The Hindu November Fest

Opening show of November Fest celebrates the idea of sound

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The core of 'Classical & Beyond,' the opening show of the 13th edition of The Hindu November Fest, was a celebration of voice and instruments.

The core of Classical & Beyond, the opening show of the 13th edition of The Hindu November Fest on Thursday, was a celebration of the idea of sound — of voice and instruments, both stand-alone and collective. For the six well-known artistes who shared the stage, and a seemingly comfortable rapport with each other, the concert presented an opportunity to showcase the potential and possibility of the instruments, and their ingenuity with it.

Opening befittingly with a bhajan, ‘Mharo Pranam’, popularised by Hindustani musician, the late Kishori Amonkar, had all the instruments providing an interesting accessory to Kaushiki Chakraborty’s vocals. The concert then segued into a nuanced exploration of ‘Puriya Dhanashri’ (’Panthuvarali’ in the Carnatic tradition) by Purbayan Chatterjee, who practically owned the sitar with creativity and conviction, allowing the raag and its many varied emotions, come alive.

Beat of drums

Yet another showcase of talent was the unfolding of ‘Vachaspathy’ where the flute held fort. Rakesh Chaurasia’s treatment of the raag, common to Hindustani and Carnatic repertoire, had about it a certain meditative quality. In addition to the tabla, this rendition was sensitively layered with the drums by Taufiq Qureshi. When it was Chakraborty’s time to shine, she sought comfort in a khayal in raag ‘Kalavathy’, with only the tabla and the harmonium for company. A pure and unfussy segment, it was a celebration of the concept of beauty in simplicity.

An hour into the concert, the lights came on to the acclaimed Qureshi, who presented a solo — his creation called ‘Rhythm of Life’ — a complex konnakkol-like rendition using merely his breath to create a slew of sounds, allowing the audience yet another glimpse of his prowess in the world of percussion. And then began a dialogue between two percussion instruments — one Indian, the other, African. Qureshi handled the djembe with ease, responding to every point of view of the tabla (Satyajit Talwalkar) with an equally powerful statement that together culminated on a high note.

From the heart

The pièce de résistance, however, was ‘Peace of Mind’, an original by Purbayan Chatterjee. Classical in its roots but contemporary in its expression, it allowed every artiste an antara (a middle section) to journey with the piece, and return interestingly to the very RD Burman-esque riff that defined the composition.

The concert culminated withD a kajri, ‘Barsan Laagi Badariya Room Jhoom Ke’, in ‘Aahir Bhairav’ that was dedicated to the life and music of the late Girija Devi, in a true jugalbandi format where what mattered was the confluence of sounds to create a singular sound of music. A little more of that togetherness would have most certainly made the concert merrier.

Opening show of November Fest celebrates the idea of sound

Coming up

November 11: Tower of Song: Indie and Folk; Artistes: Lail Arad, JF Robitaille and MT Aditya Srinivasan

November 12: The Music Men: Cinema Cool; Artistes: Benny Dayal & The Band with Anil Srinivasan

Venue: The Music Academy

The Hindu November Fest - Sponsors

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 2:38:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/november-fest/when-the-twain-met/article20103122.ece

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