Notes through the fog
The fog enveloping the picturesque mausoleum of Tansen in the background, and some fine Indian and international musicians from Greece, Israel, the US, Iran and Belgium spellbinding an audience cutting across class lines.
This was perhaps the most striking aspect of the Tansen Samaroh which celebrated its 95th year this time (December 17 to 21) -- the young and the elderly sitting down on mattresses and listening to classical music, withstanding intense chill to enjoy music even after the shades of dusk had fallen.
The festival began with a Dhrupd presentation by Tansen Music College in Raag Yaman, Chautaal and Nibbidh Bandish. Noteworthy was the Mridang presentation by Sivaraman Umayalpuram, a Padma Vibhushan recipient.
Interestingly, Carnatic music was also included in the festival. Shivaraman played Adi Taal in different dimensions, besides Teen Matra Roopak, Saat Maatra Mishra, and Paanch Maatra Khand taal.
The third-day witnessed Ajay Pohankar and Nityanand Haldipurkar presenting Indian Classical music while artistes from Iran enthralled the audiences with traditional music from their land.
The evening started with a Dhrupad performance by Sankar Gandharv Sangeet Mahavidyalaya, Gwalior, and later Iranian artistes Pedram Khavar Zamini and Aamir Khari performed on their traditional instrument, Tumbak.
The highlight of the evening was Ajay Pohankar, who had chosen Raag Rageshri. He performed ‘Rakho Pat Mori' and ‘Sajan Bin Sooni'. He also played Thumri in Mishr Pahadi Raag, and concluded with the ghazal, ‘Aye Mohabbat Tere Anjaam Pe'.
A photo exhibition of late sitar maestro Ravi Shankar under the section Pranti, which showcased and celebrated the glory of the musician, was also organised during the festival.
The concluding part of the festival was held at musician Tansen's birthplace, Behat, located 45 km from Gwalior on the banks of river Jhilmil.
Madhya Pradesh's association with music can be traced to medieval times. Two of medieval India's most well-known singers, Tansen and Baiju Bawra, were from Gwalior. Tansen is also credited as the founder of Gwalior Gharana.
Speaking to IANS, Rahul Rastogi, Deputy Director of Ustad Allaudin Khan Sangeet Kala Akademi, stressed that the number of youngsters in the audience has increased in the last five years.
"Gwalior has always been known for a very receptive audience. Watching an increased number of young people gives us immense joy and hope for the future," Rastogi said.
Talking about the value additions made to the festival during the past few years, he said, "We have given more character to the stage ensuring that it is not a bland one. Also, as opposed to three days, the festival now runs for six days."
Wanting to go beyond the hardcore performance character of the festival, the department has also added a ‘Vadi Samvadi', a lecture and discussion element, which aims to raise awareness about the Indian musical heritage.
"This year, sitarist Shubhendu Rao and Dhrupad singer Umakant and Ramakant Anant Gundecha delivered the lectures," concluded Rastogi.IANS