Monday, March 21, 2011

The Unforgettable Night of Music and Culture

Pune witnessed its longest musical overnight concert with SPIC MACAY along with College of Engineering, Pune inaugurating Heritage 2010, Pune chapter, SPIC MACAY’s annual cultural festival. It was one of the biggest cultural events in the country with six performing arts connoisseurs coming together at the same platform.

The evening began with Pandit Birju Maharaj and his disciple Saswati Sen setting the mood with their awe-inspiring performance. The jugalbandi between Panditji‘s ghungroos and the Pakhawaj was a delightful sight for the audience who were tapping their fingers on the rhythm of the taal. Kathak primarily being a dance form that is associated with women courtesans of the eighteenth century and the grace it is performed, Pt. Birju Maharaj performed with the same ardour and finesse that a woman of those times could have ever performed. Saswati Sen’s narrated the mythological story of Ahilya through her moves and mudras.

After Panditji’s performance, vocalists Uday Bhawalkar and Ashwini Bhide-Deshpande lend their voices to the ambience of the auditorium with the soulful ragas and dhrupads that they recited. The chantings were soulful and it captivated the audience. Nayan Ghosh, eminent Sitar artists mastered its oeuvre by playing some of the most beautiful recitals, mostly Thumri ragas and Khayals.

The event also witnessed Sarwar Hussain, the youngest Sarangi player at the age of 30 maintained the rich legacy of his family, who are part of the Hindustan Gharana clan for the past five generations. At the beginning of his performance, he said- “I will try my best to reflect the skills that I acquired from my gurus. If you like it, it is my gurus’ blessings that he has bestowed upon me and if I make a mistake, it is my inability to take the best from them.”

The event could not have concluded in its utmost grandeur when 102 year old, world reknowned vocalist, Ustad Rashid Khan mastered the ragas and paltas. Having stopped practice for the past twenty years, Ustad Saab represented the Gwalior Gayaki with much ease and strength which cannot be matched by his younger counterparts. Ustad Khan has composed more than 2000 bandishes and still continuing, he indeed is the lone pioneer of the rich Indian musical heritage of his generation.

SPIC MACAY, true to its reputation, has been successful in carrying forward the movement to promote the rich cultural heritage of India. This concert saw a turnout of a major portion of the large student population of Pune who were hooked to their seats till the end. From Pt.Birju Maharaj’s beats to the chantings of Ustad Rashid Khan till break of dawn, the Heritage Night was indeed an event that would be resonate in the minds of its spectators for a very long time.

P.S. The event happened in February 2010.

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