Harmony marked the muscial conversation between flautist Shashank and sitar artiste Purbayan Chantterjee
Jugalbandis are tricky propositions. They either turn out to be a perfect confluence of Hindustani and Carnatic music because of many common factors or stand as two islands of independent talent. Luckily, in this conversation between flautist Shashank and sitar player Purbayan Chatterjee, the harmony between the two artists was so good that the bamboo and the strings blended interestingly and yes, melodiously at many junctures. Titled, 'Musical Conversation, Kolkata to Chennai' was part of the week long the Silver Jubilee Anniversary Celebrations of YACM at The Music Academy. The artists were accompanied by Patri Satish Kumar on the mridangam and Yogesh Samsi on the tabla.
The format was more on the Hindustani style and so Madhuvanti (Dharmavati in Carnatic) was the raga of the evening. Undoubtedly, a fine choice as the raga is imbued with a tinge of melancholic melody. Purbayan started with soul-stirring soft touches with ample gamakas to entice the Chennai Carnatic audience. Shashank followed suit with many velvety touches to the Dharmavati phrases. The conversation that built the raga image started slowly and softly and soon progressed into a steady shower.
After the raga exposition, a pallavi-like refrain was taken up set in tisra triputa taal. As the swara sallies advanced, the steady showers became a thundershower and finally, a hailstorm. But amazingly, despite the rapid and stormy swara exchanges towards the high point, the melody was in tact through the sonorous notes from the sitar and the flute. The raga Madhuvanti won over even the forceful postures of Shashank and Purbayan with its powerful melodic core. This conversion exhibited the commendable competence of the artists and the meeting of two creative minds.
The next two ragas were Khamas and Sindubhairavi. The interpretation of Khamas put forth its romantic charm and in this segment, Purbayan's nimble fingers brought forth many enticing phrases. Part of the javali, 'Apaduruku' was chosen by Shashank for extrapolation. Here too, the dialogue started with mild touches and soon moved to the faster segment, sharing the sojourn alternatively.
With two energetic performers as the main players, the percussionist acted as catalysts. The dynamic duel between Purbayan playing Madhuvanti and Satish Kumar on the mridangam was special. Yogesh Samsi was conspicuous with his subtle to sharp strokes on the tabla.