Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan, the sitar wizard who dominated the music scene, together with Vilayat Khan and Ravi Shankar, the other two giants of sitar music, passed away in January this year. He has left behind his able disciples, his son Zunain and a rich treasure of recordings which will continue to regale music lovers and inspire the aspiring sitar players. A grand programme was held to pay a tribute to his memory at the plush Manik Sabhagruh, at Bandra Reclamation last Saturday.
Shekhar Sen, the chief of Sangeet Natak Academy presided over the function. A video CD containing an elaborate interview with the maestro has been prepared by the Sangeet Natak Academy and was screened for the first time at this function. Nayan Ghosh, sitar and tabla maestro has done the interview, which evoked a round of applause by the audience. Sen paid a glowing tribute to Khansaheb in his short and sweet speech.
Ashwini Bhide, the numero uno female vocalist of our times performed on this occasion. She sang the raga 'Poorva' which is rarely heard. There was an element of sincerity and intensity in her alaaps which transfixed the audience. Her taans had a lot of effervescence. She also sang a short composition in the raga 'Nanddhwani' which is a cute combination of 'Nand' and 'Hansdhwani'. She was supported on the tabla by Vishwanath Shirodkar and on the harmonium by Seema Shirodkar. Bhajan Sopori, a top notch santoor player of the country, also performed at the event. He played the ragas 'Gavati' and 'Champakali' in a style which truly captivated the listeners.