ITC SRA Arpan Festival, Kolkata - 1st & 2nd October 2016
Durga symbolises ‘Shakti’ or Strength. She is the embodiment of the divine feminine energy and power. Therefore, it was in the fitness of things, that ITC Sangeet Research Academy’s Arpan Festival on 1st and 2nd October featured some of the country’s topmost women performers alongside some of the younger ones.
This year's Arpan Festival also marked an important milestone for ITC SRA in terms of the Beta launch of the ITC SRA website, www.itcsra.org, which has been revamped to strengthen ITC SRA's digital presence and to provide users with a highly illustrative and browser friendly musical surfing experience. With much more accessibility and several interactive elements in its overhauled version, the new web portal is expected to open up the doors of the institution to the world of musicians, music researchers and connoisseurs at large.
Sabina Mumtaz Islam Rahman, an alumnus of the Academy, opened the festival with a sensitive rendering of Raga Puriya followed by Shankara. She finished her performance with a Dadra, a form in which she excels. Flautist Debopriya Chatterjee Ranadive delivered a fine Bageshri before moving on to a poignant Mishra Piloo.
The leading light of the evening was of course the 87-year-old Vidushi Girija Devi. Whether it was in her Kedara, her Mishra Khamaj bandish, Dadra or her Bhajan, she displayed the unmistakable signs of a master musician whose lustre age cannot wither.
On the Day 2 of the festival Sucheta Ganguly presented an effortless Yaman and Kajri. She was in fine fettle, allowing her powerful voice to soar and glide in melodic rapture. Debasmita Bhattacharya seized the opportunity to offer an excellent Raga Durga. Her Mishra Majh Khamaj to follow was also laudable.
The event concluded with Vidushi Aruna Sairam’s performance in the Carnatic style. With an unerring finger on the audience’s pulse, she brought in rhythmic variations executed with the help of her Ghatam and Mridangam percussionists and melodic thrill supported by her violinist. Whether it was in her presentations in Amrit Varshini and Anand Bhairavi, her Ragam Tanam Pallavi and Thillana, or in her impassioned rendering of ‘Jago tumi Jago’, she stayed connected with her audience from beginning to end.