Maestros share a stage

Maestros share a stage

Ustad Balekhan’s Memorial Trust, Bengaluru, recently presented a tribute concert called Smarane in the revered memory of late sitar nawaz Ustad Balekhan on the occasion of his 70th birth anniversary.
 
JSS Auditorium resounded with the praise of audience members during the mohan veena recital by internationally renowned Grammy awardee Pandit Vishwamohan Bhat and a Hindustani vocal recital by Shrinivas Joshi, son and disciple of the legendary Pandit Bhimsen Joshi.

Ustad Balekhan belonged to the illustrious family of sitar ratna Rahimat Khan, who was known for his ‘singing sitar’.

He was an A-grade artiste of All India Radio and Doordarshan and was a staff artiste of Akashwani Dharwad from 1973 to 2002.

He was a reputed member of the Karnataka Sangeet Nritya Academy and gave several concerts in Bangalore, where he won the acclaim of music lovers.
He and the sitarists of his family have immensely contributed towards popularising the instrument in South India.  

The concert began with sharado sthuti by Anisaa, Ustad Balekhan’s daughter, who was accompanied by Shailesh Shenoy on tabla. When Shrinivas Joshi took the stage, the packed auditorium waited silently for his delivery of musical brilliance.

He began his recital with a raga maru bihag and sang three compositions in ek taal and teen taal.

He also sang a thumri in raga mishra kafi and was ably supported on harmonium by Vyasamurthy Katti and on tabla by Prashant Pandav.This was followed by the much-awaited performance by Pandit Vishwamohan Bhat on the self created mohan veena. After saying a few words about his association with and feelings for Ustad Balekhan, he began his recital with raga miya ki malhar.

 The melodies from his strings emerged beautifully and won over each listener’s heart.
He continued with the raga gaud malhar, raamdasi malhar and raga bihag and even sang a few compositions while playing.


He was well accompanied by another great tabla maestro from the Banaras gharana, Pandit Raamkumar Mishra.


“After a very long time, I was able to attend a well-organised and excellent music programme. The quality of music produced by both the artistes was a treat to hear. I am really glad I attended and I’m looking forward to many more such concerts in the future,” says Ganesh Rao, a music lover in the audience.

The entire evening was compered by Shashidhar Nrendra from Dharwad, who kept the spirit of Ustad Balekhan alive with anecdotes about the great musician. Sandhya R, an educator among the crowd, was also impressed by the evening.

“Whether you are a student of music or not, such concerts make you proud of your country’s culture. It is absolutely absorbing and can take you to a whole different world.

To make your own instrument and develop a style around it is not an easy task. I thought Pandit Vishwamohan Bhat was fantastic for pulling that off,” says the mesmerised
Sandhya, after the show.

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