IAA Hosts Original Lucknow Gharana Concert with Dr. Pooja Goswami Pavan

By Chandra K. Mittal, Ph.D.

HOUSTON: Indo-American Association, Houston (IAA) did it again. This time it was with Dr. Pooja Goswami Pavan of Minneapolis, MN, who is a professor, scholar and performer in vocal Hindustani Classical Music.

On Saturday, September 10, 2022, IAA yet again mesmerized the audience with presentation of SABRANG by Dr. Pooja Goswami Pavan and her stellar team of musicians that included Pankaj Mishra (Sarangi), Gourisankar Karmarkar (Tabla), Kedar Naphade (Harmonium) and student volunteer Krisha on Tanpoora.

It was all in keeping with IAA’s tradition of promoting quality performing arts of Indian Subcontinent established over its 29 years history. SABRANG Concert was a unique combination of different style of Gayaki of Hindustani vocal music from the 1800s in India.

The enthusiasm and excitement for the guest musician was palpable and had been building up in Houston before the concert with the release of artist’s video interview by this author (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFWoF71bRNM), and on other social media. The evening started with welcome of the guests and patrons by Board member Radhika Day, and student volunteer Triparna Das introducing the guest artists.

No sooner than Dr. Pooja took the stage and began singing her first Bandish Ki Thumri of the evening “Mohan Rasiya Aaye Bagiya Mein”, which reflected the centuries-long Hindu-Muslim amity in India, the audience were in complete awe with the quality of her voice, control of notes and the range, which continued throughout the concert.

As the concert progressed, Dr. Pooja, like a music scholar that she is, intermittently described the historic evolution of different styles (Gayaki), i.e. Thumri, Dadra, Ghazal and Sufiana of Lucknow Gharana developed in the Royal courts of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, the last of the Mughal Kings in the North Indian State of Awadh (Oudh) in 1800s before he was punitively extradited to Bengal by the British. This gave the concert color of a Lecture-Demonstration to keep the audience engaged.

Having been the disciple of Ghazal queen Shanti Hiranand, herself the senior disciple of legendary Mallika-e-Ghazal Begum Akhtar, Dr. Pooja’s singing recreated the ambience of the times that was more than apparent in her rendition of the Ghazal “Wo Jo Hum Mein Tum Mein Qarar Tha, Thumhe Yaad Ho Ki Na Yaad Ho” sung by Begum Akhtar.

Whether it was Thumri, Dadra, Ghazal or Sufiana Kalam like “Maula Maula Lakh Pukaare” singer’s consistency was impressive and noticeable to the audience, who enjoyed the musical atmosphere of the evening as the performance lived up to the title – SUBRANG.

By the end of the concert, Houston audience were left wanting more from Dr. Pooja’s music only to be disappointed because all good things must come to an end because of time limitation. The concert concluded with audience expressing their genuine gratitude and appreciation for Dr. Pooja and entire team of accompanying musicians.

For information on upcoming exciting new IAA programs visit www.IAAHouston.org.

Dr. Chandra Mittal is Co-Founder of Indo-American Association, Houston (IAA) and Director of Community Relations. E-Mail:  DRCKMITTAL@YAHOO.COM