Music Delightful concerts at Bhavan's Sangeet Samaroh.

T he Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan was founded by Kulapati Dr. K.M. Munshi on 7th November 1938, nearly a decade before Independence, for the preservation and propagation of Bharatiya sanskriti (Indian culture). Promoting the best of our heritage in terms of classical music, performing arts and education, it has grown into an institution of eminence. To commemorate its Foundation Day, the Delhi centre of the Bhavan organised its annual Sangeet Samaroh at Kamani auditorium this past week.

This music festival created another landmark this year by instituting the Bhavan's Sangeet Samman, an award to be conferred on an eminent artiste who has dedicated his or her life for Indian classical music. The twin steps of supporting Indian classical music and honouring a legendary artiste have taken the Samaroh to greater heights. Ustad Fariduddin Dagar was the most appropriate choice to be the first recipient of this prestigious award. A very senior Dhrupadiya of the Dagar bani, Ustad Fariduddin Dagar is also the most respected guru, with disciples like Ritwik Sanyal, Uday Bhavalkar and the Gundecha Brothers to name just a few. The souvenir, “Swar Bharati-2010”, was also a collector's item with a number of articles by renowned musicians, musicologists and critics on India's musical instruments.

Impressive recital

The inaugural evening was marked by an impressive vocal recital by Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar. With his captivating style which is a unique blend of Gwalior, Agra and Jaipur gayakis, Kashalkar has acquired a high pedestal as the most respected and sought after senior vocalist of Hindustani classical music. Decorated with Padmashri and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, he is the resident Guru at the ITC Sangeet Research Academy, Kolkata. His main raga this evening was Maru Bihag with a slow composition “Jaage more bhaag…” set to Vilambit Teen tala. It was amazing to observe such multihued shades of melody in this most common and oft-repeated raga sung or played by every other musician — vouching for his imaginative creativity. His Maru Bihag in fact, had his own signature. The alap, bol-alap and barhat showcased his limitless ability to permute at will, while elaborating the raga. It was followed by forceful gamak and sapaat taans released with refreshingly executed melodic sequences.

The chhota khayal “Padi mori naav manjhadhaar” was also set to Teen tala but in the medium tempo. His disciple Ojesh Pratap Singh provided him commendable vocal support, whereas Pandit Suresh Talwalkar's tabla echoed like the third tanpura. The musicality of his tabla belies its identity as a percussion instrument. Vinay Mishra was there to accompany him on the harmonium. There was also a morning session on morning ragas, presented by legendary sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan. Khan belongs to the sixth generation of the Bangash lineage that claims to have invented the sarod. Opening with the beauteous raga Bhathiyar, the ustad offered a lavish treat of morning ragas to the discerning audience.

Carnatic music was represented by a vibrant vocal recital by Sudha Raghunathan on the second evening of the three-day festival. The sarangi recital by Dhruva Ghosh and the flute recital by Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia were the melodious attractions of the concluding session of the Samaroh