ITC Sangeet Sammelan, Kolkata - December 2016
The 38th ITC Sangeet Sammelan took off on December 2, 2016, with Padma Vibhushan Girija Devi watering a plant as a symbolic gesture to represent nurture and growth. The Academy where raw musical talent is honed to reach perfection engages in teaching as well as promotion of its budding musicians through the annual Sammelan, among other programmes. In her inaugural speech she spoke about ITC’s contribution to the furtherance of the cause of music. Nazeeb Arif, head of Corporate Communications, ITC Ltd, also spoke on the occasion highlighting the role of Academy in creating an infrastructure and ambience for the nurture of Hindustani classical music.
The three evenings that followed were full of music in the green surroundings of the ITC Sangeet Sammelan. The lawns of the institution and every corner of the verdant campus reverberated to the strains of Ragas, with Saturday, December 3, spreading out a night-long feast.
Kaushiki Chakrabarty’s sombre Yaman was followed by a vivaciously delivered Thillana and she ended her performance with a couple of Thumris. Lalita Gauri was sarod exponent Tejendra Narayan Majumdar’s choice to begin his recital. He followed it with the divine Chandranandan presenting a beautiful gat. For the final artiste of the evening, Venkatesh Kumar, it was the majestic Raga Kausi Kanhara. He sang a Thumri afterwards, a Kannada Bhajan, followed by a BHajan in Bhairavi.
The second evening began with an outstanding performance by scholar Alick Sengupta who rendered Shree and Bahar with consummate ease. Carnatic classical music, a regular feature of the ITC Sangeet Sammelans, found suitable expression in the performance of Ranjani and Gayatri, sisters, who regaled the audience with Ragam Tanam Pallavi in Raga Kalyani. They laters sang compositions in Malkauns, Chandrakauns and Bhatiar.
The ITC Sangeet Samman for 2016 was conferred upon Dr N Rajam whose musical notes match with her erudition. She performed a serene Bageshri, rendering it with such great beauty and grace that her audience was charmed.
Raga Jogkauns and Shahana Kanhara were rich and powerful in ITC SRA’s Musician Tutor Kumar Mardur’s very individual style and soaring voice throw. A scion of Karnataka’s Dharwar region, Kumar gave a very fine account of himself to stand out as a performer of outstanding ability.
Also in fine fettle were our Scholars Ratan Bharati, Ayan Sengupta and Paramananda Roy, who performed in a remarkably lively rendering of Chandrakauns and Majh Khamaj.
The Academy’s Musician Tutor Omkar Dadarkar also lived up to his reputation, rendering a soaring jaijaiwanti. His Mishra Kirwani was just as mature and rich. This supremely gifted musician concluded his performance with a Bhajan.
In Shahid Parvez’s masterly treatment Raga Jog and the gat that followed were astonishingly fresh. After he had finished and got up to leave, the audience called him back. He obliged by starting on a keertanang Tagore song that completely stunned the audience and richly revealed what a great musician he is.
Todi was Ajoy Chakrabarty’s choice. A Bhairavi Khayal and another composition followed. He was in fine fettle bringing in a dawn that was full of the light of music.
The final evening of the festival began with a peaceful rendition of Raga Bhoop followed by a Shivaranjani composition by Dhrupad exponent Uday Bhawalkar. The Academy’s Musician Tutor, Abir Hussain, began with Kedara and followed it up with a Pahari. The melody in his sarod playing was amply evident in the performance.
The festival reached a fitting finale with the musicians’ musician Ulhas Kashalkar who began with Kafi Kanhara and followed it up with Pancham ka Malkauns in which he also sang a richly composed tarana. A bandish in Kafi and a Bhairavi Bhajan brought his performance to an end, also drawing the curtain on yet another Sangeet Sammelan.
The footfall was huge. The audience response was exhilarating.
Music and harmony ruled.
The strains of the Ragas will play in the minds of most for a long time to come.