Retreating into a dreamworld

Musical melange

They say music is a great healer and it was evident when Gurbani Bhatia’s piano and Ajay Prasanna’s flute gave the audience a chance to relax, unwind and dream during a recent performance in the City.

As the pianist took centre stage for a soulful rendition of cinematic recital -- the musical evening organised by India Habitat Centre and presented by NGO, Routes 2 Roots -- captivated the audience. Gurbani’s fingers moved on the keys of the piano and her music transcended barriers of mind, bringing tranquility to the crowd gathered at the venue.

Gurbani had no formal training yet she has been striking the right notes on the piano since the age of 13. Adapting the western instrument to the Indian culture, the pianist mesmerised every one and saw a resplendent response from the crowd as she played compositions like Jiya Dhadhak Jaye, Damadam Mast Kalandar, Chand Sifarish, Piya Tose, Lag Ja Gale and Ude Jab Jab Zulfen and Punjabi folk songs like Lathe di Chadar, Mathe te Thamkan and Dhai Din.

The luminary evening also marked the launch of Gurbani’s fourth classical and Sufi album, Magical Melodies, launched by Syed Shahid Mehdi, vice-president of Indian Council for Cultural Relations. While talking about Sufi music, Gurbani says, “Sufiana music is the most soulful music and today’s generation can relate to it. I feel it is the most powerful genre of music.”

The audience’s excitement was taken to a new high when Ajay Prasanna joined the piano recitalist with his flute playing raga yaman to Mausam Aashiqana and raga kirvani to Mera Dil ye Pukare Aaja. With the passion of a lover, the flautist built the music to a crescendo where the audience was transported into untold heights of emotion and ecstasy. The compositions ranged from Sufi, Punjabi folk, nostalgic Hindi melodies to classical songs. The listeners were in a treat to listen to Lag Ja Gale, Dheere Dheere Machal and Lathe di Chadar.

Ajay Prasanna, a classical musician and an innovator, is the son of renowned flautist Pandit Bholanath Prasanna of the Benaras Gharana. His father was also the guru of Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia. Known for his strength and fluency in both gaayaki and tantrakaari styles of playing, Ajay’s fingers on the flute created music in unison with Gurbani’s piano.

Talking about jugalbandi, Gurbani says, “Jugalbandi gives a new aspect to classical music because they are the roots of music. Every song is based on ragas and the jugalbandi makes it more beautiful.”

An audience at the event, Ranjit Kaur said, “The performance is excellent and I just don’t feel like leaving the auditorium. Both the artistes are marvellous and beyond expectation in their own way.”

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