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Spellbinding elaborations

Meena Banerjee |

The Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, in collaboration with IIT-Kharagpur, organised an international seminar-cum-exhibition on the “Historical Evolution of India”.The first two evenings of this three day-long event culminated in cultural programmes that were in tune with the theme of the seminar. While the first evening experienced “Praan-Sangeet” presented by Sanjay Chakraborty and group, followed by “Baul and Beyond” organised by tabla maestro Tanmay Bose; the second evening began with an edifying presentation by Joy Sen — based on an the audiovisual Sandhi, that aspires to showcase total Indian culture through creative tourism.

Sandhi is an initiative of IITKharagpur based on the belief that science and culture spring from the same root. This science-culture and tradition-technology initiative, sponsored by the Union ministry of human resource development, aims at rediscovering India’s eternal wisdom. The in-depth science projects on Bhasha (language), Dhyan (meditation) and Sangeet (musicology) become the tools to analyse community behaviour like dhyana, moksha and karuna; their impact on history and culture. In a way this 20-minute audiovisual, further elucidated by Sen, summarised the historical evolution of this sub-continent that enjoys six seasons based on the relative positions of the sun and Earth — the root of both science and spirituality. Sandhi aspires to prove Aurobinda right who once claimed, “India of the Ages is not dead”.

Evidently, Pandit Anindo Chatterjee’s concept of “The Golden Trio”, the concluding item of the evening, was inspired by the same ethos and he pinned his trust on three ITC SRA scholars who are shaping into very fine young classical musicians — slide guitarist Ratan Bharati, sitarist Ayan Sengupta and flautist Paramananda Roy. They chose raga Patadeep and etched a neat ragaroop by sharing the key phrases among themselves.

Brilliantly accompanied by young tabla wizard Anubrata Chatterjee, they played medium-paced rupak gatkari and followed it up with fast teental, which displayed an unusual mukhda having its sam on lower nishad, that too after a poignant pause which decided the gait of the composition as well as the ensuing rhythm-play, taankari et al. It was sheer delight. The young maestros later played raga Hansadhwani and finally a Baul dhun.

Promise and mastery

The prestigious Sangeet Ashram organised an event featuring a boy wonder and a veteran at Birla Sabhagar. Thirteen-year-old Sagnik Sen shot into fame when he lifted the trophy of Classical Voice of India 2013 and soon after bagged the Junior National Scholarship — all due to his sound training under the careful guidance of Nabhodeep Chakraborty, a young Kasur Patiala gharana exponent and a successful trainer. Oozing confidence, Sangnik sang raga Yaman (Data garib Nawaz, slow ektal) and Mora mana harwa lino (fast teental), both composed by Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. He concluded with a traditional tarana set to ektal. Ably supported by Mainak Banerjee’s tabla and Keshab Banerjee’s harmonium, he followed it up with raga Madhukauns. His outstanding performance fetched him a memento from Sangeet Ashram.

The final part of the evening saw sarod maestro Debashish Bhattacharya, senior disciple of Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta and torchbearer of Shahjahanpur gharana, in action. He began with their gharana’s favourite but rare raga Chhaya, followed it up with another rarely-heard Maluha Kalyan and Tilak Kamod, a raga known for its meandering gait. The reposeful elaboration, the melodic appeal of the tonal quality and the restrained virtuosity remained the hallmark of his recital. Tabla maestro Parimal Chakraborty proved to be a commendable companion in this melodic journey.

Annual ritual

Taan Chakra Music Society organised its 29th annual music conference at Mahajati Sadan. As the final artiste, renowned vocalist Pandit Dinanath Mishra sang raga Saraswati and followed it up with a Khamaj thumri. Earlier the evening commenced with another vocal recital featuring Khagesh Kirtania who sang raga Puriya Dhanashree. Next was Mumbai-based santoor exponent Snehal Muzoomdar. He played raga Kirwani with gatkaris in matta tala (nine beats), jhaptal (ten beats) and teental (sixteen beats) blending both the Carnatic and Hindustani anga and ending with jhala. The supporting pillars of the event were Jay Shankar Mishra, Tapas Paul, Pintu Chakraborty and Keshab Chandra Das (tabla), Pradip Palit (harmonium) and Mangal Mishra (vocal).