It's a matter of strings

Dynamic duo

It's a matter of strings
Lakshay Mohan and Aayush Mohan make a remarkable pair on stage as these young maestros of sitar and sarod are gradually becoming a much sought after jugalbandi or duet players of classical music. On stage, their vibes appear easy, their demeanour confident without being flamboyant, and their presentation is seeped in seriousness as they carry with them an impressive baggage of gharana lineage.

Having been disciples of the late Pandit Uma Shankar Mishra of the famed Maihar gharana, which has given to Hindustani music the likes of the late Pandit Ravi Shankar and other luminaries, their grounding in the art is impeccable. Currently under the tutelage and guidance of sarod maestro Pandit Tejendra Narayan Majumdar, they capture the attention of the audience right from the start with their depth-filled evocation of the bass notes.

Style of play

Elaborating on their style of play, they enumerate: “Being disciples of the Maihar School of the legendary guru late Baba Allauddin Khan, who pioneered the concept of movement of music in terms of space and time, featuring just a single note of a raga, we have imbibed this technique from our gurus.”

The efficacy of such a technique to create sustainability in the music as well as to steer the play through a course map equipped to maximise playing on the rudra veena and the sarod, the current inheritors of the Maihar art have made the kharaj artistry, their distinguished statement .

Being concert musicians who have to cater to audiences of today, both Lakshay and Aayush Mohan have learnt to create a presentation style that strikes a balance between the various elements of a concert performance. Beginning with a slow-paced vilambit, where they give audiences time to relish the depth of their mastery over their respective instruments, they are known to make a smooth crossover to a faster beat in their compositional choice.

Here too, they have kept their art form well coordinated, preferring to regale audiences with a set of their favourite ragas instead of using the platform for presenting a complexity of avante garde experimentations. “Our favourite choices are the ragas patdeep and bageshri, which have also been played by the late Pandit Ravi Shankar.”

At a time when most concerts are solo performances, these brothers hold their audiences through their well-synchronised duet presentations, where the two of them elaborate raga nuances like naturals, in their dual roles.

Memorable performances

“As we are two musicians who have been trained together right from the beginning, we learnt to understand each other’s mood and can gauge the beauty of the phrases as they are played. We therefore learn to play the beauty of the phrases with some individual twists to them. We also accommodate taan or syllabic passages from a sitar base and as a sarod player, the left hand style of playing is used to accommodate the sitar,” they concur.

Having played at concert platforms worldwide, the duo have developed a preference for some platforms in the large metros. Though they are quick to add that they aspire to play anywhere the audiences show an interest in their art, their favourite Delhi platform is at  Kamani Theatre, due to its technical support and its cultural environment it has.

To bring home the point, they recall that it was at this concert that they had played raga megh for the first time on a public platform, and received wide acclaim from a knowing audience. While talking of concerts abroad, the two recall with fond nostalgia their concert at Abbey Theater in Dublin (Ohio), and playing at a memorial concert at Bengaluru.

Over the years, the duo have realised the efficacy of taking the mike at the start and in between their concerts to engage with their audience, and make them experience the play at a closer level.

With these inputs, both vocal and aural, and judging by the packed schedules they are currently enjoying among music lovers in India and abroad, the duo have created waves on the classical stage.
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