Tuesday, March 06, 2007


[Image courtesy = www.dbtpl.com]

An evening of perfection

An evening of mastery

An evening of pure magic!

I expect no lesser in a jugalbandi between Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, sarod Maestro, and Ustad Zakir Hussain, tabla virtuoso. Cheap tickets never get good seats, and a cash crunch negates expensive tickets. 2nd March brings "The Tribute to Bangalore" concert.. Chaotic traffic and poor parking arrangements are the venue’s decorations, but once inside the mind is set to rest. The venue is large, and the stage well decorated though it could’ve been better considering the magnitude of this performance. People from all walks of life seem to have gathered – from the evidently upper bracket to the middle class. From curious adventuress to hardcore music lovers. Indians, Europeans, Kenyans – a motley group of interested people. Seated at the rear end of the venue, I strain my burdened eyes to see the giants of classical Indian music look like tiny figures. It is small comfort to have giant screens with blown up pictures

[Image courtesy = www.drummerworld.com]

The emcee goofs up a little, but otherwise does a good job at the introduction of the maestros. Ustad Zakir Hussain, in his own inimitable humorous style keeps peeking into the emcee’s notes!!! Ustad Amjad Ali explains how both haven’t had the time to rehearse their show, how they shall play according to each other [a gift of years of dedication & practice] – hence the amalgam music produced is birthed only once and never repeated. The perfect symphony between the two is the stuff of legends. The beautiful rendition surprisingly sounds like impending doom, melancholy, the advent of monsoon and joy all at once. The snail paced compositions pick up tempo to reach a frenzied crescendo. Sure, for a carnatic music ignoramus like me, it is tough to tell one composition from the other but surprisingly, I find myself swaying to this form of music too.. Whenever the performance begins to get monotonous, the Ustads conjure a magic-trick from their infinitesimal repertoire that has us cheering and applauding with gay abandon. Some of the raags performed are Raag Kirwani, Raag Saraswati, Raag Zilahari [for the festival of colors, Holi], Raag Kamal Shree [dedicated to late Rajiv Gandhi] and my selfishly personal favorite – Raag Durga, one which I have sung in school a long, long time ago.

“Ghir ghir aaye kaare kaare baadal,

Sakhi mohey chain na aaye piya bin.

Kaise jaaoo main piya se Milan ko.

Ghir ghir aaye kaare kaare baadal”

It is pure bliss to sit there and imbibe the renditions. Three hours pass by quickly in a haze of bliss & wide-eyed wonder. Maybe it has been too much for me and I stand with a raging headache. In spite of the hammering in my head, there is no denying wizardry of the Ustads, and they have me in their thrall. A hearty dinner of parathaas is followed by deep slumber, graciously interrupted by memories of melodies played earlier….

1 comment:

  1. aah... these guys never fail to impress. took me back a long ago when i had the pleasure of attending a world music concert in mumbai when these geniuses had performed with a jazz ensemble! and they rocked and how!!! wow!!