Of late, fusion is the music mantra to make it big. For one, unlike classical music, it can peter down to all and sundry and therefore make for enjoyment. It may have a shelf-life but then as long as it markets, it continues to rule the roost. And going by the present trends, fusions are bound to stay as nobody has the time or energy to gain knowledge about the intricacies of Indian classical music. So, Ronu Mazumdar and co. can draw crowds who are at once audience, cheer leaders, participants and what not.

Power packed, high tide music emanated from Ronu Mazumdar’s flute backed by Atul Raninga on the keyboard for most part with percussion play by Ramdas Palsule (tabla) and Mukul Dogrey on the drums. Since Ronu has turned into a household name in collaborations (of music variety) there’s nothing much to say, but just that we had a heady mixture of pieces from his earlier album, one or two pure Hindustani raag and a folk tune to beat it since you never know what to serve to an artistically-rich Oriya audience.

The listeners belonging to the lighter vein kept beat to his Dancing with the wind, Joy Sutra, and Playground while the semi-musical literates tapped toes to Back to roots, a rhythmic piece which blended the raag Kalavathi with Jan Sammohini and mesmerised the ‘jan’. Racy swar taan, mingling of phrases, reaching a crescendo and handing it over to the tabla for a traditional solo were all on play. The ending notes were from the keyboard which lent a cutting edge to the number. The emphasis on rhythm made it very ‘jansammohan’.

Ramdas Palsule gave his best on the tabla and later, the dialogue between Ramdas and Mukhul Dongre (drums) challenging, gesturing, competing each other and finally holding out the olive branch was a pleasure. The playground was a jamming session which did not really bring up the illusion of children playing with the ball, as Ronu tried to reason it out in his preface to this number. Part of it was as familiar as a very popular Hindi/ Telugu film piece of the early 70s with a sprinkling of something that he may have innovated. What had Mozart to do with RD Burman, God alone knows but Ronu Mazumdar could take a bit of each and create something that resembled a symphony in part and something else too in his Joy Sutra. The Madhuvanthi raag also went for a makeover with a fast track melodic rendition in which the drummer had a very large role to play and he came up to our expectations.

Now came the traditional trial with Miya Malhar (a monsoon raag), where the swar seemed to fly and land on some other swar (like the rishab for instance) as he elaborated the raag. Spelling out the swar bhol, he began replaying it and all that could be said was there were tremendous sur fluctuations. The Sundar Vaaste was essentially folk (part of his Travellers Tale album) which was simple yet sweet, tripping and swinging, but then, we’ve been having this too many a time!

Vande Mataram in Desh should have rounded off the recital but the artiste wasn’t too happy to let go and so he gave us a very musical mix in Jog raag calling it Jog jazz a very frisky piece, highly rhythmic and melodic too. The ascent and descent manifesting in Atul’s hands had a good impact on the audience by sheer virtue of its beat.

The concert marked the third day of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award Festival put together by Srjan at Rabindra Mandap.