Noted American saxophone player George Brooks won hearts in Varanasi through his rendition of pure Indian classical ragas at the Sankatmochan Temple as musical prayers to Lord Hanuman.
As Brooks, who wore the traditional white kurta and pajama, stepped on the dais, the audience gave him a rousing welcome by chanting Har Har Mahadev and raising their hands. The chants were followed by a big round of applause.
“This is a matter of great honour to get a chance to perform at the auspicious premises of Lord Sankatmochan Hanuman Temple. I am quite delighted over coming here. For me, this is a great occasion,” Brooks said before starting his performance at the Sankatmochan Sangeet Samaroh.
As he picked up his saxophone, a completely charged audience enthusiastically chanted Har Har Mahadev. Brooks too joined the chant before starting his performance.
Accompanied by Deepak Pandit on violin, young and talented artist Ojas on tabla and renowned artist Pandit Bhavani Shankar on pakhawaj, Brooks played raga Charukeshi and thumri on saxophone, leaving the audience completely mesmerised. He also performed with tabla maestro Sabir Ali.
As he played one raga after another, the tunes of his saxophone and the accompanying violin, tabla, and pakhawaj won the hearts of the audience. The artists on the dais were also all praise for Brooks even during his performance.
Many in the audience went to him and congratulated him for his heart-winning performance.
“Performing at this festival is a great spiritual experience. The way they encouraged us with rounds of thunderous clapping is evident of the fact that they enjoyed every moment of our performance,” Brooks told Hindustan Times after the performance.
“I would love to perform here again. I will keep coming to Varanasi. Giving a performance before such a beautiful audience motivates us for coming out with more and more enthralling tunes. I really enjoyed every moment. Wonderful event,” the artist added.
“I am going back with pleasant memories with a promise to come back next year.”
Brook, who visited Varanasi around 31 years ago, landed in the holy city on Saturday. On Sunday morning, he paid a visit to the ghats where he walked from one ghat to another.
He said he noticed a lot of waste in the river from the famous Dashashwamedh Ghat and that the flowing waste, including polythene bags, papers, and other things, disappointed him.
“I saw polythene and other wastes flowing on the Ganga’s surface at many stretches. This is really disappointing. There is no change on ground as far as cleaning the Ganga is concerned,” Brooks said.
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