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Musical 'jugalbandi' with a difference

A rare treat of fusion by Shujaat Husain Khan and Slawomir Kulpowicz.

india Updated: Jun 17, 2006 17:30 IST

Music lovers in this Polish capital were treated to a rare musical fusion as sitarist Shujaat Husain Khan, son of the legendary Ustad Vilayat Khan and noted Polish pianist Slawomir Kulpowicz together created beautiful music.

In India, many musicians present 'jugalbandi', playing different instruments together like Ravi Shankar on the sitar and Ali Akbar Khan on the sarod, or V.G. Jog on the violin and Bismillah Khan on the shehnai, or Amjad Ali Khan on the sarod and Lalgudi Jayaraman on the violin.

But it was a special night at the Filharmonia Narodowa Hall here as east and west blended in perfect harmony and the audience was left spellbound during the three-hour recital.                                                                          

    Shujaat Husain Khan

If Shujaat played Indian ragas along with tabla support from Arunangshu Choudhury, Kulpowicz provided inputs from western classical music along with base guitarist Krzystof Scieranski.

The ambience was breezy and lilting as the notes flowed freely. No one knew from where the next note would be played but not once did the musicians falter; such was the level of understanding between them.

After the concert, an emotional Janusz Krzyzowski, president of the Polish Indian Cultural Committee, could only utter "a sheer delight".

"I never expected that four good musicians could give us a lifetime experience. All of them were superb in presenting their talent. The details were so absorbing that even now I don't know how I can come out of this trance!" Krzyzowski, a noted Indologist who has written many books on India, told IANS.

Kulpowicz, who is trained in western classical music, became attracted towards Indian music and philosophy and he became a devotee of a Hindu guru in Orissa in the 1980s.

Then he met Khan and the two started experimenting with fusion music. They even brought out a record together.

"It was my dream to play with Shujaat in Warsaw and I have accomplished it this evening," said Kulpowicz.

Shujaat, who was very pleased with the concert, said it was entirely due to Kulpowicz's commitment and dedication that the programme had been a success.

"There are few noble souls better than Kulpowicz in this field in Poland. We have made our own sangam (confluence). I hope we can repeat this in India in the near future," Shujaat said.

Indian Minister of State of External Affairs Anand Sharma, who is on an official visit here, also attended the concert.