A classical music odyssey

A classical music odyssey

Capital’s music connoisseurs experienced a perfect moment in the vintage glory of the recently concluded 68th Shriram Shankarlal Music Festival.

The oldest music festival in the country, it lived up to its  rich cultural tradition, drawing from the skills of not only the country’s eminent maestros but also promising young talent. 

The curtains came down on the four-day musical event, at the Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, with a soulful shehnai recital by Sanjeev Shankar and Ashwani Shankar.

Born in a family of musicians of Banaras gharana in which shehnai and flute have been played for the last 450 years and more, Sanjeev and Ashwani enjoyed the tutelage of the legendary sitar maestro Pt. Ravi Shankar. They have represented India on many international platforms.

The performance was followed by a rendition by veteran vocalist Pandit Jasraj, who once again proved that rigorous training, continuous practice and dedication to one’s art can help defy age.

At 83, he retains his charisma and hold over his audiences by offering them melodious music in his tuneful, strong voice. The maestro began his recital with Poorvi, a sampoorna evening raga that employs both the madhyams as well as Komal Rishabh and Komal Dhaivat. Tradition has it that it was the most favourite raga of the legendary sufi seer Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia. 

Vocalist Raghunandan Panshikar’s, presentation of classical ragas and command of semi-classical genres (thumri, ghazal, bhajan, abhang) were a testimony to his versatility among Hindustani vocalists. 

 Shiv Kumar Sharma of the Banaras gharana with creative genius started a new genre of instrumental music. His brilliant performance offered a repertoire of rich knowledge, perfect skill and abundant, spontaneous creativity, which have brought to him a long list of national and international awards like the Padma Vibhushan, Padma Shri, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and Fellowship, Honorary Citizen for the City of Baltimore, USA.

Director of Shriram Bhartiya Kala Kendra (Padma Shri) Shobha Deepak Singh said, “It is the oldest music festival in the country. Although in the beginning it was only senior artistes playing, in 1984 we took a conscious decision to give a chance to senior artistes to perform with the younger artistes. In the process some very renowned concluding artistes have emerged. We have tried to have different tabla players for all and also the accompanying artistes from outside Delhi to impart novelty to the presentations.” 

Padma Vibhushan Hari Prasad Chaurasia’s talent, deep dedication, fine training and years of rigorous riyaz have made him one of the top flautists of the country. The audience was so enthralled by his performance that they gave him a standing ovation. 

Other artistes who performed were Ritesh Mishra, Rajnish Mishra, Tejendra Majumdar, Uday Bhawalkar and Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty. 

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