Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and Vidushi Manju Mehta Create Magic with Strings in Houston


Pandit Suman Ghosh joining Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and Vidushi Manju Mehta
Photos: Navin Mediwala

By Sunanda Vashisht

STAFFORD: It is often said that Music is enough for a lifetime but a lifetime isn’t enough for Music. Houstonians recently experienced this in a concert of Strings held on Friday, April 1, at the Stafford Civic Center.  Saadhana Sur Sang, organized by the Center for Indian Classical Music of Houston (CICMH), showcased the renowned Sitar player Vidushi Manju Mehta and legendary Grammy award Winner, Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt in a unique musical offering.


The artists with Dr. Virendra Mathur

Sur Sang was the first in a newly introduced series of concerts that Pt. Suman Ghosh, founder of CICMH, has conceptualized, as part of the organization’s holistic effort to increase awareness of Hindustani Classical Music. CICMH hopes to contribute in its own way to spreading peace and harmony through the purity of seven notes and healing power of this music. Hence, the evening appropriately started with a moment of silent prayer for the less fortunate and victims of strife around the world.


Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt interacting with the audience

The concert began with a masterful rendition of Raag Saraswati by Vidushi Manju Mehta, a torch- bearing disciple of the legendary Pandit Ravi Shankar. Decades of riyaaz, focus on perfection and emphasis on the emotional quality of a raag was all put on display in her solo virtuoso performance. The purity and richness of her presentation, her complete mastery over her instrument, as well as her mesmerizing stage presence, left the audience in awe.

World-renowned Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt took the stage next, with the unique instrument that he has created himself- the Mohan Veena. The stalwart instrumentalist presented Raag Shyam Kalyan, brilliantly conjuring up all emotions of the raga like a deft magician. Since this was an ‘interactive concert,’ Panditji continued to intersperse his music with interesting anecdotes. He gave the audience glimpses of folk music from different states of India and even made the audience sing with him. His Both artists were accompanied on the tabla by Sh. Hindole Majumdar, who occupies a commendable position among young tabla players of this generation.


Vidushi Manju Mehta at a focal point of her rendition

When the audience was still regaling in the solo performances, Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt invited Vidushi Manju Mehta for a duet of strings. The audience was surprised yet delighted when he also invited Pt. Suman Ghosh to the stage.  As he invited Pt. Ghosh to the stage, Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt explained that they would be presenting one of Pt. Suman Ghosh’s compositions in Raag Jogeshwari (a masterful creation of Pandit Ravi Shankar) and felt that the audience would enjoy it best when rendered by the composer himself. This unscripted moment of the evening took the concert to a new level, where the three Sur-Saadhaks displayed instant meeting point & bonding of their priceless Saadhana – justifying the title of the event ‘Saadhana Sur-Sang’. The three maestros left the audience spellbound and soaked in myriad emotions. There were tears, there was silence, there was reverence in the air, as they concluded the concert, giving all present a glimpse of how the purity and beauty of this music has the ability to elevate every soul to heights of spiritual glory.