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The Doyen Reigns Supreme

Wednesday, November 28, 2018
By Amarendra Dhaneshwar

It was indeed a rare opportunity for music lovers of this mega city. The 60th Swami Haridas Sangeet Sammelan hosted by the Sur Singar Samsad and Bhavan's Cultural Centre revived the memories of the grand old days when this Sammelan was the one and the only big music festival regularly held in Bombay. 'Sangeetdas' Brijnarayan was the prime mover of the festival which invited talented musicians from all over the country. Many musicians who were unknown or little known earlier got their first exposure at the Haridas Sammelan and they later went on to become stars. One can easily cite the examples of present day maestros like  Shivkumar Sharma and Jasraj among them. This year, the festival was held at the quadrangle of the Sardar Patel College of Engineering and it drew a good suburban crowd. Well known performers from all over the country gave sterling performances which delighted the audience.

We had the opportunity to listen to a quality performance by the Gwalior gharana maestro Lasmanrao Pandit. He is regarded as the 'khalifa' or the unquestioned heir of the pure Gwalior tradition. He is the son and pupil of the great Krishnarao Shankar Pandit who was a titanic figure in the world of music. The Pandits of Gwalior received authentic education from the originators of the Khyal style and they transmitted it to their disciples. Laxmanrao belongs to the third generation of the Pandit family and he too is now well past 80. The depth and the range of his voice is something to marvel at. It is at once communicative and vibrant. It resonates in the lower octave and sounds like an earnest 'pkar' in the upper octave.

He sang the raga "Bageshri' in this programme. The composition 'Kaun Gat Bhayee' was set to slow ek taal. The sentiment of separation which is inherent in the composition was expressed through long and teasing meends or tonal curves by the doyen. He also sang a wonder ful tarana which was full of rustic vigour. Bhaiyya Ganpatrao, one of the Princes of the Gwalior ruling family was a creative musician whose compositions are still loved by music lovers. Laxmanrao sang one such composition in the raga 'Dhani'. it was a thumri set to the 16 beats.Ajay Joglekar on the harmonium and Abhay Datar on the tabla lent superb support.

The evening began with a tabla duet by Nayan Ghosh and his son Ishan Ghosh. The duo literally brought the house down with their power packed performane.Ishan Ghosh is certainly a talent to be watched. He will certainly scale new heghts in the years to come.

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