Omkar Dadarkar Bowls Out HoustonAudience on His Debut Houston Tour


By Sunil Pangarkar

HOUSTON: On September 27, in the Cullen auditorium of University of St. Thomas, Indian Music Society struck again. Omkar Dadarkar an artist with musical lineage, Taalim from Pt. Ulhas Kashalkar plus other senior gurus, and a fine product of the ITC Sangeet Research Academy of Kolkata delivered a concert that amazed the audience. He started with three composition in Raag Marwa followed by two compositions in Raag Durga. I decided to gauge the reaction of the audience during the interval. Coffee from Udipi Café, after the high impact first half was a great time for doing this. Here is what serious connoisseurs like Shri Sharad Kavadi, Shri Mohan Ketkar, Shri Surath Rath and Shri Anil Gokhale had to say: “The long alaap in Marwa really enhanced the slightly yearning mood of the Raag”, “The range of his voice is incredible”, “I am really impressed with his super speed Aaakar taans and his voice throw”, “Marwa requires the long elaborate treatment that was given by Omkar”, “The powerful rendition of Durga reminded me of Pt. Bhimsen Joshi”. The next half began with the soothing Raag Yaman with two traditional Gwalior gharana bandishes. Omkar ended the concert with a powerful, Marathi Abhang written by Sant Chokamela, “Johaar Maibaap Johaar”.

As is the case in most concerts, the entire presentation is a product of artistry of individual performers and the chemistry between them and their audience. Pt. Shantilal Shah who was accompanying Omkar on Tabla and Smt. Shruti Sample who was accompanying Omkar on the harmonium provided that much needed chemistry. Pt. Shah who is a veteran of many concerts with stalwarts of Hindustani classical genre of music, is particularly a favorite of vocal artistes who in my opinion need a higher sensibility and understanding for the melody being presented. The appropriate theka for instance, changes the mood of the main performer, and gives the concert an additional boost.

Indian Music Society takes a unique approach in bringing Indian classical music to Houston. A truly traditional approach of concert management by providing a stage to wide mix of wonderful artistes, from senior and already well branded, to those that fully deserve the branding. Omkar to have bowled out the Houston audience on his first US visit and only the second concert of his US trip, is not really a surprise. He has the blessings and the Taalim from his Gurus, his own hard work and a very conducive surrounding of ITC/SRA as a foundation. IMS does the small but important job of providing a stage for such artistes and in doing so, audience can see all the colors, hues and shades of Indian classical music. It is not surprising that such a bouquet attracts the bee in me each time.