Who says classical music concerts need to be serious affairs? The performances on the third day of the Saptak Musical Festival at Ahmedabad’s LD Arts College on Wednesday were delightfully entertaining, with the performers seemingly enjoying themselves as much as the audience.
The first performance, featuring Pandit Puran Maharaj and Prashant Sharma in a tabla-pakhawaj duet set the tone. The duo kept up a light banter through the 40-minute performance, poetically comparing the sounds of percussion to the sound of the rain falling on lotus leaves and narrating stories from mythology where Maharishis and Gods played the mridangam or pakhawaj. The affable Pandit kept referring to his younger co-player (who he had first met in Ahmedabad four years ago) as “khatarnak” and a tough one to be playing a duet with. The duo was accompanied by Saptak’s own Shishir Bhatt on the harmonium.
Next on stage was Satyasheel Deshpande who presented a series of semi-classical bandishes in Raag Madhuvanti by his guru, the Late Kumar Gandharva. This year’s Saptak Festival is dedicated to Pandit Kumar Gandharva and Ustad Amir Khan and in the course of his performance, the 73-year-old vocalist regaled the audience with stories from the life of his guru, saying he was “at a musical age of 70 when he was only 40.” After some lively bandish compositions, Pandit Deshpande ended with a bhajan.
The third concert was by sarod maestro Amaan Ali Bangash, the star performer of the evening. Clad in a dazzling purple silk kurta, Aman Ali performed Raag Rageshree with Pandit Kumar Bose on the tabla. The two share a great rapport and their concert radiated energy.
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