Parveen Sultana Draws the Crowds on Day 6 of Saptak

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Parveen Sultana Draws the Crowds on Day 6 of Saptak

| Updated: January 7, 2024 15:18

Parveen Sultana Draws the Crowds on Saptak

Dibeyendu Ganguly

The late-night slot at the Saptak Music Festival was once considered the prestige slot, reserved for the top stars. In times gone by, the last concert of the day would go on till the wee hours of the morning, with die hard classical music fans loyally staying on till the very end. This seems to be changing. It is now the second slot, starting at 10 pm, that draws the largest audience. Saptak’s organisers seem to recognise this and the top billed artist of the evening is increasingly in the second slot. Ustad Shujaat Khan, who was originally supposed to play in the last slot on Sunday, has now been moved to the second slot.

On Saturday, the second slot was reserved for Begum Parveen Sultana and she drew a huge crowd, the largest so far at the 44th Saptak Festival at LD Arts College this year. The celebrated 73-year-old vocalist, who recently recovered from a bout of viral fever, started by wishing the audience the best of health for the New Year. It was a theme she returned to several times during the concert, speaking of how performing artists are particularly vulnerable to the virus, since they travel extensively. “Even today, many artists I know are in hospital with viral infections. Please pray for them with me,” she said.

Accompanied by Mukundraj Deo on the tabla, Shrinivas Acharya on the harmonium, and her daughter Shadab Khan on the tanpura, Begum Parveen Sultana began with Raag Rageshwari and ended the concert with her popular bhajan Bhawani Dayani. This was followed by violin maestro N Rajam playing Raag Darbari, accompanied by her granddaughter Ragini Shankar on the violin and Abhishek Mishra on the tabla.

The first concert of the evening featured Alok and Abhiskek Lahiri on the sarod, accompanied by Sapan Anjaria and Tanay Rege on the tabla. The father-son duo began with Raag Jog and ended with Raag Charukeshi in an enthralling 80-minute performance. The powerful sound of two sarods playing in harmony (along with two sets of tablas) made for some truly joyous music.

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