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Times of India (TOI): History to play at 33rd Saptak

Posted by ElJay Arem (IMC OnAir) on January 2, 2013

By Kannan Somasundaram, TNN | Jan 2, 2013, 03.43 AM IST

AHMEDABAD: The 33rd edition of the annual Saptak music festival began in Ahmedabad on Tuesday. It is arguably India’s longest festival of its kind, and without doubt, the most prominent platform in the country for the classical music pantheon. When titans perform, they gift music lovers with unquantifiable beauty; so it is usually difficult to find measurable highlights of the festival.

However, Saptak-33 presents two signature moments that can be marked as records. The first involves Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, the sarod maestro who is among the original divinities of Indian music. In the current Saptak season, Khan-sahab and his two sons – Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan – will for the first time ever render solo recitals at the same festival. “We have often performed together,” Ustad Amjad Ali Khan told TOI. “But this will be a first. Saptak organizers must be complimented for this.”

It is to the maestro’s enormous credit that he then made a statement of extraordinary charm – despite his stature. “I hope we all receive the love and blessings of people of Ahmedabad,” Ustad Amjad Ali Khan said.

The second signature moment of the festival was surcharged with poignancy and manifested itself on the inaugural day when illustrious sitarist Manju Mehta stepped on to the stage to perform at the Amrut Mody School of Management. Manju Mehta has not been part of the festival’s artiste list since the loss of her husband, Pandit Nandan Mehta – the Saptak founder – in 2010. “There were personal reasons I did not perform at Saptak for two years,” Manju Mehta told TOI. “I was emotionally disturbed by the loss of panditji.” But both music lovers and classical music icons have warmly hailed her for sustaining India’s important cultural legacy despite the tragedy which resulted in the loss of a figure who was Saptak’s critical artistic force.

On Tuesday, Manju Mehta rendered Raga Charu Kauns. “It is a raga created by my guru Pandit Ravi Shankar. It is a blend of Ragas Charukeshi and Malkauns,” she said. “I dedicate my recital as my homage to him.” Music colossus Pandit Ravi Shankar had passed away in December 2012 in the US. It was with his blessings that the festival began in 1980.

As for the making of sarod history in Ahmedabad, Amaan Ali Khan will perform on January 5; Ayaan Ali Khan on January 7; and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan on January 10.

(Source: 01/02/2012 – Times of India (TOI) | City » Ahmedabad)


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