When two and two make one
It was a celebration of duets in New Delhi the other day.
PHOTO: RANJEET KUMAR
UNISON IN DIVERSITY Sitar player Prateek Chaudhuri and sarangi exponent (below) Kamal Sabri who performed a jugalbandi in New Delhi the other day.
It was an evening of joint ventures right from the beginning, when UMAK (Ustad Mushtaque Ali Khan) Centre for Culture and Sur Noopur, two likeminded institutions, joined hands to present `Unique Jugalbandis' this past week at Kamani auditorium. There was a jugalbandi between the sitar of Prateek Chaudhuri and the sarangi of Kamal Sabri, accompanied by the father-son tabla duo of Pandit Anindo Chatterjee and Anubrata Chatterjee. There was also a Kathak jugalbandi between Vidushi Saswati Sen and Pandit Chitresh Das that followed later.
Both Prateek and Kamal belong to the Senia gharana in their own way. Talented son and disciple of Pandit Debu Chaudhuri, Prateek is a product of the Senia gharana, which has the unique tradition of playing the sitar with 17 frets (instead of 19, 20 or 21 frets of the modern times) and a different string arrangement also. Kamal, the gifted son and disciple of Ustad Sabri Khan, is carrying forward the rich legacy of the Senia gharana of Rampur-Moradabad. Both have demonstrated their versatility and a knowing grasp of their respective instruments far beyond their years, and have played extensively in India and abroad.
Prateek and Kamal opened their jugalbandi with Yaman, the most popular and appropriate raga for the evening. Kamal's sonorous sarangi proved worthy of his name during the emerging landscape of the raga, whereas Prateek took some time to establish his credentials. His neat and crisp strokes on the sitar would have sounded even better had the tone of his instrument been more resonant and vibrant instead of sounding rather mute. Both the artistes gradually unfolded the raga, taking turns in alap-jod, complementing each other and paving the tuneful path for the vilambit gat that followed in Teen tala. The initial uthaan on the pair of tabla was also like a jugalbandi, where Anindo Chatterjee and Anubrata Chatterjee took turns playing one avartan each in dugun, chaugun and atthagun (double, quadruple and eightfold tempo), gradually winding it up together with a fabulous tihai. In fact the jugalbandi on the tabla was more in unison, since Anubrata is trained under his father and shares the language and its nuances with him. This is certainly a desirable ingredient of a successful jugalbandi if both the artistes want to succeed in that seminal dialogue which they try to engage in. The popular bandish in Bihag, "Lata urajhi surajhaa ja re baalam" came next. Here again the tabla duo impressed with their sam preceded by a chakkardaar tihai that echoed the taar Shadja, which was also the sam of the lovely composition played by Prateek and Kamal. The drut gat was set to drut Ek tala and was followed by a faster Teen tala composition culminating in the jet speed jhala that was rather prolonged and repetitive. The evening started with a Saraswati vandana presented by the students of Sur-Noopur. The composition accompanied by the synthesiser sounded more like a filmi dhun than an invocation item presented by a school that boasted training in classical music.
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