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New Zealanders bow to ‘endangered instrument’

A Correspondent – 

Sangeet Mishra, a musician maestro of the ancient Indian stringed-instrument ‘Sarangi,’ gave New Zealanders a unique opportunity to witness and hear one of the rarest instruments practiced in modern times.

Originally from Banaras (or Varanasi) and now based in Mumbai, Sangeet presented two programmes in Auckland last month organised by Acharya Ajay Tiwari in association with Sanskrit Yoga & Jyotish Trust.

Lively start

The first programme, titled ‘Banaarasi Ka Rang, Sangeet Ke Sang,’ held on Friday, July 8 at India Gate Hall in Papatoetoe, was a showcase of ‘Sangeet’ (meaning music in Sanskrit) that featured not only Hindustani instruments, vocals and dance, but also the visitor’s prowess as a soloist, vocalist and accompanist.

Sangeet began by explaining the nuances of Sarangi progressing on to his solo in ‘Raag Puriya Dhanashri’ set to ‘Tin Taal’ (16 beat time cycle), accompanied by Basant Madhur on Tabla.

Kathak Performance

Later, Ratna Venkat added colour to the show by presenting a Kathak dance recital. She explained the relationship between Kathak and Sarangi in ancient India before performing a number of technical and expressional pieces, and ending with her intricate display of footwork and a Jugalbandi (musical question and answer) between her and Sangeet. She was accompanied by Akhilesh Madhur on Tabla and Basant Madhur on recitation while Sangeet supported her by playing the ‘Tin Taal’ time cycle on Sarangi.

Tribute to Lord Rama

New Zealanders bow-Shama Lal and Chinmaya Dunster WebThe audience was then transported to the spiritual city of Banaras and the simplicity of village life when Sangeet sang two well-known pieces – a Khayal called ‘Sumiran Karo Mann, Ram Naam Ko’ in praise of Lord Rama, and a ‘Mirzapur Khajari,’ a folk song unique to Banaras.

The programme ended with Sangeet’s rendition of ‘Raag Bhairavi.’

‘Sur Taal’

The second programme titled ‘Sur Taal,’ was an evening of Indian Classical music staged by Sangeet Mishra, Basant Madhur and his students from Sargam School of Indian Music on Saturday, July 9 at Blockhouse Bay Community Centre.

The show began with a Saraswathi Vandana, followed by an Instrumental recital in ‘Raag Kafi’ featuring Sitar, Violin and Tabla.

The Tabla recital, set to ‘Tin Taal,’ displayed the various elements of Tabla-playing such as ‘Peshkar,’ ‘Kaydas,’ ‘Rela,’ ‘Tukdas,’ ‘Paran’ and ‘Laggi.’

Deepak Madhur accompanied the students on Harmonium.

‘Auckland Mehfil’

New Zealanders bow-Sargam Madhur, Tiara Kelly and Debraj Kaur WebThe first half also featured Auckland-based Sarod player Chinmaya Dunster, in which he rendered ‘Raag Bairagi,’ set to ‘Tin Taal,’ accompanied by Shama Lal on Tabla.

Born and raised in the United Kingdom, Chinmaya spent many years in India learning and mastering the Sarod.

He is known for his ‘Auckland Mehfil’ concerts that he conducts regularly, spreading and promoting Indian fine arts to the wider community.

Sangeet Mishra presented the second half of the concert.

Beginning with an Alaap in ‘Raag Vachhaspati,’ he rendered the first composition in slow speed set to ‘Ek Taal’ (12 beat cycle), which he developed into medium and fast speed on ‘Tin Taal.’

Akhilesh Madhur and Basant Madhur accompanied him on Tabla.

The Programme ended with ‘Raag Bhairavi’ set to Dadra Taal (six beat cycle), accompanied by Prashant Kumar and Shama Lal on Tabla.

Sangeet Mishra’s visit to New Zealand and the spread of his music from the little-known Sarangi has no doubt won him praise and new fans in this part of the world. We look forward to his visit again in the near future.

*

Photo:

  1. Ratna Venkat performing Kathak to the tunes of Sangeet, Basant and Akhil
  2. Shama Lal keeps up the beat with Chinmaya Dunster
  3. Melody on strings with Sargam Madhur, Tiara Kelly and Debraj Kaur

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