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A musical concert heralding the full moon

Young Harpreet impressed with his voice and practice at the concluding baithak of ‘Under the Banyan Tree on a Full Moon Night’ concert series

June 29, 2018 01:10 am | Updated July 04, 2018 02:10 pm IST

Riveting rendition Harpreet in performance

Riveting rendition Harpreet in performance

A three-part monthly series of classical and folk music concerts, ‘Under the Banyan Tree on a Full Moon Night’, heralding the full moon in the months of April, May and June concluded this Purnima, at 1AQ Mehrauli, near Qutub Minar, with an immersive musical experience for the music aficionados of Delhi.

The earlier baithaks had the audience witness artistes performing under an artistically lit banyan tree with minarets of the iconic Qutub Minar as the backdrop, but due to the weather forecast of rains, this time it was arranged in the hall of the adjacent art gallery .The baithak style seating arrangement, with a few rows of benches at the back for the elderly rasikas, created perfect ambience for the poetic charm of the Sufi and folk music by Harpreet and Mir Mukhtiar Ali respectively, who established an instant rapport with the doting audience, offering them an intimate experience of Sufi poetry and music.

Mesmerising alaap

The evening opened with Harpreet strumming his Spanish Guitar and echoing the Sufi thoughts of Kabir in his full throated mesmerising alaap, where the words of Kabir’s nirgun poetry “Chanda chhalake yehi ghat manhin…..” were effortlessly woven as if reiterating Kabir’s profound philosophical thoughts through his soul stirring voice. The second song ‘Gagan ki oor nisana hai Bhai…” had the melodious fragrance of Tilak Kamod before he proceeded towards the poetry of Bulleh Shah. “Dua” written by Varun Grover gave way to the famous poem of Faiz Ahmad Faiz “Bol ke lub aazad hain tere…” that involved the audience with its pulsating rhythm and inspiring words.

“Ghas” (grass), a Punjabi poem by Avtar Singh Sandhu ‘Pash’, was recited by Harpreet in its Hindi translation with emotional involvement, before he sang it in original Punjabi. “Geet Farosh” by Bhavani Prasad Mishra “Main tarah tarah ke geet bechta hoon…” and Bubbly Banarasi, offered different flavours of languages and music before he concluded with Kabir, playing his Ukulele, a cute little Hawaiian instrument.

The delightful performance by this gifted young musician in total tunefulness, his selection and riveting rendering of the songs made one curious about his musical background and love for poetry. Most unassumingly, he confessed that there was no musical tradition in the family. Born in a small village named Sherpur, almost at the centre of Kurukshetra and Karnal, he lived with his family in the closeby farm. His first impression of music as a six-year-old, came from the old film songs his father used to sing. A small keyboard of his elder brother became his first ever musical instrument. This joy encouraged the child to learn music from wherever he could. It was eventually after coming to Delhi that he joined the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya and learnt classical music properly, but never appeared for exams. He loved the music of Indian Ocean and Rabbi Shergill. “Their songs inspired me to read Sufi poetry and compose in my own way.” Asked about his style of elaborating the poetry in ‘bol-alaap’ style, based on a classical raga before picking up the rhythm; he summarised, “music is like a journey, you evolve as you go along on this path….” One wishes him to conquer many more milestones on his chosen path.

The other attraction of the evening was Mir Mukhtiar Ali, the popular folk singer coming from the Mirasi community of Rajasthan. He opened with the Doha, “Jab main tha tab Hari nahi/Jab Hari hain main nahi. Prem gali ati Sankari/jamen do na samay…., as a preface to “Mohe apne hi rang mein rang le piya….” based on raga Tilang. One used to see and listen to him earlier with the folk instruments like dholak and harmonium, but now after scaling the popularity chart he has added tabla and guitar also. Luckily, there is no synthesiser as yet. The populist approach was evident in his selection of songs too; “Main nazar se pee raha hoon/ye saman badal na jaye and “Afreen afreen….”, of Nusrat Fateh Ali and the other hit Punjabi songs.

It was towards the end when Harpreet joined him, that the dignity of Sufi music resumed. Harpreet says, “I personally loved the impromptu jamming with Mukhtiar Ali and group.” Harpreet concluded with a song written by Gopal Dutt, “Ram Rahim ki aisi ho Holi/Sub rang mil kar banen rangoli…” underlining the need for spreading love and peace through such lyrics in today’s time. He opened the song in his typical bol alaap style, weaving the words in the poignant swaras of raga Jogia. The rhythm established by his Ukulele, was joined by Mukhtiar Ali & group, reaching the concert to its climax along with the enthusiastic rhythmic claps of the audience.

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