Perfect Evening of Classical Music Ghar Baithak at the Reges

Sanchali 1in

Photo: Sanchali Basu

By  Sanchali Basu

HOUSTON: A simple, unostentatious, well planned evening of classical music was arranged by classical music lovers Soumya and Ajay Rege at their residence in Bellaire, the afternoon of July 19. The very hospitable couple welcomed the classical music connoisseurs with tea/coffee and snacks around 3 PM and the program started with Shamik Boses’s soulful vocal renditions, with able accompaniment provided by the proficient Raja Banga on the tabla and Deyali Chatterjee on the tanpura and vocal. He set the mood with raga Bhimpalashi, did a dhrupad style alaap followed by vilambit khayal in Ektaal and then two drut khayals in teentaal. Not being partial to either of the two gharanas that he got trained in, he sang one bandish from the Senia gharana, and one from the Bishnupur gharana. His deep resonating voice did justice to the Senia gayaki, founded by Mian Tansen, by blending layakari, chhandabhed and bol taans. The Bishnupur gharana known for its sweet lilting melody, happens to be the only Hindustani gharana of West Bengal. He ended with a bandish in raga Bhairavi.

The next part of the afternoon belonged to Biplab Samadder on the violin. He started with raga Puriya-Dhanashree. The maturity in his playing has grown over the years and the compositions he played flowed from the alaap to the jod (majh, and drut jor) and to the first Gat in raga vilambit in Rupak taal (7 beats).

The fluid transition into the second Gat in raga madhyalaya in Ada chautaal (14 beats), led to the next Gat – drut in Teentaal (16 beats). The sawal jawab with tabla exponent Raja Banga was very well appreciated by the audience. The final crescendo of the jhala demonstrated the level of expertise of both the artists.

The icing on the cake was in store after a short break. Of course the last, but not the least performer of the early hours of the evening was the gracious hostess Soumya Rege herself. Her melodious vocal classical presentation with Guru Shruti Sample on the harmonium and Govind Shetty on the tabla was a treat for the audience. She started with a Vilambit khayal in Ektaal, followed by drut in Teentaal in raga Bhupali. Being proficient in three vernacular languages of India, her mother tongue Oriya, her second love Bengali and her husband’s mother tongue Marathi, she mentioned that she would attempt to sing a Marathi natyageet from the Marathi natak, “Katyar Kaljat Ghusli,” in raga Puriya kalyan – and oh, what a fine attempt it was!! As the saying goes, “Music knows no language,” Soumya  proved that the Natya sangeet which basically had emerged so that the common people could also enjoy classical music, because it was loved by one and all. The program culminated with her rendering of  a Tarana in Teentaal based on raga Bhairavi.

The invitees got to mingle with the artists during the simple vegetarian potluck dinner that ensued. The evening was enjoyed by all, and the performances by all the artists were commended.