Wednesday, Nov 12, 2003
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By P. S. Suryanarayana
`Soft Notes' follows `Shraddha', a concert that Arte Compass successfully organised at the same venue in April. Featuring Shankar Mahadevan (vocalist), U. Srinivas (mandolin exponent), Sivamani (percussion expert) and Loy Mendonsa (keyboard specialist), `Shraddha' launched Arte Compass on the cultural scene of this city. Mala Mahesh, one of the founders of Arte Compass, said that the premiere concert evoked a positive response despite the scare over severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in Singapore at that time.
For Pankaj Udhas, `Soft Notes' will be the first of a planned series of performances in 25 cities in celebration of the silver jubilee of his career as a ghazal exponent. Since 1978, he has recorded some 35 albums and rendered songs for over 50 Hindi films. The albums include `Lamha', `Nashaa', `Goonghat', `Nasheela', `Jaaneman', `Stolen Moments' and `In Search of Meer', the latest one.
A science graduate from a Mumbai college, he transformed the world of ghazals rooted in Urdu, "one of the most exotic forms of poetic stanzas steeped in oriental traditions and imagery." He pioneered the rendering of ghazals in Hindi, and it is expected that he will rely on this medium at his concert in Singapore, where he will be performing after a gap of over a decade.
Accompanied by Mohammed Shafi Sagar (harmonium), Rasid Mustafa (tabla), Rakesh Chaurasia (flute), Nasir Qureshi (mandolin) and Anuppam Chatterjee (keyboard), Pankaj Udhas is expected to combine his old-time favourites with songs from some of his new albums such as "Chaahat Desh se Aanewaalee" (`Humsafar'), "Ghoongroo Toot Gaye" (`Anokha') and others. A popular song "Chitthi Aayi Hai", from the movie Naam, is listed for its "nostalgic appeal".
Pankaj Udhas had turned to poetry before drawing inspiration from the likes of Begum Akthar and Mehdi Hasan and shifting to ghazals, which came to India during the Mughal era.
Today, the ghazal often being sung as a `raga' to the accompaniment of classical Indian instruments, the theme of `Soft Notes' can best be summed up in Pankaj Udhas' belief that "music is not what is made out of machines but that which is made out of an artist's soul''.
The programme, while being organised by Arte Compass, will be presented by Citibank in partnership with Indian Airlines and Pan Pacific, Singapore.
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