Round-up part 1

The perfect sitar symphony
Pt. Ravi Shankar & Anoushka Shankar – 26th March’03, at Chowdaiah Memorial Hall, Bangalore.

Sitar maestro Pt. Ravi Shankar along with his disciple-daughter Anoushka was here in Bangalore to demonstrate his virtuosity after a long gap of 10 years.

Pandit Ravi Shankar was welcomed with thunderous applause and standing ovation from wonderful 800 plus audience. The resonant tune wafting out of the sitars of father-daughter duo made the concert memorable that had audience spellbound for nearly three hours.

Anoushka, opened the concert with a solo recital of evening raag Madhuvanti in Roopak Taal, setting the mood for what was to follow. She surprised the audience with ‘Raghuvamsha Suda’ in ‘Adi tala’, a Carnatic Raga taught to her by her mother Sukanya Shankar, who is a South Indian.

Then Panditji began with his favorite Raag, Bihaag in Teen taal, playing the nuances and finer aspects of the Raag with finesse, while the Tabla by Tanmoy Bose and Bikram Gosh who accompanied Panditji and Anoushka on Sitar, attempted to converse with the melody of sitar to perfection.

Panditji and Anoushka topped off the concert with the “rangeela peelu”, a medley of raagas and folk tunes. And the finale witnessed a jugalbandi of sorts between the two tabla players – Tanmoy Bose and Bikram Ghosh to the accompaniment of tanpura played by Nick and Koushik.

This concert was organized by Spic Macay Foundation, a non-profit organization established for the promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture.

Great treat for Banglore’s music lovers.

Remember SHAKTI

Remember Shakti, Will Fans forget!

30 January 2003, Palace Grounds

Shakti, a popular acoustic band electrified the music world by fusing Indian classical music with jazz, in the 1970s. John McLaughlin on the guitar, Zakir Hussain on the tabla and percussion, U. Srinivas on the mandolin, and Selvaganesh on the percussion form the present line-up of the band who performed in Bangalore recently. Shakti not only introduced Indian music to foreigners in the jazz rock segment, but also made us Indians to appreciate our own heritage. The ragas and rhythms of hoary tradition were revived and presented brilliantly through exquisite compositions and scintillating improvisations to win a whole new generation of discerning listeners.

Remember Shakti, a music concert organized by Zakir Hussain Promotion and managed by Pancham Nishad gave Bangaloreans the opportunity, after seventeen years, to catch up with the many-facted personalities who creat Shakti’s music, especially guitar maestro John McLaughlin who has embraced India, its music and its spiritual tradition with such passion.

Zakir Hussain, one of the most honoured musicians in the country, mesmerized the audience of Bangalore showcasting his mastery on tabla. U. Srinivas who has always been known for innovation proved his mettle to the audience with mandolin, an instrument which closely resembles a mini guitar. Selvaganesh is the latest in the lineage of great Carnatic percussionists. Son of extraordinary ghatam player, Vikku Vinayakram, he has mastered all instruments such as mridangam, ghatam and khanjira.

“Five in the morning and six in the afternoon”, “Ma No Pa” from the album Believer, “Lotus feet”, and “Mahaganapatim” (a Tyagaraja composition) were some of the compositions played by the group.

With the sheer energy, fire and passion of their playing, the quartet transported to another world, both themselves and everyone in the mesmerized audience. Even the lighting guy got carried away, playing with the lights in step with the group (as if the lights were his instrument!) – Zakir Hussain had to ask him to refrain from contributing his distracting bit to the performance. The curtains came down, as the house was brought down by the grand finale where the masters unfolded their mastery to an eager audience.

Music & Dance Herald Spring in Bangalore

Spring around the corner. Birds sing. Flowers bloom in every colour. Everywhere. But only in Bangalore, yes only here! There is singing and dancing too. As Nrityagram heralds spring with Vasantahabba – the Spring Festival.

Note by note:

3.00 pm: People are already arriving, though the festival starts at .30pm, Families and friends from Bangalore, from all over India, even from abroad. From the city and from the villages. People knowing everything about our culture; people know nothing. Pub-crawlers, disco goers, software nerds. They are all here.

4.00 pm: The theatre is packed. 3000 in 1990. This year – 350001!

6.30 pm: The thundering beginning (Belliappa and party from Shimoga) : Dollu Kunita – Folk Drums of Karnataka. Enrapturing, energetic rhythms. Year after year at Nrityagram.

7.00 pm: Dancing tots (Nrityagram Village Ensemble) : Amazing talent drawn out of children from neighboring villages by Nrityagram’s Village Outreach Program that teaches dance to 300 children on weekends – taking the classical arts to rural Karnataka.

Odissi (Nrityagram Dance Ensemble, Surupa Sen and Bijayini Satpathy) : Exploring female energy, searching for the goddess within, that carries us beyond mythological images & definitions. An excerpt from “Sri – In Search of the Goddess”.

8.00 pm: Mohiniattam (Mandakini Trivedi) : Starting with a piece on Ritu Samhara, she presents Mohiniattam in its purest form. Mandakini not only dances with utmost grace and style but also enlightens the audience with information on the pieces being performed.

9.00 pm: Kuchipudi (Guru Jayaram and Vanshree) : They explain the finer nuances of Kuchipudi and then do what they do best – dance. A piece on ardhanarishwari, Shiva and Parvati, a demonstration on abhinaya and then a swaria jati follow. Then an excerpt from their production on Krishna and the Gopis. Neat and dynamic.

10:30 pm: Contemporary Dance & Music (Stem Dance Theatre and Amit Heri Group) Flying leaps into the air, somersaults, twists, turns, chakkars and more are all part of their repertoire. Music by Amit Heri and group is an added attraction. The combination of Kathak with fine chakkars and contemporary movements has the audience gasping in delight.

Curtains down for Dancers
Showtime for the Songbirds

12.00 pm: Hindustani Vocal (Malini Rajurkar) : Belonging to the old school of thought, Malini sings with a powerful voice. A new experience for her with audience that whistles as much as it applauds in appreciation.

1.00 pm: Carnatic Flute (Shashank) :What prowess! Classical in style and yet modern in presentation, to keep the audience enthralled even at this hour., giving them a taste of both fast and slow music. Accompaniments include the mridanga, the table and the violin. Krishna nee begane baro, Nagumomu and another folk tune are played to perfection.

2.30 pm: Mohan Veena (Pt. Vishwa Mohan Batt and Salil Bhatt) : Pandit Vishwamohan Bhat, among those legends who are synonymous with Vasantahabba, says, “It’s a pleasure playing to such a wonderful audience.”

4.30 am: Qawwali (Naseer and Nazeer Warsi and Party) : The celebrations begin even before the eight Warsis take the stage. Naina Milaike, Mast Kalandar and other qawwali numbers are asked for and the highly enthusiastic audience sings along. Dancing, singing and a lot of masti mark the performance. A very big hit last year. And again now.

6.30 am: Fusion Music (Taufiq Qureshi and Friends) : Niladri Kumar: Sitar, Sridhar Parthasarthy: Mrudanga, Karl Peters: Bass Guitar, Geetika Varde: Vocals, Nishad: Keyboard

They have the audience in raptures for nearly an hour. Sunrise has no effect on the audience that has been on an all-night diet of dance and music. Some in the crowd have waited all night for only Taufiq. None are disappointed. Neeladri known for his fast sitar steals the show.

Kudos to: Lynn Fernandes, the behind-the-scenes force at Ntrityagram and Vasantahabba. Arundati Rao, VJ (Vasantahabba Jockey?), compered the show excellently, knowing exactly how to handle crowd over 30,0000, keeping them in the right spirit through the long hours. Vasantahabba 03′ – A great success!