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Mesmerizing Performance

Wednesday, February 27, 2019
By Amarendra Dhaneshwar

'Santoor Ashram' held its annual programme at the plush Veer Savarkar Auditorium last week. It was a well attended programme in which santoor maestro Tarun Bhattacharya and his ace pupil Ranajit Pathak presented a santoor duet of sorts. It was truly a mesmerizing performance. Right from the first stroke they attracted our attention and held it throughout the next 90 minutes. Their chemistry with the tabla accompanists Jyotirmoy was excellent.
The duo played the raga 'Yaman' which offers a vast scope for imagination and extempore creation. Tarun conceived patterns which were appropriately reciprocaated by Ranjeet. The 'meend' which he produces in his alaap section is his own creation, a contribution to the enrichment of the santoor as a musical instrument.Tarun Bhattacharya has been one of India’s most sought after Global Music Ambassador, but some of his enduring legacies for generations to follow sure are worth mentioning. Creating a new Raga is perhaps the pinnacle of any musician’s musical graph and  Tarun Bhattacharya is credited for having created a new Hindustani Classical Raga, Raag Ganga. His ode to Mother of all Rivers, Ganga, it’s height of glory to it’s descent finally merging with the vast ocean and during its course giving life, hope and love all this have been captured in various captivating higher and lower notes and scales. His second major contribution has revolutionized Santoor, the instrument, as well as it’s style of play.

He displayed for the first time ever (1980) that one could 'meend' or glide notes at the lower octave in a hammered instrument like Santoor and his invention of "mankas" or fine tuners helped in the tuning of this 100 stringed instrument fast, with a long lasting effect and a very high degree of accuracy. His innovative techniques of playing the Santoor also facilitates in the playing of "Krintans, Ekharatans, Boltans" broadening the utility of the Santoor in various traditional art forms. He has had the distinction of having performed at the prestigious venues as Royal Albert Hall, Palace-de-beaux (Brussels), Theater- De-La-Viile (France), Apollo Theatre (Spain), Jubilee Auditorium (Canada), Kremlin (Russia). It was indeed a memorable performance by Tarun Bhattacharya.

Pranab Biswas is a pupil of the revered guru the late Nisar Hussain Khan. He later trained under the current star Rashid Khan. He is a product of the Rampur Saheswan gharna. He also trained under the star duo Rajan and Sajan Mishra. Pranab has a fanstastic voice and he sings with a sense of involvement. He sang the raga 'Bageshri' with sensitivity. The consonance between the note komal g and n was superbly handled. Pranab has a very expressive voice.

He also sang a thumri to which tabla accompanist Mukta Raste provided excellent rhythmic dimension. Vinod Padge on the harmonium was also very good in his own way.

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