ITC Sangeet Sammelan, Kolkata - December 2017
The grand celebration of the 40 th anniversary of the ITC Sangeet Research Academy was marked by a very special ITC Sangeet Sammelan this year. The event was dedicated to the memory of Padma Vibhushan Vidushi Girija Devi, Guru of the Academy for 40 years, whose death on October 24 was the end of a significant era in the Academy’s glorious history. The institution that has produced some of the most effective performers of Hindustani classical music today organised a three-day programme that was inaugurated by Mr Sanjiv Puri, CEO and Executive Director, ITC Ltd.
The ITC Sangeet Samman, an annual honour bestowed upon a stalwart musician during this festival, was conferred upon Pandit Venkatesh Kumar. Later in the evening, Pandit Venkatesh Kumar delivered a soulful performance in Behag followed by a Thumri in Durga and a Bhairavi Bhajan. The event began, fittingly, with “A Homage to Appaji”. Offered by four musicians who had been under her tutelage in the Academy, it focused on her incredible musical repertoire, her immense aura as a performer and, most importantly, her pedagogy and communication to her students. Led by Omkar Dadarkar, the homage featured Scholar Sucheta Ganguly, past Scholars Aparajita Lahiri Brahmachari and Shoumi Roy.
The event featured three of the most talented students of the Academy – Musician Scholar Sucheta Ganguly (who performed Yaman and a Des Thumri) and Scholars sitarist Ayan Sengupta (Jog and Sohini) and flautist Paramananda Roy (Yaman). It also had performances by two of the institution’s most accomplished alumni, Ustad Rashid Khan who performed Gorakh Kalyan and two Thumris and Smt Kaushiki Chakrabarty who followed up her Puriya Kalyan with a Thumri is Majh Khamaj. Smt Kala Ramnath delivered an outstanding Jogkauns before, offering her tribute to Vidushi Girija Devi, concluding with a soulful rendition of the Chaiti, “Chaita masa bole re”. Ustad Shahid Parvez’s Bageshri alaap and Rageshri gat were just as enjoyable as his Dhun.
As usual, Carnatic music was robustly represented in the wonderful performance by the very gifted Trichur Brothers and a truly stunning recital presented by Vidushi Sudha Ragunathan. Both delivered remarkable compositions with precision and measured improvisations.
Three Gurus of the Academy, Pandit Uday Bhawalkar, Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty and Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar were in their element in excellent performances. If Malkauns was the choice of Pandit Bhawalkar, Nat Bhairav found felicitous expression in Pandit Chakrabarty’s singing. And it was left to Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar to draw the curtain upon the festival with an unforgettable rendition of Kausi Kanhara which he followed by a short presentation of Sohini and the haunting Bhairavi Thumri ‘Jamuna ke teer’.
The level of accompaniment was astonishingly high with Yogesh Shamsi, Subhankar Banerjee, Abhijit Banerjee, Ashoke Mukherjee and Indranil Bhaduri providing support on the tabla, L Ramakrishnan and Pakkala Ramdas on the violin, Palladam R Ravi and Trichur R Mohan on the mridangam, DV Venkatasubramaniam on the ghatam, Pratap Awad on the pakhawaj, Mural Ali and Sarwar Hussain on the sarangi and Jyoti Goho, Rupashree Bhattacharya and Gourab Chatterjee on the harmonium.