Music Party at Upmaben’s Home

From left: Renuka and Rohini – granddaughters, Soumya Rege – mother, Aarti Mishra - grandmother, and Upma Shah.

From left: Renuka and Rohini – granddaughters, Soumya Rege – mother, Aarti Mishra – grandmother, and Upma Shah.

By Deepak Bhatt

SUGAR LAND: It was once again a music and food bonanza at the home of Upmaben and Mukuleshbhai on August 31. They have been hosting home concerts (Bethaks) regularly and the most exciting part is that they are FREE. But more importantly, the quality of the programs is always high and the bar is being raised higher and higher. Each program is different by promoting a new theme and giving everyone something to look forward to. This is the venue where a platform is provided to inspiring young artists as well as veterans to show off their talents to a very appreciative, disciplined audience. Their home has become Sangeet Bhavan or Saraswati Sadan where art is worshipped, artists are respected very highly and audience is very disciplined to provide perfect ambience.

This Bethak was very unique because three generations of artists were presenting their compositions in their own styles as well as in unison. The program started with Ganesh Vandana by four artists of three generations (Aarti Mishra – grandmother, Soumya Rege – mother, Renuka and Rohini – granddaughters) together. After that Aarti Mishra sang classical ragas and on a subject of Koyaliya she presented three ragas. The audience showed its deep appreciation with loud applause. It was followed by Odissi folk songs and some more music. She rendered her compositions in her melodious voice for more than one hour with lots of energy and gusto. Soumya also sang classical ragas and it appeared that she was proving that she is as good as her mother and mentor. Emcee Ajay Rege was very knowledgeable in explaining the details of each of the Ragas. It was an amazing experience. They earned a standing ovation from the audience which they definitely deserved.

The second half was something different. Rohini presented fusion of eastern and western music. She presented two English and one Hindi songs and explained the differences and technicalities of them. It was very evident where her musical genes came from and made everyone very proud of her accomplishments at such a young age. Now was the time for Oldie Goldie. The audience was thrilled by 11 selected songs sung by Soumya from films like: Mughale Azam, Mere Mehaboob, Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam, Kala Pani, and many more. But the most interesting part was that Dr. Aziz Warsi provided narration for each song in advance and made it more meaningful by quoting something special that happened while filming it. Prenaben Shah sang one Mahavir bhajan. Surendra Talwar sang one devotional song and one patriotic song .

As usual no program can be without the dynamic duo of the father-son team of Jayendrabhai and Ambarish Prabhukot. They provided a lifeline to the program by playing Tabla and Harmonium/keyboard respectively. The most exciting part was when they were playing KAIDAS (i.e. tabla compositions), the audience was reaping its Faidas (Hindi/Gujarati word for benefit or delight). The rules of playing a Kaida are complex, but in short, one must use only the BOLS that are in the original theme, follow the rules of TALA, and maintain the BHARI-KHALI structure. The complete synchronization of Bol on harmonium and Tal on table was like a high speed chase between father and son. It was a great treat for the audience.
The food bonanza was from the beginning up to the end with many items. It was delicious.
Overall it was a very enjoyable afternoon and evening. It seemed like the audience did not want the program to end. I believe there were some couples who had no intention of going home and they wanted to stay around even after the program was finished. God bless them.