Mesmerizing Indian Ragas from Classical to Fusion


HOUSTON: It was an eagerly awaited event and when it happened it delivered beyond expectations. On June 15, 2013, the Tagore Society of Houston, in partnership with Houston Arts Alliance and the City of Houston, presented to music lovers an enchanting melodious evening with music maestros from India: Pandit Tejendra Narayan Majumdar on sarod and Pandit Tanmoy Bose on tabla. The event was held at the Kaplan Theater in the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center.

For about 3 hours this duo of musical genius – representing combination of intellectual density and technical virtuosity in their instruments – carried the audience through a mesmerizing musical journey beyond any geographical, cultural or musical boundary.


Both artists embody, exemplify and personify a growing trend of Indian music transcending borders and boundaries through assimilation, expansion and experimentation. While they were trained from a very early age in intense and traditional classical Indian music, both have made significant impact on international stages by breaking the barriers of tradition, at the same time preserving and blending it with modern trends in a way that captivates audiences..

The evening began with TSH’s President Dr. Ruma Acharya welcoming the artists and the guests. One of the cultural coordinators of TSH, Chandana Guha introduced of the artists and their accomplishments.

The first half of the program began with Pandit Majumdar playing the raag Jhinjhoti through Aalap, Jode and an exciting, vibrating Jhala. In the second piece Pandit Bose joined on with the tabla in a rhythmic composition in Rupaktaal medium tempo followed by fast tempo Gat in Ektal and ending in a dramatic and breathtaking Jhala in Ektal.

After a short break and snacks, the melodious evening culminated into a mesmerizing musical night. For this half of the program, the maestros continued with a Raagmala based on raag Zillakafi in medium tempo and fast tempo during an enchanting exchange of Sawal-Jabab between the sarod and tabla, bringing the audience to their feet in overwhelming applause. The Raagmala continued with glimpses of raags Desh, Hambir, Kedar and Darwari Kanada.

The artist’s control on taal, intriguing rhythmic intricacies and finesse in capturing and expressing the particular sentiment of the raagas added to the intensity of the program and left the audience enthralled for more. At audience request, the duo ended the evening with a mesmerizing rendition in raag Bhairavi in medium and fast tempo.

An unforgettable experience resulted after Acharya requested Pandit Bose for a piece of fusion music, who then played snippets from his world music project Taaltantra, showcasing familiar sounds through unfamiliar media, inspired by Congo beats of African percussion.

The blend of traditionalism and modernization of Indian music is resoundingly represented by these two musical geniuses of current India. As expected, the performance left a memorable mark on the Houston audience, of this emerging trend of music in India, which, while true to its classical roots is not afraid to experiment and expand, with Pandits Majumdar and Bose as leading pioneers and pathfinders.