The sounds and sights of the standing ovation at Ragmala’s sold out season opener concert in April are still vivid in my memory. After Ashwini Bhide ji set the bar so high in that concert by giving the listeners an unparalleled experience of the rare Behagda and sweet Chandrakauns and of course, with a perfect punctuation with Saiyan nikas gaye main na khadi thi in Bhairavi, our patrons cannot wait to come back to another amazing evening of musical journey. To regale the audience this time with scintillating notes of Sarod, we have invited the jewel of Senia Maihar gharana, Pandit Tejendra Narayan Majumdar.
Pandit ji’s interest in classical music and Sarod was heavily influenced by his grandfather with whom he spent with significant time growing up. Later, his formal training began with Ustad Bahadur Khan who took six months to agree to take him under his tutelage and that gave pandit ji the strong foundation in classical music and Sarod became his inseparable identity. In a Rajya Sabha TV interview, Pandit ji shared that it was his determination to learn that took him across the seven seas many years later, couple of times a year only to study under Baba Ali Akbar Khan. With the busy schedule of Khan Sahib’s performance tours, Pandit ji would find every opportunity to learn from his guru before and after the concert. No wonder, when Pandit ji plays sarod in dhrupad and khayal gayaki style one cannot help but notice the presence of the rich tantrakari of maihar Gharana as well.
Recognition came as early as in 1981, when he stood first in the All India Radio Music Competition and was awarded the President’s Gold Medal and the Pandit D.V. Paluskar Award. Thenceforth, he did not have to look back and has performed and gained recognition in 4 continents. Pandit ji also performed in the 50th Independence Day Celebration of India in New York, USA, at World Trade Centre (the historic Twin Towers) on 15th August, 1997.
With such an illustrious education, training and career, Pandit ji is certain to cast his spell on our audience with the mellow, emotion-charged melody of his sarod, steeped in the essence of the raga and spiced up with thrillingly intelligent mathematical permutations of rhythm-play.
On this special evening, Pandit ji will be accompanied on tabla by no less celebrated and accomplished artist, Pandit Subhankar Banerjee whose musical initiation and journey were rather unusual considering that he does not come from a family of musicians.
Pandit Banerjee is a long-time disciple of Swapan Shiva of the Farrukhabad gharana. Additionally he studied for several years with Pandit Manik Das of the Benares gharana. He studied Pandit Birju Maharaj for a long time before performing with him. This practice of keenly observing and following several artists resulted into the amalgam that has come to known as the unique style of Pandit Banerjee. His formidable command over the instrument and unique style of playing has set a trend amongst music lovers and connoisseurs all around the world.
This collaboration of the two artists will not be their first. They performed together in March last year in Rajasthan, India and gave a very memorable concert.
The sarod, a plucked, fretless lute, emerged in the 19th century as a modification of the rabab, an Afghan folk instrument and is known for a deep, weighty, introspective sound. In the Indian cinema, Sarod is often used, especially in early years, to elevate the mood of a film scene. A scene depicting an act of persuasion can feel and appear even more convincing and real if it rides on the wave of a Bageshree on Sarod. An attentive listener can experience both the pain of Pilu and the mist of Malhaar from this instrument very profoundly. To find out which one will you get to listen, or something in between or beyond, do not forget to get your tickets soon for this concert –
When and where?
Saturday, June 15th at 7pm
Aga Khan Museum Auditorium
Raag-Mala Toronto volunteer