Spread over 13 days, Saptak is one of India’s longest classical music festivals and it requires some stamina to attend every performance, which is sometimes hard to come by, especially given the cold late-night weather. After reaching a peak on Tuesday, the third day, which saw the parking lot at LD Arts College reach full capacity, obliging attendees to park on the road outside, the numbers fell off on Wednesday. But those who did attend were treated to a masterly performance by Pandit Sajan Mishra, who sang three compositions based on Raag Bageshri, accompanied by Swaransh Mishra.
Earlier famous as half of the Rajan and Sajan Mishra musical ensemble, Pandit Sajan, 66, has made a comeback after the Covid-related death of his elder brother by teaming up with his son. “I’ve been coming to Saptak for 35 years and this is the first time I am performing without my elder brother Rajan. I have been singing with Swaransh for just over a year now,” he said. The father-son duo was accompanied by Rajesh Mishra on the tabla and Dharamnath Mishra on the harmonium.
The second performance of the evening featured Pandit Debojyoti Bose on the sarod, accompanied by Pandit Kumar Bose on the tabla. Clad in bright orange kurtas with red and green shawls, they made for a striking visual presence on stage. Their Raag of choice was Raag Vachaspati, which Ustad Debojyoti Bose dedicated to the late Pandit Rajan Mishra.
The evening began with a sitar recital by Mohammed Arsalaan Khan, playing Raag Jhinjhoti, accompanied by Hemant Joshi on the tabla. The young sitarist then switched to playing the role of support vocalist to his father, vocalist Ustad Shaukat Hussain Khan. The father-son duo performed Raag Chandrakaus, followed by two lively semi-classical Dadras. “I have performed at Saptak over 30 times and I take care to see that I don’t sing the same Raag twice,” said Ustad Shaukat.
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