Asom Sangeet Sanmilani presented a rich and memorable experience for the classical music lovers of Assam. To have Ustad Rashid Khan, Shobha Mudgal and Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan on stage in a single venue, and that too on a single night, is something which the Guwahatians could never easily envision. Yet, it happened and what an experience it was for the classical music lovers! Moreover, it was an evening to be remembered because the three very distinguished musicians who had spent their entire life-times practising and promoting Indian classical music, were also felicitated on that very evening.
The function was held in the memory of late Jaya Terangpi, a young woman of the State who had fought a brave battle with cancer, before breathing her last on February 17, 2008. The credit for organising this magnificent show goes to the founder secretary Parash Kumar Bhattacharjee, who perhaps single-handledly managed the entire show. Credit for the show’s success must also go to Mukul Kathar, husband of late Jaya Terangpi. However, one cannot help lamenting the fact that in a State rich in handloom products and in the land of the famous Mekhela Chadar, the artistes were felicitated by young girls dressed in jeans. This unheard of and unseen state of affairs definitely appalled and shocked one and all present there. Nevertheless, the programme started well with the mellifluous voice of Sobha Mudgal.
Shobha Mudgal has a power packed voice and is well known for both her classical and semi-classical renderings. From a tender age itself, she had always displayed an interest and proficiency in Hindustani classical music. Her first teacher was Pt. Ramashareya Jha and she furthered her education under the tutelage of Pt. Vasant Takar, in Delhi. She was also trained by some of the finest musicians and musicologists of India.
Soon, she won recognition as a musician and a composer and her repertoire of medieval mystic and Sufi poetry, included Vaishnava Pushti Marg poets, who are rarely heard today.
Shobha began the evening with her rendering of Raga Puravi. In totality, she rendered three pieces and mesmerised the audience with her high and low notes. She was ably accompanied by her husband on the tabla. She sang for more than an hour and left her audience quite satisfied. Next came Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan, with his unique rendering of the sitar. He played Raga Bhagashree and amazed the audience with his mastery over the instrument. Each note he played, whether in the fast or slow tempo, came out crystal clear. This clearly indicated his luminous mastery and skills. It is said that he has acquired expertise over both Gaayaki ang and Laaykari ang. Perhaps that is what makes his performances so invigorating. He was accompanied well on the tabla. One cannot help but mention that the piece which he played made the performance all the more enjoyable. Ustadji’s notes, which emanated while playing the sitar, left the audience craving for more. His absolute authority over sur was remarkable. It is worth mentioning that even within the rigid framework of classical music, he has been successful in creating his own unique style.
Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan Saheb belongs to the seventh generation of the famous Etawah Gharana in sitar playing. Ustadji was introduced to vocal music and tabla by his illustrious father Ustad Aziz Khan, before he got initiated into playing the sitar. In Ustad Shahid Parvez’s performance, one finds a unique combination of the Gayaki ang and the Tanta Kari ang. Over the years, he has successfully created a distinct genre of instrumental music and has evolved a distinct style of his own.
Even as the evening turned into night, the audience was eagerly waiting for a glimpse of the famed Ustad Rashid Khan. With him occupying the centre-stage, one could not help but expect the purest and the highest form of Indian classical music from him. He began with Raga Jog Kosh and the slow elaboration of vilambhit khayals, for which he is well-known. He is specially known for the use of sargams and sargam taankari. His taankaari was powerful and variegated. For almost an hour, he sang the raga and left his audience spell-bound. He ended his performance with a dhun in Raga Bhairavi. Ustad Rashid Khan is the great grandson of the founder of the Rampur Sahaswan Gharana, Ustad Enayat Hussain Khan. Today, he is the perfect exponent of the Rampur Sahaswan Gharana. Rashid Khan is extremely, adept in playing all techniques and characteristic features of this gharana. He is a master of the tarana and sings in his own manner. His vocal prowess is one of the best in the Rampur Sahaswan Gharana tradition.