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Veterans of classical music entertain Generation X

NEW DELHI, January 18: Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia struck just the right chord amongst his young university audience with his opening re...

NEW DELHI, January 18: Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia struck just the right chord amongst his young university audience with his opening rendition of Raga Yaman on his famed flute.

While introducing his young disciple Vishal, he remembered his youth and the days he tried to flourish his skills on the flute in front of the girls’ hostel but the gatekeeper would not let him. “These days it’s so easy for us and for younger artists to perform in a girls’ college,” he remarked and had the audience, most of them students, in splits.

The noted flautist, along with Hindustani classical vocalist Ulhas Kashalkar, was performing at the inaugural concert of Fest ’99 organised by Spic Macay (Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Amongst Youth) at IP College. Fest ’99 will be an all-India festival of about 500 programmes involving some of the leading names in the business.

The festival this year has been dedicated to the late Japanese film-maker Akira Kurosawa and Dhrupad singer Pandit Siyaram Tiwari, who passed away last year.

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Other artists who will perform in the festival at different schools and colleges in about 100 cities include vocalist Gangubai Hangal, Ustad Fahimuddin Dagar (Dhrupad), Ustad Asad Ali Khan (Rudra Veena), Pandit Birju Maharaj (kathak), Girija Devi, Bharati Shivaji (Mohiniattam) and Leela Samson (bharatanatyam) among others.

The festival aims to create an awareness of the country’s cultural heritage among the youth through Indian classical music and dance. And going by the audience’s response at IP College it has succeeded in doing so to some extent. Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia was greeted with loud cheers but at the same time there were not many takers for the Hindustani classical vocal rendered in Raga Malwa by Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar. Obviously, for the young instrumental music falls easier on the ears instead of the more `complicated’ vocal recitals, reasoned an IP College second year student Ratna.

A brief tribute to Akira Kurosawa, to whom the festival has been dedicated, was given by Aruna `Cine Maya’ Vasudev. She spoke of 1952 when Kurosawa stunned the world with his gripping Roshoman and then followed it up with Seven Samurai. Pandit Siyaram Tiwari was remembered by pandit Abhayanarayan Mallik, a famous vocalist of the Darbhanga Gharana.


And in order to make the audience understand the classical music of the two maestros a little better, music critic Raghav Menon gave brief insight into the performances. “Though very little belongs to us today in totality, even our Constitution has been borrowed from others, our classical music and dance still remain ours completely untouched by western influences,” he said, stressing on the need to preserve the uniqueness of our tradition. And there were a lot of young heads nodding in agreement.

First published on: 19-01-1999 at 12:00:00 am
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