THE MAESTROS POUR MUSICAL BLESSINGS Bengal Classical Music Fest ends on a high note

Aloke Kumar Sen & Zahangir Alom

Padma Vibhushan Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia hailed as the Lord Krishna of our time, was warmly received with rounds of applause while he took the magnificent stage. The living legend returns the love Bangladeshis have for him by fondly performing for them onstage every year at the Bengal Classical Music Festival. The flute maestro once said that the flute belongs to Bangladesh. The factual claim alludes to Bangladeshi legend Pt. Pannalal Ghosh, who transformed the flute from folk to a classical instrument.


Pt. Chaurasia set off his flute recital playing a morning Raga “Prabhati” on Rupaktaal and Teentaal. When he began to the play the bansuri, the notes coursed through the instrument rather like the sighs of a soul; his fingers caressed the stops, his eyes shut in meditation and the music took all along to a world of ecstasy.

The master of flute started off with an extremely sweet alap, set on the raga. He offered rare musical phraseology amongst the ardent Dhaka music lovers as a token of his love and blessings. He moved thousands in the audience to tears with his “komal rishava” that portrayed love, melancholia and unfulfilled desire.

Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia was euphoric in his recital of another morning Raga Jait on teentaal. Rounds of joyous applause swayed the audience as Pandit Chaurasia styled the pukar of Kirttan. He evoked the mythical nuance of Radha-Krishna in the blissful ambiance of Brindaban.

Pandit Shubhankar Banerjee on tabla and Pandit Bhawani Shankar on pakhawaj produced torrents of beats with beautiful tehai while accompanying the maestro. In the Kirttan part, the marvel of tehai mingled with magical beats of dadra and Kaharba. The maestro’s disciples — Debopriya Chatterjee and Vivek Sonar were masterful in their support within the performance.

Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, one of the most influential artistes of Indian Classical Music of the 20th century, performed on the concluding night’s musical proceedings.


One of the biggest ambassadors of classical music festivals, conferences and concerts worldwide, the forerunner of the classical santoor began his recital with the Raga “Jog”. His vilambit composition was set on Rupaktaal (seven beats) and drut composition was on Teentaal (16 beats). Tabla artiste Pandit Yogesh Samsi accompanied the evocative recital producing sweet melodies and rhythms. The maestro later performed a Pahadi dhun that swayed the audience blissfully.

Pt. Kushal Das, styling immaculate melodies on his sitar, devotedly performed Raga “Kaunshi Kanada”. The music connoisseurs walked down the memory lane as they experienced great emotions in the recital. The Maihar gharana maestro in his proceedings of gaut and jhala performance generated a mahol of high quality music, accompanied by Pt. Subhankar Banerjee.

Vocalist Arati Ankalikar rendered a khayal set on Raga “Jogkauns” (intermingling of Raga Jog and Raga Chandrakauns). The artiste also performed a Khamaj thumri at the event. Talented vocalist Kumar Mardur performed another khayal based on Raga Puria Kalyan. He also rendered a Kabir Bhajan at the event. The concluding night’s proceedings also included group sitar recital by the promising artistes of the Bengal Parampara Sangeetalay, led by Pt. Kushal Das. Upcoming vocalists of the Department of Music, Dhaka University, also performed in chorus at the festival.

It was a mesmerising game of melodies incorporating ragas and rhythms taal and laya, gamak and meend, pukar and murki, taan and behelawa that world’s finest music maestros presented in the five-day Bengal Classical Music Festival, which wrapped up on a high note early morning yesterday.

The festival, held at Bangladesh Army Stadium in the city, was aimed at promoting, nurturing and disseminating the essence of classical music to every nook and cranny of Bangladesh. This year’s festival, managed by Blues Communications, was dedicated to the memory of ambidextrous litterateur Syed Shamsul Haq. Organised by Bengal Foundation and presented by Square, the fifth edition of the festival was partnered with BRAC Bank and Maasranga Television.


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