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South Asian Music Festival in full swing

by September 23, 2017 General

Classical music has a timeless appeal and the maestros soulfully serenade the genre to connect souls. To diffuse the eternal melodies beyond borders, Bangladeshi event management company Blues Communications has organised a four day (September 21-24) South Asian Music Festival at MasterCard Theatres, Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Four renowned Bangladeshi artistes are participating in each day of the grand festival with Panchokabi’r Gaan (songs of five certain Bengali poets) sharing the same stage with world-renowned stalwarts. 

Internationally-acclaimed Indian flautist Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia performed melodic prayers and poured his musical blessings on the second day of the festival. The living legend started off with playing Raga Jog. Devotion, love and a melodic connection of souls with the ultimate were beautifully manifested in his recital. The maestro repeatedly showcased the pukar-ang in the recital. Debopriya Chatterjee, Pt Chaurasia’s closest disciple embellished the performance to the fullest accompanying on flute. Pt. Vijay Ghate on tabla assisted in the evocative musical journey. The maestro later recited South Indian Raga Hansadhwani and a folk dhun at the event. 

Bangladeshi artiste Luva Nahid Choudhury was the penultimate performer of the evening. She amazingly rendered several songs composed by Atul Prasad Sen, DL Roy, Rajanikanta Sen and Kazi Nazrul Islam. The singer set off her performance with the song “Abar Tui BaNdhbi Basha” and wrapped up with a soul-searching baitalik number “Amar Poran Kotha Jaye”. In between, she performed thumri-ang song “Tumi Kobe Ashibe” and “Gobhir Raat-e Jagi KhuNji Tomarey”, a composition by our National Poet.

Sitarist Shubhendra Rao — a disciple of Pt. Ravi Shankar, and cellist Saskia Rao, a disciple of Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, styled musical magic with their duet performance. They started off with playing Maihar Gharana-styled recital of Raga Maru Behag, elaborating alap, jod and jhala and concluded their part with presenting Raga Kirwani, a Carnatic Raga that Pt. Ravi Shankar particularly popularized in the North Indian music tradition. The audience enjoyed the performance thoroughly as they blended the melodies of both eastern and western classical music.

Talented vocalist Sawani Shende set off the second day’s event with wonderfully presenting Raga Puria Kalyan. The artiste’s long meend and murki-based performance also had dramatisation in the vistar-ang while performing the vilambit ektaal bandish. Though she presented a short drut bandish on teentaal, she showcased sargam and a-kaar taan, bahelawa and fine raagdari in the tarana performance on the same rhythm. Pt. Ajay Joglekar on harmonium and Ojas Adhiya on tabla accompanied the performance. 

The performance of classical music with Bangla songs is rarely held. Blues Communications previously arranged such a programme at Albert Hall, London in 2016, but not in such a grand scale as they are doing in Singapore. The festival appears a treat to the transnational music lovers living in the city. The festival ends today (September 24) hoping to set sail in another prestigious city of the world next year. Today’s performers include eminent Bangladeshi Tagore exponent Rezwana Chowdhuty Bannya (vocals), Ustad Shujaat Khan (sitar), Vidushi Bombay Jayashri (vocals) and Dr. L Subramaniam (Carnatic violin).