March 2, 2009 by Preeks
What better way to begin blogging than with a review of a music concert! It was Pandit Ravi Shankar and Anoushka Shankar in concert at the beautiful Nehru Park, as a part of the SpicMacay “Music in the Park” series. I was lucky enough to be there, but so were the other thousand odd music lovers who had turned out in huge force, sharing mattresses and chairs, discussing music, weather and the Maestro. My heart swelled with pride when I looked around at the assorted crowd: youngsters in Kurtas waiting to have a piece of the famous “culture cake”, middle aged couples desperate for an evening away from normalcy, old people reminiscing Panditji’s first time, foreigners impatient to see what the hyped “Indian culture” is all about. It was a weird mix of people, but a sight that made me proud of the city I had been brought up in. In an almost heavenly weather, good music has the power to take you far away, away from trivial problems and musings, and this was evident on the carefree faces of each of the persons who had taken time out to listen to pure good music that day. Be it in the mellifluous notes that came out of Panditji’s sitar, or the crispness with which Anoushka brought down the notes, there was a purity they shared, a purity that spoke the unspoken language of good music.
The concert started with the subtle raag Puriye Kalyani, which set the ambiance for a perfect ethereal evening. The subtle nuances of Panditji’s notes struck a brilliant chord with the Tabla, befittingly played by Tanmoy Bose. Pandit Ravi Shankar almost effortlessly played along with the young man, gliding in and out of the complex taans, muddling the beat and bringing it back on track with alarming accuracy, eliciting a soft “waah” out of every pair of lips around. Anoushka Shankar, on the other hand, was a perfect picture of graciousness. She nonchalantly played the Sitar with an elan and an alacrity characteristic of youth. Her charm, her playful smiles, her respect for her lineage and her deep understanding of the culture she stands for, were showcased deeply in every note she struck. An unyielding solid support to her father, Anoushka Shankar was that freshness in the air at the park which invited sighs all around. The evening concluded with a raagamalika and a taalamalika, which was an assortment of Ragas and Talas. The harmony between the Sitars and the Tabla was almost bewitchingly right. The evening ended as Panditji jokingly commented about this concert not being his “final” concert, but maybe his “semifinal”.
Music has this power…The power to transport, the power to carry, the power to soother, the power to arouse, the power to grip, the power to loosen. And it was this power that the concert unleashed. Every person who attended the concert left the park mesmerised by notes, dreaming about taal, and taking in his heart the mental picture of what was by all means, a piece of “heaven”..Here’s to wishing SpicMacay many more wonderful concerts..!