An intimate recital of bansuri and violin

(Desi News May 2016)

“Sitting this close, I could tell you were seeing my musical soul – so, in turn I had no choice but to see yours.” Those words were said to me by Arati Ankalikar-Tikekar after a baithak that I was privileged enough to attend last May.

Indian classical music for the last 50 years or so in North America has enjoyed a healthy career in concert halls and auditoriums but is now enjoying a renaissance in the kinds of venues where it is best enjoyed – small, intimate spaces that offer unpatrolled access and communication between artist and listener.

It is this type of intimacy that Raag-Mala Music Society of Toronto hopes to bring to its June 5th concert featuring Pandit Pravin Godkhindi (Bansuri), Shri Ratish Tagde (Violin) and Ramdas Palsule (Tabla).

An intimate recital of bansuri and violin

What makes this concert truly exciting and really an exquisite gift for GTA audiences is the pairing of the violin and flute in a rarely heard jugalbandhi or duet.

It is always fascinating to hear a passionate conversation or debate between two experts on the same subject, especially when the respective parties have learned about the subject in question from different sources.  A musical dialogue is no different – both musicians are intricately familiar with the raag but have learned different approaches to illustrate its appearance.  It’s this on-the-spot discovery that makes a jugalbandhi in a baithak style setting so incredibly thrilling.

“Presenting artists in an intimate setting is something that we try to do every year“, explains Raag Mala President Mohamed Khaki.  “While it’s not always possible to bring the environment of someone’s home to a professional theatre, smaller, more intimate venues like the Glenn Gould Studio or the MiST Theatre at the Mississauga campus of the University of Toronto are the next best venues to hold more intimate recitals.”

While Ramdas Palsule has performed many times on the Raag-Mala stage, Godkhindi and Tagde are appearing for the first time in Toronto. These artists are very well known in India, and are in much demand in the festival circuit.

“We try to bring artists who have not previously performed in Toronto”, says Khaki, pointing to the highly successful April concerts at the Aga Khan Museum featuring Anupama Bhagwat on sitar and the vocalist Waseem Ahmed Khan. “It is exciting to bring them to an audience where they are still relatively new discoveries”.

While the legends and stalwarts will always be a part of the fabric of Raag Mala, as an organization we make sure that we also feature the up-and-comers – the legends of tomorrow.”

Come and see these future legends on June 5th and be a part of the musical conversation known as jugalbandhi.

By Michael O’Hara