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That Soothing, Haunting Voice Soothes Us Once Again! This Time, it’s Bunty!!

The performers for the ghazal concert, from left, Bobby Jutley on the tabla, singer Jaswinder Singh “Bunty”, Rennison Macwan on the keyboards and guitar and Azim Khan on the 5-string electric violin.

The performers for the ghazal concert, from left, Bobby Jutley on the tabla, singer Jaswinder Singh “Bunty”, Rennison Macwan on the keyboards and guitar and Azim Khan on the 5-string electric violin.

By Jawahar Malhotra

SPRING, TX: It was a cold and wet night with a steady light drizzle and a light fog would soon descend along the pinetree lined backroads. Inside the Auburn Lakes Community Club House was packed with people who had come to listen to a live ghazal concert. And the velvety soothing voice of Jaswinder Singh “Bunty” did not disappoint as he and his accompanying three musicians serenaded the packed hall with songs in a tribute to the late great ghazal singer Jagjit Singh.

Once again, in the fifth year in a row, Rashmi Gupta, pulled together this concert for Indian music lovers in The Woodlands and Spring. She is a connoisseur of classical Indian music who acquired her passion at the knee of her late mother Aruna Gupta, a well-known classical music promoter and noted artist in her own right in New Delhi.

The organizers with promoter Rashmi Gupta (center); from left, Rita Saaraf, Kokie Patel, Sudarshan, Vinay Sharma and Niti Mohan, the emcee.

The organizers with promoter Rashmi Gupta (center); from left, Rita Saaraf, Kokie Patel, Sudarshan, Vinay Sharma and Niti Mohan, the emcee.

Perhaps subliminally channeling her mother or by coincidence, but certainly at her own initiative, Rashmi Gupta has become the force in North Harris County behind bringing some renowned artists to play in an intimate setting for 100 people where they can be yards away from the performers and then mingle with them afterwards. Two years ago she brought in the vocalist Pandit Vinayak Torvi, last year vocalist Pandit Kaivalya Kumar and this year it was Bunty, as he is better known to his admirers.

Gupta is supported by others who share her passion, and for this past concert held on Saturday, February 3, businessmen Mukesh Mittal and Vijay Goradia sponsored the concert “and many others wrote checks to show their support,” said Gupta. Niti Mohan was the emcee of the evening and Rita and Dr. Sunil Saraf helped Gupta with all the details. After the concert, a buffet dinner was catered by Hyderabad House which also did the appetizers.

The audience was ecstatic over the 90-minute medley of ghazals from Jagjit Singh and 19th century Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib, intertwined with snippets of other songs, Punjabi tappe and folksongs by Bunty. He played the harmonium and was accompanied on the low dais by Bobby Jutley on the tabla, Rennison Macwan on the keyboards and guitar and Azim Khan on the 5-string electric violin.
Bunty sounds so uncannily like Jagjit, down to the inflections, that it felt like the late great was with us. He had people dancing in their seats and then jump up to dance in front of the stage at the last pulsating number.

The performers on the low dais in the Auburn Lakes Clubhouse last Saturday, February 3

The performers on the low dais in the Auburn Lakes Clubhouse last Saturday, February 3

The resemblance was no coincidence as Bunty spent his formative years under Jagit Singh’s guidance and accompanied him onstage during his 2001 UK concert tour. In 2001 Jagjit Singh introduced Bunty’s debut album “Aage Aage Dekhiye”. Bunty has launched several other albums – Ishq Nahin Asaan, “Yours Truly”; “Dilkash”; “Tamana”; a bhajan album, “Meri Vinati Suno Hey Ram” released by TIPS ; and “AKS” released by Universal. He lives in Long Island, New York and often tours across the country.

Gupta has her eyes already set on a concert by Pandit Rajan Sajan Mishra, the foremost Hindi classical singer, in the same venue on Friday, May 25, as part of his 40-city tour. Prior to that the Indian Music Society is planning a to have Mishra come for a  Behrav to Behravi (Dawn to Dusk) concert in Houston on May 5 and a workshop the day after.

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