Sunday, September 30, 2007

Swar Sagar By Praveen Godkhindi

The sound from a flute is mesmerizing, and when played by certain gifted geniuses, gives the rasikas a feel of intense joy, or allows one to enjoy the depth presented by the gloomy blues kinda composition- a feeling brought about by the choice of the raga, the occasion, and the rendition.

By some good
karma , I had been to mangalore with a good friend of mine[1], who had an extra ticket to the Praveen Godkhindi concert. The extra ticket belonged to another good friend[2], who is out in bengaluru right now, and couldn't make it due to a GREat academic rush [ Best of luck].
Anyways, this concert is part of a state-wide tour by the famous flautist trio; three generations playing together on stage. Master Shadaj Godkhindi,Sur-Mani Praveen Godkhindi and Pandit Venkatesh Godkhindi.

The programme is called Swar Sagar, conducted by Aalap events & Media. An innovative idea, getting three generations under one roof, connected by a common skill to display their unique edge at playing the Bansuri. This was held at the
T.M.A. Pai Convention Centre in Mangalore. A huge auditorium with the architecture of a skydome, and with the lighting set to give the ambience of a night sky.

The performance began with a solo piece from Master.Shadaj in the Raag Hansadhwani. He has picked up the art pretty well, drawing from techniques that his father usually displays. He might not be a child prodigy, yet given that he is 6 , he is sure to make a mark in the world of music in the times to come. The rendition was deep, and carried with grace. His high swaras are not yet upto mark, and he is yet to cope up with playing at a high pace, both of which can be easily improved considering the company in which he is in. Hansadhwani is not an easy Raag to pull off, hence the effort was commendable.

The next item was the center-piece of the show, the trio performance. The Raag chosen was Yaman, to be played in two gats. As each performer , with the tabla being the fourth element, played their piece, the audience was spell-bound at the family's talents.As the tempo increased, and the four players converged to the last beat , we realised that we saw a really unique , and spectacular performance. With co-ordination brought about solely by experience, the flow between the various artists was very smooth.

One of the advantages as well as drawbacks of being regularly exposed to SPIC MACAY concerts is that, after witnessing brilliant, inspiring performances, with well-behaved , and a cultured audience, we find it tough to fully appreciate concerts in which the audience keeps moving about or the stage is set to include various special effects, lightning etc. That concentration, the oneness with the music is hard to get, with all these nonsense floating around. This stands as an appeal to the organisers.

The famous fusion band "Krishna" performed next. Godkhindi is involved with this band for a number of years now, and they've collaborated with a number of lead artists, showing the diversity as well as similarity that exists between various forms, hindusthani, carnatic, and western. Praveen Godkhindi, having learnt the styles of different gharanas, as well as exposed to carnatic shaili, can adapt to various genres with ease. They played raag Bhoop / Mohana , and then the famous composition Midnight trek which I think was in the Raag Malkhauns.

The artist took some time to interact with the audience on issues close to him. He brought up the issue of commercial concerts. Should there be ticket versions of concerts, or should they be of a " free- show" variety. He mentioned that artists get an extra impulse to perform if he is monetarily supported, even if it's nominal. Agreed. The rasikas should be patrons to the artists. Then he said that the audience are more involved coz they've paid for it. That, I feel was utter nonsense. People who've taken pains to take the tickets, come there for the love of the art, to see great musicians perform, to enjoy, and be inspired from the music. If it was free, many more interested people would have been part of the audience, that's all.

Over-all a memorable evening, getting to see an artist perform live, whose music for me was so far limited to mp3's.[ not a patron, in this case; me sorry]

[1]- Aparna
[2]- Saranya

P.P.S- In case you're wondering why I've added so many references in my post, that's coz I've been reading a hajaar research papers of late.