A creative melange

Ustad Shujat Khan

Ustad Shujat Khan  

The Splendour of the Masters brought together musicians from diverse streams, creating an intense melodic polyphony

“Splendor of the Masters”, a truly memorable and a much-awaited musical event organized on an annual basis by Banyan Tree was held recently in Chowdaiah Memorial Hall, Bangalore. The strikingly innovative combination of musical styles and genres showcased in this unique music festival was indeed praiseworthy. The musical ensemble of maestros that came together this year shared brilliant chemistry and unparalleled artistic synergy.

The musical extravaganza began with a captivating sitar recital by the maestro Ustad ShujatKhan. The sitar recital was a pleasing prelude to the dazzling combinations of artistes who executed richly imaginative sequences with admirable aplomb, evincing their penchant for bold experimentation by amalgamating a plurality of musical genres such as Hindustani classical instrumental, Carnatic classical instrumental and vocal, Jazz , etc. That these artistes immensely enjoyed their creative polyphony and with effortless ease managed to cross the boundaries and meet at unpredictable, but lyrically intense intersections was clearly discernible.

Ustad Shujat Khan’s sitar solo provided the inspirational energy for the spectacular experimentation that followed later. He commenced with a customary alap-jod-jhala sequence in raga Yaman Kalyan and took up an ancient bandis, a ‘Shiv Stuti’ in the fast-paced drut teental for an elaborate exposition. As Shujat Khan played the bandish, he surprised the audience by also singing the composition “Darshan Devo Shankar Mahadev” simultaneously. Young Amit Choubey who zestfully accompanied him on the tabla had an infectious sense of enthusiasm.

The second part of the event was marked by the scintillating artistry of four outstanding musicians: Prasanna on the guitar, Selvaganesh on the khanjira , Phil Mathurano on the drums and Abhishek Raghuram , a promising, young Carnatic vocalist whose golden voice could negotiate the toughest sequences with ease, fluidity and sweetness, tempered with impressive technical virtuosity. Prasanna commenced with improvisations in the ‘jazz’ and ‘blues’ styles , producing unusual melodic sequences with a lingering touch of Carnatic classical ragas . In a very spontaneous manner, the vocalist Abhishek Raghram pitched in with amazing ‘sargam’ collocations and enraptured the listeners by skillfully traversing the contours of various ragas , establishing a meaningful connection between diverse melodic strains and arrived at an amazing turning point with a soulful, chaste rendition of “Marugelara O Raghava” in raga Jayantashree. VidwanSelva Ganesh’s rhythmic intricacies and prowess in the khanjira were reciprocated by an exuberant intervention on the drums by the Brazilian drummer Phil Mathurano.

The breathtaking climax of this musical extravaganza was the grand final sequence when all the artistes appeared together on the stage to create a resplendent symphony drawing on the repertoire of Hindustani classical, Carnatic classical, Bhajan, Sufi and ghazal traditions. It began with a mesmerizing sequence of improvisations in ragas Misra Khamaj, Pahadi and Bhinna Shadja by Shujat Khan and Prasanna on the sitar and guitar respectively. As Shujat Khan launched into a vocal rendition of several popular ghazals, the popular Bollywood song ‘O mere Sajan’ and paid his tribute to the Sufi saint Amir Khusro by singing his sufiana qalaam “Chap tilak sab cheeni re mohseynaina milake” , the vocalist Abhishek Raghuram instantaneously hit upon a counterpoint with an exquisite rendition of Gandhiji’s favourite bhajan “Vaishnava jana to “. Vidwan Selvaganesh produced a classic reproduction of the rhythmic patterns of the drums. Although each of the maestros displayed different styles and had highly individualistic techniques of singing or playing their instruments, their interface engendered an intensely melodic polyphony.

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Printable version | Jun 1, 2020 11:42:22 AM |

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