Celebrating the youth

The monthly classical music events organised by the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture are serving the cause of music in a big way.

Celebrating the youth

The monthly classical music events organised by the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture are serving the cause of music in a big way. These sessions essentially present musicians who, despite their blazing skills, are still waiting in the wings. They get a chance to come under the limelight, and that too on Vivekananda Hall, a highly revered platform. The evening of 6 April was no exception.

In the first half, Debdeep Mishra (a disciple of renowned vocalists Tushar Dutta and Aniruddha Bhattacharya, brilliant former scholars of ITC SRA), selected Puria Dhanashri, an early evening raga, followed by Kedar. His confident voice gleamed with bold, open akar of Agra and sur of Kirana. It was a delightful blend that was inevitable in his case. The clear grains of his taans at any tempo were commendable. With steadily rising Suprabhat Bhattacharya’s dazzling tabla and Subrata Bhattacharya’s sensitive harmonium accompaniment as his companions, he also sang a Bhajan that was picked up at a very fast tempo. It was too much for comfort.

Palash Kuri, like most of the musicians of this generation, trained under several gurus’ guidance (Pandit Arun Bhaduri, Pandit Amiya Ranjan Bandyopadhyay). His choice was Jog Kauns, a late-night raga that has entered the time zone of evening ragas due to its emotive appeal. Palash exploited this very aesthetically right from the beginning. The brief aochar clearly delineated the raga. Supported by tabla virtuoso Debojyoti Bose and popular harmonium player Arpan Bhattacharya, his vilambit ektal displayed very good badhat in aakar, behlawa, and sargam, followed by taans that abhorred gamak taans. During his traditional khayal in medium tempo, the solo round of tabla won attention due to its refined bols. After a few fine-grained taans, he switched to fast ektal for more taans but punctuated it with a long emotive phrase highlighting the chaan of the raga.


Kamod, replete with ‘Kare jane na dungi’ and ‘Maanat naahi mor laal’, set to fast teental and ektal, respectively, was his second choice to showcase his skills. His full-throated sureela perch on the upper pancham was very pleasing. He concluded the evening session with a bhajan. It lost its spirit due to changing ragas.

Celebrating spring

Amuzing ACAPA organised ‘Vasantotsava’ conceived and directed by reputed tabla player Rajnarayan Bhattacharya at Gyan Manch (9-10 April). Inspired by his Guru, Pandit Samar Saha, the organisation has been known for its works related to music, painting, cinema, theatre, and philanthropy for the last 26 years.

A clutch of young talents commenced both days of the festival by creating ‘Instrument Ecstasy, based on Raga Jhinjhoti and Hansadhwani, respectively. Directed by Bhattacharya and Chirodeep Sarkar, these pieces were played on santoor (Banani and Mayukh Das), flute (Rik Mukherjee), violin (Pritam Deb Sarkar), and tabla (Abir Mukherjee, Moinak Banerjee, and Shamik Chakraborty) with commendable coordination and confident agility. Amuzing takes pride in providing a stage for such dedicated aspirants. Thirteen-year-old Srija Biswas, from Benares, was another brilliant example who set the stage on fire as the final performer of the festival.

Two renowned vocalists, Ashok Nadgir (Kirana Gharana) from Hubli and Gautam Kale (Mewati Gharana) from Indore, debuted in Kolkata thanks to the artistically inclined radar of Amuzing. Nadgir sang raga Maru Bihag and a bhajan with true elements of Kirana’s southern stream, led by the legendary Ustad Abdul Karim Khansaheb. Kamalaksha Mukherjee’s harmonium offered support in the same way. Gautam Kale, disciple of Pandit Jasraj, delineated Puria Kalyan in the ornate style of his legendary guru. His golden voice was at its best while singing a Haveli Sangeet, rarely heard in Kolkata. His chosen holi pada was penned by Krishnadas Swamy and tuned by Pandit Jasraj in Raga Adi Basant. Like the audience, harmonium wizard Hiranmay Mitra too enjoyed his singing while providing support. Both the vocalists were accompanied dexterously by tabla maestro Ashish Sengupta of Delhi.

The only session featuring two celebrated sons of the soil, sitar maestro Asim Choudhuri and tabla maestro Guru Samar Saha, staged a grand finale on the first evening. The sitar cast a spell with its mellifluous portrayal of ragas Bahar and Desh, followed by a lilting Bhairavi.

For a cause

Bandish, inspired by its beacon, Indrani Chowdhury’s indomitable spirits, takes care of autistic children and their parents. A vocalist of repute, Indrani dedicatedly works to tap the innate talent of autistic children. A Ganesh stuti by a clutch of seventeen young students of Indrani commenced the Bandish Music Festival at Triguna Sen Auditorium on 11th April. It was hugely supported by Vinay Deshmukh, founder of Sohini Corporation, Hyderabad.

Patadeep, a late afternoon raga with a nimble gait, was tamed into a gracefully matured melody by sitar maestro Partha Bose. The long, lingering notes supported by loving meends, soft gamaks, and krintans etched this raga leisurely, despite its limited scope. The madh and drutjod retained the mood. Emotive gat vistar in slow teental displayed steady layakari with tisra and khanda phrases. The medium-paced gat was studded with taans. Subrato Bhattacharya’s inspired tabla went very soft when the sitar played intimately. The mukhda of a beautiful gat set to Kafi appeared to arrive in a palanquin. Such was its gait. The second gat-bandish in medium and another in fast teental led to jhala, and a dramatic tihai brought this delightful recital to a close.

Marwa, an early evening raga with a sombre mood, was beautifully rendered by well-known vocalist Ambarish Das. His gayaki was steeped in Indore Kirana tradition. His tuneful, deep voice laid the foundation by establishing Sa for the first two minutes, and in the very slow pace of jhumra tala, he elaborated the raga’s emotive profile through step-by-step badhat and varied taans. Ujjwal Bharati’s tabla remained unobtrusive with respect to the mood. Madhya teental khayal displayed sharp and fast vowel taans dotted with emotive lyric-based phrases. At this stage, tabla was in elements. Subrato Bhattacharya’s harmonium followed the vocalist very nicely.


Tabla virtuoso Rupak Mitra paid melodic homage to his late vocalist mother, Sarbani Mitra, on her birthday (15th April). He organised the event under the aegis of BR Music College. The main attractions of this event were young tabla virtuoso Rohen Bose and steadily rising star vocalist Sandip Bhattacharya (Kirana Gharana). Sandip’s melodious voice and soulful gayaki did wonders with Gaoti, a beautiful raga popular with Patiala Gharana masters. Sandip interpreted the raga’s persona through the prism of Kirana, with an extra-slow ektal-based emotive badhat, a delightful long and melodious perch on the upper tonic, sargam gayaki as behlawa, heavy gamak-laden taans leading to chhota khayal, and cascading fast taans with varied patterns with crystal clear fine grains. Flanked by Chiranjit Mukherjee’s aesthetically pleasing tabla and Subroto Bhattacharya’s shadowing harmonium, his second choice, Kedar, was short, soulful, and sweet.

Earlier, Rohen Bose gave a tabla recital in teental. Adhering to Banaras Gharana’s tradition, he began with an Utthaan. The volume variation due to its initial ekhatthi bols inviting the bayan much later was very enjoyable. Kaidas, mostly composed by guru Kumar Bose, followed next. The variety in the selection of bols gave them a musical quality. After playing kaidas composed by other of Gharana’s maestros, he displayed some tukras. A beautiful composition by his grandfather, Biswanath Bose, in khandajati was trailed by gats and chakradar. Subroto Bhattacharya’s harmonium offered steady naghma to support the tabla solo.

The writer is a senior music critic