Feast of sur and taal

Rajan-Sajan mishra at the Sur Festival in Kolkata. Photo: Courtesy Sur   | Photo Credit: GRJGM

The SUR (Sublime Urge to Rejoice) Festival was mounted in 2014 by two outstanding young musicians, Debapriya Adhikary (vocalist) and Samanwaya Sarkar (sitarist), both disciples of Girija Devi. In its second year, the three-day music and dance event, which was held at the G. D. Birla Sabhagar, Kolkata, recently, was inaugurated by Girija Devi.

The inaugural vocal concert was by Sanhita Nandi. Next came a duet by dancers Saswati Sen (Kathak, disciple of Pandit Birju Maharaj) and Sujata Mohapatra (Odissi, disciple and daughter-in-law of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra), who performed together for the first time.

The invocation, ‘Pranati’, celebrating Siva-Parvati, Rama-Sita and Vishnu-Lakshmi, saw the dancers swaying side-by-side at the samapada position.

Saswati executed a mild chakkar, while Sujata, a neat bhramari, before breaking into their respective idioms to Rupak Paridha’s vibrant singing of ‘Om Sarveswaraya.’

In ‘Shantakaram Bhujagashayanam’ for Vishnu-Lakshmi piece, Sujata’s anantasayanam posture was majestic. The choreography was an interesting combination of nritta (pure dance) of the two dance forms.

The duets were spaced out by rewarding solos. In the Durga Stuti, ‘Jatajutta Samayukta,’ Sujata’s radiance came through while portraying the powerful Goddess. The elaboration of ‘Atasipushpa barnava’ in three different compositions was mystic.

Saswati’s treasure trove of nritta in taal Dhamar,14 beats, gradually unfurled her virtuosity with bandishes of layaki nowk-jhok, ginti ki-tihai in tishra jati, then Chaturashra, and the scintillating ‘Sam ki khoj’. Her expression of ‘khoj’ (hunting) matched the powerful footwork (tatkaar). The perfect landing on the sam was supported by Pandit Shubhankar Banerjee on the tabla.

The jugalbandi concluded with a choreographic piece combining two Jayadeva’s Ashtapadi, ‘Yahi Madhava’ and ‘Priye Charushiley,’ where Sujata excelled but the abhinaya of Saswati fell short of expectations. However the Tarana in Bhairabi, composed by Pandit Birju Maharaj, performed by them in their respective idioms, made up for it.

Debapriya Adhikary, true to his tradition, opened the second evening with Suddhakalyan, Khayal ‘Raina aao,’ alaap, vilambit and drut teentaal. The rich texture of his voice and a natural felicity for sweeping the octaves in a variety of taans and gamakas created many delightful moments. Pandit Dharamdas Misra (harmonium) and Susanta Talukdar (tabla) provided vital support. His sensitivity in the bol-banao Thumri, ‘Jaag padi mein to piyake jagaye,’ was captivating.

Next, Pandit Kumar Bose, tabla maestro of the Benaras gharana, presented some gems in teentaal. He was assisted ably by his nephew Rohin and supported by Sanatan Goswami on the harmonium. He signed off amidst thunderous applause with Nikas (like ‘Hawa’), sliding off from the tabla.

Samanwaya Sarkar’s mastery on the sitar ( and vocals) made the last evening enthralling. He began with alaap, jod and jhala in Sri. A ‘Dhamar–e-gat’ and drut addachautal burst forth superbly. Equally captivating was the stylised jugalbandi of a Tappa (‘Miyan nazare nahi anda’) and ‘Tadpa tadpa’ (a Girija Devi composition) by Debapriya and Samanwaya (gayaki ang) with the compelling Arif Khan on the tabla.

The festival concluded with a gratifying recital in raag Nand, that ended with Bhairabi, by the brothers Rajan–Sajan Mishra. Kumar Bose accompanied them on the tabla.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 10:57:54 AM |

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