The penultimate night (September 23) of the maiden South Asian Music Festival, held at MasterCard Theatres, Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, set off with the wonderful performance of Tagore songs by eminent Bangladeshi exponent Laisa Ahmed Lisa, who melodically rendered several numbers including “Je Raat-e Mor Duarguli Bhanglo Jhor-e” (based on Raga Bageshree), “Haye Ke Dibe Ar Shantona”, “Ami Tokhono Chhilem Mogono Gohono” and a baitalik (without rhythm) song “Shudhu Tomar Bani Noygo Hey Bondhu Hey Priyo”. The artiste truly touched the hearts of the audience as they candidly gave a standing ovation following her performance. Iftekhar Alam Pradhan on tabla and Asit Biswas on esraj accompanied her on stage.
Promising Indian violinist Deepak Pandit was next to take the stage. He with the talented tabla maestro Ojas Adhiya set sail on an evocative musical journey. The melodic sync between them took the music lovers to a transcendental state of bliss. Their sawal-jawab styled recital was based on Raga Kirwani (alap, jod, jhala and gaut on madhyala teentaal). Deepak's second presentation was rather mellifluous as he wove melodies of Malhar, a combination of more than 10 ragas.
Talented sitarist Niladri Kumar paired with tabla maestro Pt. Vijay Ghate to play a majestic Raga, Kaushik Dhwani. Niladri and Vijay Ghate entertained the audience with their aesthetic scores of musical phrases.
Legendary Kathak maestro Pt. Birju Maharaj was the highlight of the evening. A leading exponent and torchbearer of the Kalka-Bindadin Gharana of Lucknow, he is the only son and disciple of Achhan Maharaj, who wrote over 5000 thumri, dadra and bhajan. Maharaj, with his senior most disciple Saswati Sen displayed various styles of Kathak. Pt. Birju Maharaj's dance is said to transcend the mathematical aspects of rhythm and become visual poetry.
With immaculate expression of eyes, the legendary Birju Maharaj, also a poet, singer, multi-instrumentalist and painter, said “Art is vast. If you can grasp it, you will find no difference in you and the art.”
He started off with a graceful presentation set on a Khamaj thumri “Kaisi Baja Gaya Sham Banshuriya” and later showcased several tehai, tukra, padan and a bhao with rendering a thumri “Jane De Manika”. Apart from displaying various styles of Kathak, Saswati Sen also danced to a Bhairavi Bhajan and a Dhamar on Raga Bageshree. Chandrachur Bhattacharya on sitar, Utpal Ghoshal on tabla and Anirban Bhattacharya on vocal accompanied the performances.
The festival, organised by Blues Communications in association with Perfect Harmony Global, is presented by IFIC Bank.