Clockwise from top left: Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, A rapt audience, Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar, Pandit Kumar Bose, Alif Laila. Photo: ATL Aakash
The four nightlong 'Bengal ITC SRA Classical Music Festival 2012' wrapped up on a high note on December 2. The festival, aiming to promote, practise and disseminate the essence of classical music to every nook and corner of Bangladesh, was held at Bangladesh Army Stadium in Dhaka. Arranged by Bengal Foundation and ITC Sangeet Research Academy (SRA), the festival had Prothom Alo as the strategic partner and The Daily Star as partner. Maasranga Television was the broadcast partner of the festival.
Dhaka music enthusiasts and connoisseurs made the festival a grand success with their enthusiastic presence, from dusk to dawn, four nights on a row.
On the last day, accomplished vocalist Brajeswar Mukherjee enthralled the audience with a khayal set on Raga Marubehag. Indranil Bhaduri produced a tabla lahora on teen taal during the performance.
Noted Bangladeshi artiste Alif Laila presented a dhun based on Raga Desh. The compositions (on vilambit ek taal and teen taal) were created by Ustad Allauddin Khan; the entire festival was dedicated to his memory. Laila's performance reflected her deep commitment to music. Bangladeshi flautist Murtaza Kabir presented a dhun based on Raga Bhupali.
Chairman of Bengal Foundation, Abul Khair, thanked everyone associated with the festival. He also hoped to organise more such festivals in the days ahead. Executive director of Kolkata ITC-SRA, Ravi Mathur, thanked the Dhaka audience for the remarkable enthusiasm they demonstrated.
Deputy leader of the Bangladesh Parliament, Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, graced the concluding programme as chief guest, while Cultural Affairs Minister of Bangladesh, Abul Kalam Azad, was present as special guest.
â€œOrganising such festivals is prerequisite to creating new audiences,â€ said Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury.
â€œSuch a festival of classical music will herald better days of Bangla music,â€ said Abul Kalam Azad.
Editor of Prothom Alo, Matiur Rahman, said, â€œThe impressive turnout at this festival has proven that Bangladesh has developed a discerning taste and can appreciate high art.â€ Managing director of Maasranga Television, Anjan Chowdhury, said, â€œHolding such festivals would further strengthen the fraternal bridge between Bangladesh and India.â€
Abul Khair presented festival crests to the guests and the partners.
As a mark of appreciation of their contributions to popularisation of traditional music in Bangladesh, eminent Nazrul Sangeet artiste and Editor of Star Arts and Entertainment, Sadya Afreen Mallick, presented bouquets to the organisers of the festival. She also received the festival crest conferred on The Daily Star.
Following the formal ceremony, renditions started again. Vidushi Aruna Sayeeram performed Carnatic khayal set on Raga Malkaunsh. An unfamiliar rhythm and symphony cast a spell on the audience as the rendition was accompanied with mridangam, ghatam and violin. The artiste also presented a devotional Bangla song, â€œJago Tumi Jago Obhoyo Shoktiâ€.
Pandit Rajan Mishra and Pandit Sajan Mishra performed a khayal set on Raga Nayki Kanara. The vilambit and drut bandish of the raga was based on vilambit ektaal and madhyalaya teentaal. The audience thoroughly enjoyed the dhrupad-aang bistaar, the wonderful sargam bistaar and gamaki aakar taan by the brothers. Their music sounded divine when the maestros effortlessly used all the notes of the four octaves. The duo presented another khayal on Raga Sohini and a bhajan set on kirwani. Pandit Kumar Bose generated apt rhythms on his tabla while Rupashree Bhattacharya was on harmonium during the performance.
Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia presented alaap and gaut on Raga Marubehag. The master flautist performed a mellifluous dhun set on Raga Hansadhwani. The composition, set on Panjabi teen taal, was created by Ustad Aman Ali Khan. Subhankar Banerjee produced â€œtumâ€ on his tabla that seemed like lightening.
And last but not the least, Chaurasia performed a pahadi dhun on dadra. The piece articulated imagery of spring in the hills where pining for a loved one echoes.
Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar was the last performer of the festival. The maestro first performed a khayal set on Raga Mian Ki Todi and later presented a meditative bandish based on Bhairavi.
The festival ended, but notes linger on and so does the euphoric memories. Dhaka music aficionados will eagerly wait for the next classical music fest.