Hindustani vocalist Shantanu Bhattacharyya and the Canadian group Monsoon wove magic. G. SWAMINATHAN
Vishwa Kala Sangama in association with Tchaikovsky Music Club celebrated its tenth anniversary with a unique jazz concert under the expert guidance of Pandit Shantanu Bhattacharyya. The programme was held at the Russian Cultural Centre.
It was more of a group presentation with each artist offering something separately and and then combining for certain sections.
The performers from Canada called ‘Monsoon' included Jonathan Kay on tenor and soprano saxophones, Andrew Kay on alto saxophone, Justin Gray on fretless electric bass and Debashish on the tabla. Vocal support was by guru Shantanu Bhattacharyya, Durba Bhattacharyya and their daughter Mitra Bhattacharyya.
Despite claims that the programme had been conceived on the lines of Hindustani music, it was delicately fast in many places. Starting with an invocation to Lord Siva in raag Yaman, the group presented khyals and bhajans in many Hindustani raags such as Lalit, Bhairav, Bhilawal, Suddha Sarang and Kedar.
The inspiring aspect was the spirit with which the jazz group played the raags and supported the vocals in an unobtrusive manner. They spoke of how they were attracted to Indian classical music after listening to Pandit Ravi Shankar and also explained the special features of their instruments. They delighted the audience with a vocal presentation of ‘Prathama Sur Gaye.'
The powerful vocals of Shantanu, Durba and Mitra stood out. It was a subtle blend that was purported by the professional tuition of Shantanu on how to deploy the sax and electric bass as elegantly to create finer gamaka oriented notes.
The enthusiasm of the young artists was gratifying. Nevertheless, the Mahasangama would have been more engaging with better coordination, careful preparation and proper balancing of the sound system. The time lapse between each item and frequent sound adjustments created a sort of lassitude to the proceedings.