Soul Curry

The 19th century English Composer Frederick Delius said, "Music is an outburst of the soul." Last week hundreds of music lovers from Thane experienced this outburst first hand. Like in the past, the 12th Padmashree Nataraj Gopikrishna Mahotsav held last Friday and Saturday at the Gadkari Rangayatan was an absolute treat for lovers of Indian classical music. Right from the start, the energy of the show touched the soul of those present. The inaugural performance was a Kathak performance by Sonia Parchure. The conventional Kathak performance tends to follow a progression in tempo from slow to fast, ending with a dramatic climax and finishing in a statuesque pose. Each time she ended a dance sequence in the dramatic climax that is the hallmark of Kathak, the audience broke into a deafening applause. The perfect synchronicity between the musical beats and the dancer’s steps gave an impression of an invisible connection between the musicians’ fingers and the dancer’s ghungroos (ankle bracelets) even as "once-more" requests for the tukdas and todas echoed in the auditorium.

Later, a jugalbandi (duet) between two stalwarts, namely Pandit Mukundraj Deo (Tabla) and Pandit Bhavani Shankar (Pakhwaj) stole the show. Before starting the jugalbandi, Pt Deo said, "We don’t have the benefit of a single rehearsal before the show and so whatever we will offer today is akin to a fresh recipe that has never been tried before. I can assure you that just like in the case of food you will enjoy freshness of the spontaneity of our recipe a lot more than staleness that comes from endless rehearsals preceding the show." True to his promise, what followed was a giant of a performance where both he and Pt Bhavani Shankar mesmerised the audiences with their mastery of the instruments. There were so many in the audience who were literally at the edge of their seats, humming wah-wahs in spite the show going on way past midnight. In the cool winter night, the show was indeed like a fresh, hot curry for the soul.

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