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Barkha Ritu – By Banyan Tree Events

Supriya Newar

Perhaps nowhere in the world have the rains been celebrated via music as they have been in India. Indian classical music has Raags that are especially reserved for the monsoons and hence a musical evening to celebrate every aspect of the rains, is perfectly in order. What made the Banyan Tree Events concert, titled ‘Barkha Ritu,’ an absolute must attend is that it brought two absolute and much loved stalwarts back to the city-stage: Vocalist Padma Shri Pt.Ulhas Kashalkar and Flautist Padma Vibhushan Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia.

Dispensing with long speeches and openings, the much revered ITC Sangeet Research Academy Guru began the evening with a vocal rendition of a bandish in Raag Miyan ki Malhar. Beautifully bringing out every nuance of the drama of rains, Ulhas ji proceeded to deliver both Chota and Bada Khayal, complete with an alaap, vilambit and bandish. Accompanied by two students on the tanpura and Sanjay Adhikari on the tabla, he went on to sing Raag Sohini, a sweet evening Raag of the Marwa Thaat. He concluded the evening and the same raag with a composition by Pt. Kumar Gandharv. The evening was also a tribute to the legendary Pt. Kumar Gandharv.   

The second half of the evening, saw Pt. Chaurasia leave his audience mesmerized. When the organisers revealed his age to be 75, he registered a mild protest claiming to be no older than 57! Accompanied by his student Debopriya Chatterjee, who had flown in all the way from Muscat to be a part of the evening, Pt. Chaurasia chose to perform the rare Raag Malhar Saarang and the evergreen Raag Desh. Though his hands did seem to be quivering, his breath never once failed to strike the right notes and create soulful music.

Known to bring live performances ‘alive’, Banyan Tree will return to the city later this year with their flagship Sufi evening, Ruhaniyat at Tollygunge Club.