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Musical fair



A CLASSICAL FEAST: Rajan and Sajan Mishra in concert.

One of the oldest festivals of classical music in India, Shri Sankatmochan Sangeet Mahotsava, held in Varanasi recently, is now ready to look forward. This is the concert that provided nationwide popularity to stalwarts like Pandit Jasraj, Kelucharan Mohapatra, Sanjukta Panigrahi, Pandit Pratap Narain, Swapnasundari, Kankana Banerji, Sunanda Patnaik and others. Started in 1948 by pakhawaj maestro Pandit Amar Nath Mishra, Pandit Ashutosh Bhattacharya and Pandit Kishan Maharaj (both disciples of Pandit Kanthe Maharaj), the festival is now organised by Vishwambhar Nath Mishra.

At this year's event, Ulhas Kashalkar's vocal recital, a sarod recital by Tejendra Narain Majumdar with Anindo Chatterjee on tabla and the tabla solo by Suresh Talwarkar mesmerised the audience.

Pure recital

The brilliant disciple of Pandit Gajanan Rao Joshi of the Gwalior gharana, Ulhas Kashalkar sanghis two favourite ragas - Chhaya Nat and Malkauns. The significant notes of these ragas seemed to spread out in the open-air temple premises, with his restful taiyari and soothing patterns. Stylistically, the gayaki of this gharana is best described as a whole in itself, and Ulhas underwent extensive training under Pandit Joshi of Agra, Jaipur and Gwalior gharanas. Enunciating a Dhrupad-like alap, he combines his vocal ability with astounding knowledge. His creamy voice is fit to assimilate the Komal Nishad of Malkauns.

Listeners also enjoyed the recital of Suresh Talwarkar with Tilwada, Jhoomra and Deepchandi talas and the one by Tejendra Narain Majumdar. This disciple of Ustad Ali Akbar Khan is now making waves with his sarod playing.His strokes are profoundly vibrant and restful.

He plays the sarod with complete devotion. It has the elaborate alapchari in the Dhrupad ang and the intricate layakari and tar parans (percussion patterns adapted to melodic instrument playing). The vast raga repertoire including the jod-ragas is the characteristic of his Maihar mould.

Tejendra enunciated raga Bilaskhani Todi and then Nat Bhairav. Anindo Chatterjee accompanied him on thetabla. The presence of Pandit Kishan Maharaj with Rajan-Sajan Mishra, the sitar recital by Pandit Debu Chaudhuri (raga Vishveshwari) and Manju Mehta, the introduction of three young talents - Anuvrata Chatterjee and Shubh Maharaj (tabla) and Ankita Joshi (vocal) - Kathak dance by Jay Rao, Odissi by Ratikant and Sujata Mohapatra, Bharatanatyam by Chitra Vishveshwaran, and the sarod recital by Vishwajeet Roy Chaudhury were some of the attractions of this event. There were some concerts not up to the mark.

The organisers must avoid substandard entries in order to maintain the dignity of this event.

GAUTAM CHATTERJEE

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