Soor Niragas Ho – A Musical Transcendence by Mahesh Kale


By Dan Mayur & Amey Wakde

HOUSTON: Shri Mahesh Kale, a Consummate musician of Hindustani Classical Music, performed a transcendental rendition at University of Houston on September 23rd 2017. The event was arranged by Houston Maharashtra Mandal (HMM) and Grace Entertainment.

A disciple of the legendary Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki, today at 41, Mahesh Kale is undoubtedly the face of Indian classical music of the new generation. True to this reputation, last night Mahesh regaled Houstonians in a mesmerizing musical feast that will linger in our minds for many months to come. Mahesh is a vocalist renowned for his specialization in Hindustani Classical, Semi-Classical, Devotional music and that special genre dearest to the Maharashtrian heart, Natya Sangeet. Last night at his much-awaited concert, Sur Niragas Ho, Mahesh captivated his audience with his amazing rendition. He came through with flying colors holding the audience in a spell-binding performance that lasted for well over three divine hours.


Remarkably, Mahesh is a NRI like most of us and is based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Born and raised in a music-loving family in Pune, the cultural capital of Maharashtra, he began his music education early under the guidance of his mother Meenal Kale. But Mahesh proved to be a born genius. He reportedly gave his first solo performance at the impossible age of 3 leaving an incredulous audience of over 5000 totally stunned by his rendition of a beautiful devotional song. As a teenager, Mahesh trained and blossomed under the tutelage of Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki in a gurukul-like setting. Mahesh has performed in over 1000 concerts all around the world at various places in India, USA, UAE, UK and Southeast Asia. And, of course, he has won many coveted awards the latest being the 63rd Indian National Film Award as the Best Playback Singer for his classical renditions in the popular film Katyar Kaljat Ghusli.

As expected, the highlight of the evening was Mahesh’s tribute to his Guru Jitendra Abhisheki through his most popular songs of the play/movie Katyar Kaljat Ghusali. Mahesh did this in his very unique, trade-mark style of getting the audience fully involved with him. He walked the audience adroitly in a few fun-filled steps of Sargam, got them singing and nodding and lo and behold the audience had constructed the all-time hit song “Gheyi Chhand Makarand”. The ecstatic crowd joined Mahesh in a chorus at appropriate moments for a most unusual experience at a classical concert of this caliber. As the delirious listeners reveled in this musical bonanza, Mahesh went into a transcendental trance of his powerful “alaaps and taanas”. This same scenario continued with his devotional songs Moriya Moriya, Vitthal Vitthal and the brilliant title song of the program Sur Niragas Ho. Mahesh has an amazingly captivating stage presence. His energy level, depth, and maturity of his voice and its range and projection are truly out of the ordinary.

HMM and Grace paid reverence to Mahesh by presenting him a portrait of his own Guru, Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki, drawn by Jyotsna Phadke. HMM and Grace paid respect to the stalwart accompanists who improvised to Mahesh’s own improvisation, a complex task to perform – Rajeev Tambe on Harmonium, Vibhav Khandolkar on Tabla, Vinayak Joshi on Pakhawaj, Suryakant Surve on side rhythms and Kedar Gulavani on Violin. The chorus was given by our own Houstonian music connoisseurs Anukool Damle, Rugved Damle, Veena Pol Watve, Sucheta Karandikar, and Trupti Gokhale Naag. Thanks to Rajan Choudhari for camera, Shreyas Bedekar for sound, and Mihir Kulkarni for managing lights.

Undoubtedly, Indian Classical Music is safe in the hands of its new leaders like Mahesh Kale where it is bound to thrive and blossom. People like him do a yeoman service in bringing the incomparable performing arts of India to global audiences. The bottom line, of course, is this – what we will remember for a long time is Mahesh Kale’s vocal dexterity and uncommon talent that made for a most thrilling musical experience.

Thank you Mahesh, thank you Grace Entertainment and thank you Houston Maharashtra Mandal (HMM) for bringing this program to Houston.

The next HMM event is the festival of lights, Diwali, to be held on November 12th 2017 at Student’s Center, University of Houston.