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Pandit Jasraj: Ultimate in Classical Performance

06/25/2010

By Jyoti Kulkarni

Pandit Jasraj

Pandit Jasraj-ji receiving flowers offered by the Consul General of India, Mr. Sanjeev Arora

HOUSTON: Padma Vibhushan Pandit Jasraj created naad brahma, the ultimate in music, at his vocal rendition of Hindustani classical music concert at the new Stafford Civic Center  on Sunday June 20th.

I have heard many of Panditji™s concerts, which always create unmatched spiritual energy, but there was ethereal ecstacy in this particular performance that was hosted by the India Music Society (IMS)  and the Center for Indian Classical Music of Houston (CICMH).

Panditji started by singing Vilambit khayal in raag Madhuvanti followed by Din Ka Puriya (Puriya is otherwise considered a night raaga). He ended the first half by rendering Haveli sangeet. Sanjiv Arora, Consul General of India, was the chief guest for the concert in celebration of the 80th birth anniversary of Pandit Jasraj. CG Arora said that Panditji™s music is a soul stirring, spiritually uplifting musical experience, before he read out a proclamation in Panditji™s honor.

In the second half, Panditji sang a shloka of Adi Shankaracharya Bhaje Vrajeh Kanandanam Samasta Paap Khandanam in raag Darbari Kaanada. With a sense of humor, Panditji said that the rendition might put the listeners to sleep, but at the end of the recital, the entire near-capacity audience was on its feet, applauding at the heart and soul stirring rendition.

Jasrajji then  concluded his recital with Karar Vinden in raag Nat Bhairav. With all the accompanying artistes singing recurring lines of Govind Damodar Madhaveti, the maestro, whose voice even today travels in all three octaves effortlessly, took the audience into a transcendental trance, creating heaven on earth.

It is admirable to see the Sangeet Martand, who has achieved so much in the Indian classical music world to give thanks to God by saying, Woh  jo chahta hai,  wohi gawata hai aur wohi suna deta hai. I believe it is this bhakti and humility that makes Pandit Jasraji™s music divine.

Pandit Jasraj was accompanied by his ardent and able followers who are well known exponents of the present generation of Mewati gharana: Pandit Suman Ghosh of Houston, and Pandita Tripti Mukherjee of New York. Superb percussion accompaniment was provided by Pandit Samir Chatterjee on the tabla. Chatterjee is on the faculty of Yale University. Local artiste Hemant Bhavsar accompanied the vocal artistes on the manjira along with young inductees to the Mewati gharana, Amaya and Apoorva Swami Ghosh on the taanpura and they even joined the vocalists during the chanting of Govind Damodar.

Panditji is currently on a concert tour throughout the US to celebrate  his 80th birth anniversary. Both Pandit Suman Ghosh and Pandita Tripti Banarjee have been instrumental in arranging this concert tour. The emceess for the evening were Sonal Bhuchar and Anil Sheth. After the concert, Panditji was felicitated with an arati by Archna Tripathi on behalf of the CICMH and by  Suresh Shenoy and Rucha Sheth of IMS with the presentation of  shawls.