Sultan of Santoor and Maestro of Melody Captivate Houston with their Soul Stirring Music

Photos: Tanvir Mohammed and Mythri Pullela

Photos: Tanvir Mohammed and Mythri Pullela

By Sunanda Vashisht

HOUSTON: Saadhana Sur Sang- A concert series for Connoisseurs presented by Center for Indian Classical Music of Houston (CICMH) held its second concert of 2017 on September 29th at Stafford Civic Center.  CICMH, spearheaded by renowned classical Vocalist and torchbearer of Mewati Gharana, Pandit Suman Ghosh, is synonymous with purity and authenticity in Hindustani Classical Music.

Known to present maestros and artistes of high caliber, this time CICMH featured the inimitable Santoor Maestro, Pandit Tarun Bhattacharya and its founder Pandit Suman Ghosh. Pandit Ghosh, who performs under prestigious banners across the world, performed under the banner of his own organization for very first time since it was founded 14 years ago. It was an emotional moment for Pandit Ghosh, and perhaps also the right moment, to perform in a concert that sought to heal Houston after Harvey, through Hindustani Raags.

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The evening began with an eloquent speech by the chief Guest, Honorable Mayor of Stafford, Leonard Scarcella. He awarded Pandit Ghosh a proclamation in recognition of his excellence and landmark efforts to popularize Hindustani Music in the USA, and declared September 29th as ‘Pandit Suman Ghosh Day’ in the City of Stafford.

The concert began with the divine performance of Haveli Sangeet by Pandit Ghosh. Steeped in Bhakti Bhaav, this genre of Indian Classical music is believed to have originated in Uttar Pradesh’s Braj Region in late 15th century. Haveli Sangeet had declined with passage of time but was revived by Living Legend, Sangeet Martand, Pandit Jasraj Ji. It is the Sangeet Martand’s opinion that, his torch bearing disciple Pandit Suman Ghosh is one of the very few to ably carry forward this tradition.

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Pandit Ghosh’s soulful renditions of devotional compositions, some his own and others immortal shloks, left every heart filled with hope and optimism. The audience felt transported to 15th century Braj and there was not a dry eye in the audience. Pandit Ghosh was ably accompanied on Tabla by well-known Tabla maestro and Guru, Pandit Shantilal Shah, and on vocals by his talented disciples Apurva Ghosh, Prasun Kolhe, Jaytirth Mahoorkar and Shashank Trivedi. Together they mesmerized and created a magical evening.

In the second half Pandit Tarun Bhattacharya, disciple of legendary Pandit Ravi Shankar ji, took the stage. Pandit Bhattacharya played Raag Rageshree, unfolding its pristine glory to the discerning audience who lapped up every note coming from his santoor. In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, detailed presentation of Raags in classical music concerts has become uncommon. However, Saadhaana Sur Sang, is a platform where Maestros feel comfortable to elaborately showcase their knowledge and capability, acquired over decades of saadhana. Like a master sculptor, Pandit-Ji chiseled each part of the Raag deftly. He was ably accompanied on Tabla by a very talented and well known Tabla exponent, Shri Subrata Bhattacharya. Together they cast a magical spell with their music.

The Master of Ceremony, Shri Suresh Raghavan, adeptly held the entire musical evening together with his splendid articulation.

As the concert ended and the audience gave a rousing standing ovation to both artistes, only question everyone was asking was – What is CICMH bringing to us next? Well, the answer is certainly worth the wait till the next Saadhana Sur Sang.

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