Cultural ethos of India rings out in its music

Santoor Recital

In raga Rageshree the rendition of a brief aalap and jod followed by a gat in ektaal made way for the bandish Phoolwan ke mala and the notes echoed in the environment.

Artiste Abhay Rustum Sopori presenting these melodious tunes left the audience overwhelmed during the concert of santoor and ensemble – ‘Irfaan - the ecstasy’.  

Organised as part of Lalit Kala Akademi’s 60th anniversary celebrations, the musical evening at Kamani Auditorium witnessed a mesmerising performance by santoor player and music composer Abhay Rustum Sopori.

Shripad Naik, Minister of Culture and Tourism, inaugurated the evening which marked the commencement of the celebrations with an art exhibition from the collection of the Akademi. The exhibition showcased different perspectives of artists on India .The inaugural event was followed by a musical concert by Abhay Rustum Sopori who commenced with raga Rageshree and soon presented a Sufiana tarana Ta nom ta dare dim dim in teen taal and gat in atidrut teen taal. 

He presented a few nuances of ‘Sopori Baaj’ – a style created by the music maestro Pt Bhajan Sopori that incorporates the essential technical nuances of both the gayaki (vocal) and tantrakari (instrumental). Angs (aspects) such as meend, gamak, glides, taan, bol, chhand and laya patterns were also explored by him as he was accompanied by Ustad Akram Khan on tabla and a music ensemble featuring 25 artistes on different instruments.

Sopori’s solo performance was followed by a composition ‘Devotional Bliss’ which carried the message of the Shaivaite and Sufi thought – ‘Submission to the Ultimate in love’. The composition portrays the joyful spirit of the Kashmiri culture and starts with a Nasar – that marks the opening recitation for a Sufiana muquam followed by a Lal Wakh, the recitation of Laleshwari, the great Sufi saint poetess of Kashmir where she says:

With a rope of loose-spun thread am I towing my boat upon the sea.Would that God heard my prayer and brought me safe across.

Like water in cups of unbaked clay, I run to waste.

Would God I were to reach my home.

Sopori concluded his performance with a final composition ‘Irfaan – the Ecstasy’. The composition took the audiences on a journey of India through the notes of santoor and few Indian percussion instruments. Based on a classical raga, the composition is popular in both the Hindustani and Carnatic music genres.

 The variegated mood of the raga that acquired an identity through the notes of the santoor and some ethnic notes of drums contained few enchanting syllables that have been played since the beginning of Indian classical music’s history. These notes though modern, yet followed a traditional pattern to present the cultural ethos of India and its music. The composition finally reached a crescendo with scintillating rhythmic and melodic variations.

The evening concluded with a performance by Mahua Mukherjee and her troupe, who presented Gaudiya Nritya, a classical dance from Bengal.c

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