sandhya sen enjoyed an evening or tagorean renditions
THE “Soiree of Paschimey Robi”, presented by the Nikhil Banga Nababarsh Utsav Samity at Rabindra Sadan recently, was marked by the influence of Western music on Tagorean compositions. Rabindranath was a visionary and his creativity sparkled with the gems of innovation but while the use of Western tunes gave a fascinating flavour to his songs, their Indianness was always the main feature of the experimentation. During his visit to the West in 1976 at the age of 17, he listened to varied concerts, operas and ballets that enlarged his compass of innovative efforts. Back to India, he utilised English, Scottish and Irish tunes in his opera-oriented dance-dramas, “Mayar Khela”, “Kalmrigaya” and “Valmiki Protiva” — that ushered in a new vista in Bengali music.
The programme was conceived and conducted by Somnath Kutty with due emphasis on both songs and dances. It was didactic and informative because of the balanced projection of alien tunes to suit the movements of rhythmic dance movement. Pedro S Kundu choreographed the Western dances while Malabika Sen intelligently composed Indian dance in tune with Tagorean compositions.
The novelty of production was conspicuous by Thankamani Kutty&’s Kalamandalam touch of impeccable exposition. The aesthetic syntax of composition added luster to both styles of dance. The dance item “Purano sediner katha”, based on the popular Tagore song, was composed by Malabika Sen with due stress on the emotion of reminiscense where the candid hand and foot movements within the basic posture of Bharatnatyam emerged as the visual remembrance of the good old days. The style of balancing alien tunes with indigenous dance spoke of imaginative composition. The sight of dances in Western and Indian costumes to the tune of Tagore songs drew a picture of combined creativity. The chronological depiction of dances as scripted by Sinjini Acharya Majumdar was convincing.
Another noteworthy attraction was the solo recitals of Sraboni Sen and Swagatalakshmi. Their tutelage is different, but their overall impact was tremendous. Sraboni learnt the rudiments of Tagore songs from her mother, Sumitra Sen, whose authentic style she stuck to. With chiselled voice and accurate cadence on notes, she rendered varied songs centering around the impulse on devotion, philosophy and love.
The opening number, “Jagatey ananda jagyey”, created the desired mood of devotion based on raga, Sarparda Bilawal. Equally impulsive was the rendition of “Aji jharer ratey” in tune with the monsoon. But the depth of singing reached a crescendo in “Tumi rabey nirabey”, where the touch of “bihag” underscored the romantic but sad aspect of the song.
Swagatalakshi Dasgupta&’s hymm song paved the way for the serious tone of demonstration. The classical base of tonal beauty together with thoughtful delineation of lyrical contents took no time to capture audience&’s attention. She took up “Andha Kaner utso hotey” and soon picturised the lyrical dignity with suggestive interpretation. It was quite interesting to come across her expertise to meander over the slow tempo of “Brindabani sarang”, where she heightened the revelation of light from utter darkness. But her exquisite rendition of “Eki Labonyey purno pran” came out as the unparalleled exposition. Based on Carnatic raga, Purno Saraj Ragini’ (Mysore), it was wonderfully adapted in Bengali. The upper octave meandering through the niceties of a high-pitched voice immaculately matched her soprano and the result was astounding.