Tune into the season of Indian classical music concerts in Mumbai
Come January, the city readies for the season of outdoor concerts, events and festivals. There’s a nip in the air, the flamingos are here and in between plays, New Year resolutions and stand-up, there’s some of the year’s best classical music events.
The 29th annual Hridayesh Festival, a three-day open-air bash, starts on January 11. This year’s line-up features Hindustani vocalists Ustad Rashid Khan, Shaswati Mandal, Pandit Venkatesh Kumar and Mukul Shivputra, and santoor player Rahul Sharma.
There are also, ragas by the sea. Spiritual Mornings debuted in 2002 and has featured tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, sarod virtuoso Amjad Ali Khan and singer Shankar Mahadevan.
“Think of it like a peace concert…devoid of any religion but that of music,” says Shashi Vyas, founder-director of Pancham Nishad, which organises this event as well as Pratahswar.
The 17th edition of Spiritual Mornings features a 6.30am concert by Carnatic vocalist duo Ranjani and Gayatri and Hindustani classical vocalist Kaushiki Chakraborty at the Gateway of India, overlooking the Arabian Sea.
“It’s going to be a jugalbandi (duet) as Hindustani and Carnatic music come together and that’ll be really beautiful,” says Gayatri.
“In Carnatic music, we don’t have ragas associated with time, so we’ll be picking up the counterpart of Hindustani morning ragas to create magic,” Gayatri says.
“Unke raaste alag hai par manzil ek hain (their routes are different but the destination is the same),” Vyas adds, referring to the fusion.
Pratahswar began in 2006 as an early morning Sunday concert series held monthly in Mumbai from October to May. “We’ve had maestros perform for our landmark events — 50th and 75th — so it is fitting to get Begum Parveen Sultana for our 100th edition,” says Vyas.
Performing morning ragas for an early morning concert was enticing, adds Begum Sultana. “In Maharashtra, people are interested in vocal music and I adore the audience for that,” she says.
MOON ON THE WATER
When sitar maestro Nishat Khan thinks of Mumbai — a city he has grown up in — he thinks of the shimmering reflection of the moon on the silent sea at Marine Drive. This, he says, is the inspiration behind his solo concert, Moon on The Water, at the Royal Opera House.
“I’ve always been fascinated by the moon; it’s the most beautiful thing in the world. So my compositions will take the audience to a zone where you think of nights, stars and moonlight,” says Khan, who’s performing in Mumbai after almost two years.
For now, he’s delighted that this is his debut performance at the majestic heritage site.
“This city’s audience is knowledgeable about classical music. They’re sensitive yet serious listeners and they know the ragas, making it seem like we’re both on a musical journey,” Khan said.
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