The 43rd edition of the Saptak Annual Music Festival took off in high gear on Sunday, with a dazzling performance from Parveen Sultana. The Padma Vibhushan awardee was in full flow with her rendering of the ever-popular Rag Jog, followed by a Bandish Thumri. The vocalist was very ably accompanied by Akram Khan on the tabla and Dr Vinay Mishra on the harmonium.
Begam Parveen kept up a light banter with the audience and the sound technicians all through the performance, which continued well past midnight. “I have been associated with Saptak for so long, this is almost like my second home,” she said.
Saptak has returned with a bang, after a rather dull revival in 2022, when the audience was sparse and the festival itself had to abandoned and moved on-line because of a resurgence of Covid. People turned out in numbers on the first day of the New Year and the spacious LD Arts College venue was at least two-thirds full.
The first performance of the evening was by Saptak’s own Anuj Anjaria on the santoor, an apt start since this year’s festival is dedicated to santoor maestro Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, who passed away in May last year. Referred to a rising star in the world of classical music, Anuj Anjaria played Rag Kaushik Kannada, accompanied by Sapan Anjaria on the tabla.
The second performance of the evening was by Ustad Amaan Ali Bangash, who performed his version of Rag Bihag on the sarod, accompanied by Pandit Vijay Ghate on the tabla. Resplendent is a purple silk kurta, Amaan has a charismatic stage presence (much like his father Amjad Ali Khan) and captivated the Ahmedabad audience in the course of his hour-long performance.