Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Gunidas Sangeet Sammelan in Chennai, Citi and the Maharashtra Lalit Kala Nidhi presented Pandit Jasraj, and celebrated santoor player Satish Vyas while veteran Bharatanatyam dancer Vyjayantimala Bali, was in attendance.

Pt. Jasraj’s grand presence was offset only by the grandeur and magnificence of the rag Darbari. While sailing through the lower octave and culminating in Sachitanand chit swaroop “Jai Shri Durge” in vilambit ektaal and a dhrut piece ‘Har Har Bhootnaath Pasupati’ (written by Swami Vivekananda), Panditji’s voice tugged at the heart strings.

The concert stood out for its smooth glides, clearly articulated overtones, and the electrifying taan patterns. In the Basant Haveli Sangeet in fourteen beats, Panditji showcased his technique; he made a dramatic presentation of sound and the visual image. Panditji’s great breath control - he gave the longest ever pause on the ‘sa’ - brought forth rounds of applause from the audience. His flawless rendition spoke volumes of his high degree of creativity, discipline, and vision of a life dedicated to music. Ratan Mohan Sharma gave vocal support, and Mukund Petkar on the harmonium was attentive and in sync to the great demands of the maestro.

Ram Kumar Mishra on the tabla, himself representing a great musical lineage (being the grandson of Pt. Anokhi Lal and son of Pt. Zhandu Lal Mishra), lived up to his great family tradition.

The evening had an amazing start with Pt. Satish Vyas, showcasing the captivating melody of the santoor in raga Jhinjhuti. He presented an alap jod and jhala followed by a gat in jhaptaal and then in ektaal. He also played Charukesi, keeping the melodic line while rising to a crescendo and almost dropping it completely at another point. Despite the fact that the meend effect is not possible on the santoor, the Jod emerged out of the pulsation that occurred as a result of the increasing density in the un-metered sections. Ram Kumar Mishra’s acumen was evident in his execution of Chakradhar and Laggee, with which he complimented the performance of Pt. Satish Vyas.

Jyoti Nair

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