conceived and choreographed by Kathak dancer, teacher and choreographer Jayashree Acharya, groomed by none other than Pt Birju Maharaj himself, who had especially come this evening to bless her.

Jayshree's quest, or Talaash, of eternity led her to experience beauty through rhythm, melody, movement and poetry as an expression of supreme divinity through solo and group choreographies. The solo by Jayshree opened with the sonorous Swaras of Bairagi on Flute by Pravar Tandon and Sarod by Amitava Majumdar, for the invocatory Gurbani "Ek hee swaroop…" and changed to the delightful Gorakh Kalyan for Lehera for her traditional repertoire with an impressive Uthan on Tabla by Pt Shivshankar Ray in Teentala. An inspired Jayshree impressed with crisp footwork and Tode, Tukde, Paran, Pramelu and Chakradar as a soloist.

The narrative followed with group dancing by Kanchan, Elisha, Nandini and Gauri to the Sargam in raga Abhogi as a preface to "Aaj Sajan sanga milan bhailwa…", a Bandishi Thumri in Desh depicting the longing and union with the beloved. The beautiful poem "Baaji ghar ayi…" byLachhu Maharaj, the comely choreography by Jayshree and the superb light designing by Saumya, lost its impact due to a faulty mike. Talash-e-Haq concluded with a Meera Bhajan reaching the climax with "Khusro rain suhaag ki…", the union of human soul with the eternal ~ Returning to Eternity.

Into the future

Guru Pradeep Shankar Academy of Performing and Promoting Arts and The Saurang Parampara Music Society of Moradabad Gharana jointly organised Into the Future, at Azad Bhavan.

The day-long event comprised a Tabla Workshop by Ud Akram Khan, a seminar discussing the challenges and prospects of a career in Indian classical music and dance followed by the evening concert featuring the young talents, who hardly ever get a chance to perform in front of the invited audience because nobody seems willing to sponsor them. The evening concert opened with a Tabla solo by Sani Niyazi, disciple of Ud Sharif Hussain Niyazi from Badayun. Sani chose Teentala and played Qayeda of Dilli Gharana, a number of Gats and Fard, including the complicated Gat of Haji Saheb and some Farmaishi Chakkardar with full confidence.

He seems to have sufficient potential provided he takes care of the consistency of tempo. The young duo Shiraz Ahmed and Faraz Ahmed accompanied on Sarangi by Ehsan Ali, on Harmonium by Zakir Dhaulpuri and on Tabla by Aman Ali, presented raga Megh with the traditional composition "Garajghata ghan…" set to Jhapatala followed by a Teentala composition of their Guru Ud Ghulam Sabir Khan.

The professionalism of their renderings, taking turns in Alap, Bol-Alap and the variety of Taans complementing each other, spoke of their solid training. Their impressive duet not only regaled the audience but also did their Guru the renowned Sarangi maestro Ud. Ghulam Sabir Khan, proud. The gifted Pakhawaj player Manoj Solanki, was a pleasant surprise for the Delhi audiences.

Trained under Pt Santosh Anuragi, himself a disciple of the renowned Pakhawaj legend Pagaldas, Manoj impressed with his powerful Pakhawaj solo. He chose Chautal and displayed his amazing virtuosity playing from Dugun to Barahgun the multiple combinations of Tisra, Chatusra, Khand, Misra and Sankeerna Jati. The clarity of Bols and the rich variety of Parans and Kavitta, the Kamali Chakradar and the scintillating Rela, there was no end to his varied repertoire.

The evening performances concluded with the sonorous Sarangi jugalbandi by Amir Khan and Ghulam Mohd Khan, trained under the late Ud Siddique Ahmed Khan and at present disciple of Ud Ghulam Sabir Khan and Ud Kamal Ahmed Khan.

They played a mesmerising Bihag with a composition in Vilambit Ektal followed by a medium and fast tempo compositions in Teentala. It seemed as if they had music running in their veins. Abdul Rehman Khan provided them brilliant Tabla support.

The organisers deserve kudos for their commendable effort to promote and showcase such deserving talents, who are sure to take Indian classical music "Into the Future"!