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Updated: November 13, 2009 19:17 IST

To the pillars of culture

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Pandit Debu Chaudhury. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt
The Hindu
Pandit Debu Chaudhury. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan as instituted an annual cultural fest.

To commemorate the Foundation Day of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, the Delhi Kendra of this prestigious institution conceived an annual festival of classical music and dance to be presented every year around the date of its founding (7 November 1938). The first in this series, called ‘Bhavan’s Sangeet Samaroh’, was held at FICCI auditorium recently as a tribute to the three legendary musicians Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Vidushi Gangubai Hangal and Vidushi D.K. Pattamal who passed away early this year.

While a sitar and shehnai concert by Pandit Partho Das and Pandit Daya Shankar respectively, on the inaugural evening, paid tribute to Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, the three-day festival concluded with a memorable vocal recital by Ashwini Bhide.

An outstanding vocalist of the famed Jaipur-Atrauli Khayal tradition, Ashwini was initially trained under Pandit Ratnakar Pai and further groomed meticulously by her mother Manik Bhide. Her musicianship is characterised by a beautiful blend of tonal sweetness and vitality along with an unerring grasp of raga structure and architecture. She opened her concert with the famous composition “Shankar Mahadev…” set to slow Jhap tala in raga Jhinjhoti, a most appropriate raga for the evening.

The artistic delineation of the bandish showcased her unerring grasp of the raga’s grammer while maintaining melody. The bada khayal was followed by a tarana in Teen tala, with its sam on the Taar-Shadja, where her voice sounded like a flute.

Charukauns that came next was one of the characteristic complex ragas the gharana is famous for; with a unique combination of Charukeshi and Kauns. The medium tempo composition, set to a difficult time cycle of seven-and-a-half beats, was rendered with effortless ease.

The drut composition “Piya nahin aaye” set to Teen tala proved Ashwini a gifted composer too. She concluded her captivating concert with the poignant Bhairavi dadra “Chala ho pardesia”, where Mehmood Dhaulpuri on the harmonium and Mithilesh Jha on the tabla gave her superb support.

Serene Shree

Pandit Debu Chaudhuri’s soulful alap-jod-jhala in the serene raga Shree was followed by slow and fast gats in an equally tranquil raga Marwa that proved to be the most apt tribute to Gangubai Hangal.

Pandit Rajan-Sajan Mishra chose Shuddha Kalyan for their main raga, singing it to their heart’s content. The bada khayal in slow Ek tala and the famous chhota khayal “Mandar baajo” were followed by a drut composition in a five-beat cycle, where Sukhvinder Singh Namdhari on the tabla also showcased his prowess. They sang a couple of compelling compositions in raga Jhinjhoti set to Rupak and Teen tala before concluding their impressive performance with a bhajan.

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