It’s almost like a big family gathering, albeit of musicians. As Hindustani classical vocalist Begum Parveen Sultana puts it, “Performing for this event over the last two decades has been like singing around my own family members.” The celebrated Patiala gharana vocalist will take to the stage tonight at the opening day of the 35th Gunidas Sangeet Sammelan.
The three-day music festival will also feature performances by renowned names such as Pt Jasraj, Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Shrinivas Joshi and Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia among others.
Sultana, known for her mastery of khayal and thumri genres, shares that what makes this classical music festival unique is the patronage it receives from regulars.“I look forward to performing here every year because we get a selective and appreciative audience every time. I’m glad that the city has people who are huge followers of Indian classical music” she says.
Started in 1977 by Pt CR Vyas in the memory of his guru Pt Jagannath Buwa Purohit, also known as Gunidas, the concert has seen exceptional performers over the years, including Pt Ravi Shankar, Niladri Kumar and Kishori Amonkar.
Since the demise of Pt Vyas, his sons Suhas and Satish have been helming the musical gala every year. Says Suhas, “We try to keep up the same standards that my father established when he started the festival. As a kid, I would see him leaving no stone unturned to organise it to the best of his abilities and now, our lives are dedicated to keep the ‘parampara’ of classical music form alive.
Pt Gunidas had contributed immensely to the Indian classical tradition. Besides the ragas that he developed, his biggest gift has been in the sphere of ‘laya’ or rhythm. By focusing on the significance of laya, he transformed the ambience in which a performer delivers his art.”
Suhas adds that the festival also attempts to provide a medium for performers to establish a closer connect with the audience. “Every performer is allotted a time of one-and-a-half hour in which he or she can not only get a chance to perform to their satisfaction but also establish a great communication with the audience,” he says.
Note by note
DAY ONE (Dec 1)
Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt on Mohan Veena
Vocal recital by Begum Parveen Sultana
DAY TWO (Dec 2)
Vocal recital by Pt Suhas Vyas
Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia on flute
DAY THREE (Dec 3)
Vocal recital by Shrinivas Joshi
Sarod performance by Amaan Ali Khan
Vocal recital Recital by Pt Jasraj
At Nehru Centre Auditorium, Dr. Annie Besant Road, 6.30 pm daily. For tickets, contact Rhythm House, 4322 2727