Nayan Ghosh, tabla and sitar player, Juhu
In the Khar house where tabla and sitar virtuoso Nayan Ghosh grew up in the 1960s, visits by the leading figures of Indian classical music were a regular feature.
One of the more special guests was Ravi Shankar, who had been a good friend of Ghosh’s father and tabla maestro Nikhil Ghosh since the 1940s, when Shankar moved from Almora to Borivli in Mumbai.
“My father and Panditji had performed together numerous times and when they met, often at my uncle Pannalal Ghosh’s house in Malad, they would spend hours performing and discussing music,” says Ghosh, 56, who was a disciple of his father and an admirer of Shankar.
In the late 1980s and early 90s, Ghosh had the opportunity to perform with Shankar for a number of concerts. “Panditji took a keen interest in my development as a musician. He was an open-minded person and had a special rapport with younger musicians. He always made me feel comfortable accompanying him.”
Ghosh has fond memories of several long conversations with Shankar about his life, music and changes in Indian classical tradition.
Ravi Shankar performs at a baithak concert with Nayan Ghosh on the tabla, at Sangit Mahabharti, Juhu, in 1990. Photo Courtesy: Sangit Mahabharati Archives
“As a musician, I have been deeply inspired by his creative genius, boundless energy, sharp intellect, charisma and joy which reflected truly in his dynamic music,” he says.
“His masterful ability to adapt his performances to suit different audiences without compromising on the purity of the traditional content was the biggest lesson to the following generation.”
Today, Ghosh performs both the sitar and the tabla in concerts around the world and teaches more than 25 disciples across the country. He is the principal and managing trustee of Sangit Mahabharati, a music school and research institute in Juhu that was founded by his father in 1956.