Realm of Raga and Rhythm | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 31, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 31, 2017

Realm of Raga and Rhythm

Bengal Classical Music Festival concludes on a high note

It was a mesmerising game of melodies incorporating ragas and rhythms that world's finest music maestros presented in the five-day Bengal Classical Music Festival 2017, which wrapped up on a high note early morning today.

The festival, held at the Abahani ground in Dhanmondi, was aimed at promoting, nurturing and disseminating the essence of classical music to every nook and cranny of Bangladesh. This year's festival, organised by Bengal Foundation, was dedicated to eminent educationist, researcher and cultural exponent Professor Emeritus Dr. Anisuzzaman.

The penultimate night of the festival set off with “Nritya Chirantan”, incorporating three forms of classical dances -- Manipuri, Bharatanatyam and Kathak -- by Sweety Das, Amit Chowdhury, Snata Shahrin, Sudeshna Swayamprabha, Mehraj Haque Tushar and Zuairiyah Mouli.

Students of Bengal Parampara Sangeetalay -- Illham Fuljhuri Khan, Ishrat Fuljhuri Khan, Aumbarish Das and Md. Saddam Hussain -- next took the stage and performed Raga Bhopali on sarod. The performance was composed by Pt. Tejendra Narayan Majumdar. Kaushik Mukherjee conducted it while Pinu Sen Das was on tabla.

Pt. Budhaditya Mukherjee plays sitar. Photo: Sheikh Mehedi Morshed

An enticing khayal performance by Padma Shri Ustad Rashid Khan was the next attraction of the night. Khan is thought to be one of the most popular classical music maestros of the present time. With a unique vocal prowess, he equally immerses in the melodic ocean while performing khayal music, light classical and even film songs. He started off with the vilambit ektaal bandish “Piya Guna Banta” and drut teentaal bandish “Mein Tho Kar Aayi Piya Sang Rang Ralian” based on Raga Puriya. Presentation of a drut bandish followed. It was a lifetime experience for the Bangladeshi music connoisseurs to listen to Ustad Rashid Khan's own creation Raga Priyaranjani, an intermingling of Ragas Madhuvanti and Shivranjani on rupak taal. Diffusing sweet romance in the air, the living legend later rendered a Mishra Pahadi thumri “Baton Baton Mein Beet Gayi Raat” that kept the crowd rapt.  Pt. Subhankar Banerjee on tabla, Ajay Joglekar on harmonium, Ustad Sabir Khan on sarangi and Nagnath Adgaonkar with vocal support accompanied the maestro.

Pt. Jasraj performs at the festival. Photo: Sheikh Mehedi Morshed

A Hindustani-Carnatic jugalbandi performance of sarod by Pt. Tejendra Narayan Majumdar and violin by Dr. Mysore Manjunath was euphoric. They performed Raga Simhendramadhyamam. Pandit Yogesh Samsi on tabla and Arjun Kumar on mridangam accompanied them. The stellar performance turned a friendly blitzkrieg, thanks to the torrential rhythm produced by Pt. Samsi and Arjun Kumar.

Evoking a union of soul, revered khayal maestro Pandit Jasraj performed Raga Jog at the festival. The unmistakable interplay between notes and words to evoke the desired mood and emotion is the hallmark of Pandit Jasraj's music. The octogenarian maestro started off with a vilambit ektaal bandish “Piya Ghar Nahi”. The mythical nuance of Ramayana (Hanuman Bandana) was the excerpts of his Teentaal Bandish “Hanuman Lala Mere Pyari Lala” performance.

The striking parts of the rendition were his performance of dramatic long tehai, dancing sargam, decorative long taan, bahelawa and a charming repetition of the mukhra of the antara portion with variation of murki. The living legend later performed a Tarana on teentaal, a Deepchandi (14-beat) Bhajan “Bhai Mero Man Bhayo Saware” and his famous Bhimpashree Bhajan “Om Namo Bhagbate Basudebaye”.

Ram Kumar Mishra on tabla, Vidushi Tripti Mukherjee on harmonium, Sridhar Parthasarathy on mridangam and Rattan Mohan Sharma with vocal support, accompanied the performance.

The mellow performance of the Indian cello by Saskia Rao de-Haas reached crescendo while she was playing the melodies of Tagore songs “Phul-e Phul-e Dhol-e Dhol-e” and “Jodi Tor Daak Shune Keu Na Ashe”. She started off with playing Raga Nandkauns and later played a traditional Bandish on Raga Kirwani. Pt. Yogesh Samsi accompanied her on tabla.

Pandit Budhaditya Mukherjee wrapped the night's musical proceedings with playing a Gayaki-ang sitar set on Raga Lalit. He aesthetically elaborated the recital with alap, jod and jhala. Offering of a blissful Bhairavi dhun followed.

Pandit Budhaditya Mukherjee, with his adorable recital mesmerised the audience generating the Rasa of both bliss and melancholy.

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