Chandrashekhar Rele literally lived music and died with music on his lips.
We have heard of Abdul Karim Khan, the legendary founder of the Kirana gharana who breathed his last singing the raga Darbari way back in 1937. Khan was headed towards Chennai and began to get a pain in the chest while he was on his journey. He got down midway at Singruali station and took off the cover of his tanpura. As he began strumming it, the soft strains of the raga Darbari emitted from his voice and he quietly took leave of this world.
Something similar happened to Rele two years ago. He was giving a demonstration on ragas at a Walkeshwar flat under the auspices of Samvad Foundation. He sang the raga Hameer with gusto and went on to talk about and demonstrate the element of Gaud in Hameer with his usual passion. And he simply collapsed and never recovered. I was a witness to his untimely death and I have always thought that it was a glorious and befitting end to a musician's life.
Rele passed away two years ago. Those who have benefited from his guidance and have trained with him decided to pay a tribute to his memory by holding a music festival of morning ragas.
The first session was held last Sunday wherein Bhupal Panashikar and Kedar Bodas performed. Panashikar who is a trained sitarist has now decided to concentrate more on vocal music. His father Dinkar Panashikar is a veteran singer of the Jaipur Attrauli gharana.
Bodas who has trained with his father Narayan as well as with veterans. His khyal had an easy pace and it was full of familiar embellishments that one associates with the Gwalior gharana.
Makarand Kundle and Prafulla Athalye gave superb support on the tabla and the harmonium.
Violinist Sunita Bhuyan charmed with her presence and with her sweet music under the auspices of Udayan. Her new CD Bihu Strinjgs produced by Times Music was launched by Kalpana Lajmi and Sunita played the raga Hamsadhwani with artistry. She also played Vaishnav Jan To in Khamaj and a Bhoopali based composition by the late Bhupen Hazarika .It was a wonderful performance aided by superb tabla support given by Bhushan Parchure.