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Italian Sarodiya Mesmerizes

Wednesday, January 03, 2018
By Amarednra Dhaneshwar

Musical instruments are migratory in nature, say ethno musicologists. This is of course true. The harmonium, which was invented by a Frenchman in 1840s, arrived soon in India and then captured the imagination of Indians even though the West had long discarded it. The violin which was an essentially Italian invention, was adopted by the musicians in South India and they played it with such virtuosity that even the world class violin virtuoso like Yehudi Menuhin was throughly impressed. The sarod, which has originated in Afhganistan, traveled to India along with the horse traders and continues to hold its sway as a major plucked instrument for more than two centuries . The sarod with its deep and full bodied sound catches and compels instant attention. When played with good command of swara, laya and an understanding of the raga, the sarod music is invariably soothing.

Music lovers who had gathered in large numbers on Christmas morning at the Bandra Tajmahal Tea House, were held spellbound by sarod player Ricardo Battaglia. Ricardo who hails from Ravenna in Italy, is a multi-instrumentalist and a composer. He has trained there undre Tomaso Lama and Gibralto Capelli. He began training in Hindustani sarod music under the veteran Pradeep Barot of the Maihar gharana. He has been learning and playing the sarod for well over 17 years. It was appropriate that on a Christmas day, Battaglia was playing raga music at a music hub located in a Christian locality. He played two major ragas. The first one was 'Bhatiyar' with the second being 'Bairagi'. His grip over the raga material was near perfect and could easily evoke the mood associated with them through his sure and firm strokes. He also played a 10-beat jhap taal composition in 'Bhairavi'. It was gratifying to note the overall fluency with which a person born in Italy could produce Hindustani music. He was accompanied with distinction on the tabla by Tejovrush Joshi. He is a young tabla player who has a great future ahead. Tajmahal Tea House deserve compliments for this remarkable initiative.

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