Veteran flautist Vivek Sonar has been playing the Pied Pier for the past five years. Now, bringing together a bunch of talented bansuri players from the country, Sonar has put forth an enchanting annual show titled, Gurukul Prathishthan's Bansuri Utsav. From its humble beginnings featuring a bunch of musical talents, the concert, now its fifth edition, will bring together more than 100 flautists from the country.
"The idea is to make the flute more accessible. At music festivals, flute players are just accompaniments, so I thought of putting them in the fore and give them all the attention they deserve," says Sonar, a disciple of celebrated flautist Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, who also will be performing at the two-day event.
The ensemble of 100 flautists will straddle through Hindustani, Carnatic and Western classical as they perform in unison at the symphony concert. What's more, the flute symphony will feature three generations of flautists. Apart from solo recitals and jugalbandhis by maestros like Anindo Chatterjee and Vikku Vinayakram, the concert will also see two eight-year-olds, Ashay Dagale and Anudip Malavi, synchronise their sound with the melodies produced by 85-year-old flautist Urmila Vaidya.
No doubt, Chaurasia feels the concert is a great platform to spot young talent. "To see the magic of this ancient instrument come alive by children barely eight years old is a pure delight," adds the 73-year-old Padma Vibhushan awardee.
Featuring a varied age group of musicians, the concert however has a skewed sex ratio, with barely 10 women bansuri players. "It's not like the flute is male-centric. I have many female students, but most of them cannot dedicate the hours required for preparations.
My classes sometimes begin in the evenings and go on till 11 in the night, and most women students leave by then," Sonar explains.
Chaurasia, who is currently working on a new album, plans to perform evening ragas at the concert. Ask him what he thinks of bringing together three different schools of music and he's quick to say, "Fusion's not a bad thing, if it's done the right way. The bansuri can complement the saxophone and the trumpet too," he feels.
However, the stickler for tradition snubs bansuri players looking beyond the bamboo stick. Ask him what he thinks of celebrated flautist Naveen Kumar's inventive version of the bansuri and he says, "The flute's been with us through ancient mythology, as far back as Lord Krishna. It's such a pure instrument and to play with its form is to disrespect it," says Chaurasia.
Bansuri Utsav will take place at Shivsamarth School in Thane today and tomorrrow.