Friday Review

Beyond the stage...

FOR THOSE WHO MATTER Pandit Samar Saha.

FOR THOSE WHO MATTER Pandit Samar Saha.  

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Two separate events with an identical goal were held in Kolkata recently for the benefit of unsung musicians.

There are several anecdotes regarding music marrying philanthropy despite the insecurities associated with musicians’ profession. Kolkata witnessed two such consecutive mega events recently, presented by two different organisations, with their focus on superlative music along with philanthropic activities, under the able stewardship of Pandit Samar Saha and Pandit Subhankar Banerjee, two celebrated tabla maestros. Albeit dedicated to the memory of their mentors both the events also coincided with special landmarks of their lives this year.

Pandit Samar Saha, the senior of the two, turned 60 in January and his organisation Sangeet Piyasi completed 25 glorious years, almost each of which gifted a new talent, discovered by Saha, to the world of music. On this special occasion, the four day-long sessions of this music conference did not chase the veterans; but courageously focused on the young maestros (Kaushiki Chakraborty, Amaan Ali Khan, Omkar Dadarkar, Sandipan Samajpati and several others).

Each day was dedicated to one legend like Subodh Ganguly (lyricist-composer and founder of Bangiya Sangeet Parishad), Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan (vocal), Pandit Shankar Ghosh (tabla) and Ustad Ali Ahmed Hussain Khan (shehnai). Gratitude-filled purse of Rs. 25,000 were presented to all eminent musicians who performed to help the organisation in its formative period. Moreover, instrument makers Narayan Chandra Das (tabla), Gobindo Rith (harmonium), Binoy Chandra Biswas (tanpura) and Jayanta Sengupta (sitar), the unseen and unsung personalities of the music-world, were awarded.

Several sensitive persons from different walks of life came forward to strengthen the hands of Saha, a worthy disciple of the late Krishna Kumar Ganguly (famously ‘Natubabu’) of Benares Gharana. He, too, never accepts any financial reward from his disciples; but demands total dedication towards the art and the artistes in need. ‘I am fortunate to have a clutch of extremely dedicated disciples who translate my visions into reality,’ says a contented Saha.

Pandit Subhankar Banerjee’s50th birthday, celebrated by his 18-year old Kajalrekha Music Foundation, had the blessings of Pandit Shivkumar Sharma and Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, the doyens of Indian classical music; because it was organised to raise funds for another very special cause related to differently-abled musicians and music students.

This mega event saw the distribution of scholarships to differently-abled children and ‘special medical assistance cards’ to organisations, dedicated to the welfare of such musicians.

Subhankar Banerjee dedicates all this to the late Kajalrekha Banerjee, his vocalist mother who, despite her polio induced physical handicap, not only lived music till her last breath but also inspired her extremely talented son to pursue music as his passion. She placed her 5-year old boy under the tutelage of Guru Swapan Shiva of Farukkhabad gharana. The melodious ambience of his home naturally resulted in vocal training from his early childhood. This made him a competent vocalist as well. But Subhankar pursued tabla as his profession and made his parents proud when he received awards from celebrities like Satyajit Ray (1977), Pandit Ravi Shankar (1985) and from the President of India in 1987.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 12:43:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/Beyond-the-stage.../article14628597.ece

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