Manch Pravesh : Amiya and Apurva Make a Statement

Photo: Navin Mediwala

Photo: Navin Mediwala

By Sunanda Vashisht

HOUSTON: On May 29, all roads for music connoisseurs of Houston led to the Stafford Centre and the Manch Pravesh of Amiya and Apurva, disciples and daughters of leading luminary of the Mewati Gharana, Pandit Suman Ghosh. Honored and privileged to have blessings of their Grand Guru, the Living Legend and very face of Hindustani Classical Music, Sangeet Martand, Padma Vibhushan Pandit Jasraj-ji who was present in the audience, the debut performance of these artists turned out to be a phenomenal concert of seasoned musicians.

This concert was yet another milestone in the accomplishments of the Center for Indian Classical Music of Houston (CICMH), an organization established by Pandit Suman Ghosh to spearhead the cause of Indian Classical Music. Organized impeccably with the characteristic attention to detail, the Stafford Centre Ballroom was tastefully decorated to create the right ambience. The emcee Namrata Sinha, presented the entire event seamlessly.

Music has always been an integral part of Amiya and Apurva’s lives. They have undergone rigorous training in the traditional guru-shishya parampara from a very young age. The aesthetic depth, grace, confidence and poise, with which they sang, showed their years of hard work, single minded devotion, perseverance and sacrifice. Anuraag Shah, son and disciple of Tabla maestro Pandit Shantilal Shah, commendably accompanied the vocalists on the tabla.

Amiya and Apurva displayed their strength as singers through their sincere portrayal of unusual and challenging Raags. Each composition was a creation of and an offering to their Guru and the Grand Gurus. They brought to life the complex and melodious Raag Gorakh Kalyan through landmark compositions of their Grand Guru Sangeet Martand Pandit Jasraj-ji himself. Their portrayal of the rarely heard Raag Nagadhwani Kanada, through a delicate and masterly composition by his legendary father, moved Panditji to tears. The performance of Raag Jaijaiwanti by Amiya and Raag Shankara by Apurva mesmerized the audience; while the fast & delightful extempore taans on a superb Tarana in Charukeshi, composed by Pandit Ghosh, set the gathering on fire and left the connoisseurs ecstatic. Soulful bhajans, accompanied superbly by Anuraag, left the audience immersed in divinity. The fulfillment and pride that the budding vocalists’ Guru felt was apparent to all.

The who’s who of the South Asian community attended and blessed the young musicians. The Consul General of India, P. Harish himself felicitated the artists. The last word however, belonged to the doyen of Hindustani Classical music, Sangeet Martand, Pandit Jasraj-ji, who sprang to his feet as soon as the concert ended. Praising the sisters for the all-round technical and emotional maturity in their singing, Pandit-ji proudly announced with palpable emotion “Mewati Gharana can go on at least for the next 40 to 50 years with these girls at the helm”. He was also full of praise for his disciple, Pandit Ghosh’s pathfinding leading role in taking Hindustani Classical Music to newer heights. He highlighted the role of Shashikala Ghosh, as Amiya and Apurva’s mother and first Guru, and also the Guruma of the entire student body of the Saadhana Pariwar.

The music lovers and connoisseurs have a lot to look forward to, as these young artists have begun their musical journey with a statement.