Raaga-Rang Brings Warm April Showers!
(This article is sponsored by Masala Art)
Raaga-Rang 2014 once again swept in with a torrent of melodies and drenched an overflowing auditorium with unforgettable music! A bewitched evening that reverberated on both sides of the stage. The artists and the audience, in a perfectly symbiotic relationship, carried each other to ecstasy!
“Greatest Show ... the quality, rhythm and the sound par excellence. New dimension of music.” ~Puran Dang
The show began with a melodious invocation by Shuchita’s students, Anusha and Radha, accompanied by Rohit on harmonium. After the introductory narrations by Pallavi and Vanita began an eclectic flight into the land of Raaga and Rasa.
All the singers were in their best form and with the theme song Raaga-Rang the storm clouds started to gather. The show began with raaga Ahir-Bhairav, an early morning raaga with the quality to reach down into your hearts and create pathos. After a gut wrenching rendition of ‘Poochho Na kaise' by Shekhar, Dilip and Sowmya established a high benchmark with the song “Alabela Sajan” from the movie Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. They were accompanied by a charged orchestra consisting of Christy, Hiral, Sujeet, Anirudh, and Chris.
Dilip mesmerized the audience with his flawless rendition of 'Nindati Chandana', a canto from the Geeta Govinda. This was followed by Meesha’s melodious 'Chandani ratein'. Shuchita Rao's Kaafi bandish brought both gravitas and the colorful flavor of Holi to the show. Well-known singer Anuradha Palakurthi introduced the maestro Pt. Ravi Shankar and added a surprise element to the event. This was followed by an energetic 'Holi Khelat Nandlal” with its carillon chorus.
Vijay came in strong with ‘Main to ik khvab' a sentimental opening to Todi; Shuchita's alaap in 'Raina Beeti jaaye' with Chris's keyboard was simply stunning. Then came Uma with 'Thaye Yashoda' with Christy, Hiral, Pravin and Anirudh in their elements. Her euphonious voice and the charged orchestra stole the show!
Raag Des began with the chorus singing 'Vande Mataram' and spread patriotic fervor in the audience in an instant. Then, Meena and Vijay went on an emotional rampage with 'Aji Rooth kar', followed by another assault on the already vulnerable psyches with Meena and Sankar’s super hit 'Jiya lage Na'. The keyboard and drums accompaniment were simply out of this world.
Raaga Malkauns was launched gloriously with Sowmya's Kannada 'Neenu neene', and what with fabulous accompaniment from Pravin, Christy and Sujeet. The classic 'Man tarapat' in Sankar's strident notes. A wave of euphoria and pathos washed over the audience as he called out for Murali Manohar, with help from the perfectly balanced chorus. The rhythmic interaction with the audience led by Dilip, Pravin and Pranav followed by the Malkauns taraana was rapturous. Pranav and Pravin’s pulsating rhythms and Sujeet’s mellifluous interludes on the flute were the icing on the cake.
“I have never seen or heard a superb program like this.” ~Shobha Shastry
Kumkum Mallik introduced a new element to Raaga-Rang, Rabindra Sangeet, which was performed beautifully by Shubhra.
Dilip came in with a delightful dimension. A Mehdi Hassan ghazal in his mellow and rich voice was loved by the audience. In a fun duet, Shekhar and Sowmya performed the Telugu version of the glorious composer IIlaiyaraja's Keeravani followed by the Tamil version by Sankar and his wife Uma. The couple’s loving embrace was not lost on the audience!
The audience sang along with Meena and Vijay’s “Savan ka mahina”, while Sankar’s “Chaoonga main tujhe” sent them into a stunned silence! Harish Dang’s heartfelt introduction to Suchitra Sen was followed by Meena soulful rendition of 'Rahein Na rahein hum'. Her resonant and emotion filled voice not only brought Suchitra Sen alive but also moved many to tears.
Siraj Khan introduced Manna Dey so authentically, which was followed by a stunning rendition of ‘Bhaya Bhanjana’ by Shekhar. The raaga Malhar segment continued with the enchanting voice of Sowmya singing 'Bole re Papihara' with Chris' fabulous keyboard and Pranav superb tabla. Shuchita's conclusion of Raaga Malhar in her honeyed tones, in a raagamalika 'Malhar ke ang' woven in multiple taalas, was simply enrapturing.
The finale with raaga Bhairavi was spellbinding! Meesha's 'Tera Mera Pyar' was sung with such sweet innocence and Dilip and Sowmya's 'Ajahun Na Aaye' was absolutely riveting! Then the Bhairavi Tarana was truly a grand finale. The entire auditorium seemed to reverberate the notes, and for the second year in a row, Meru Education Foundation proved that the classical can indeed be melded with the popular to create the exceptional!
Classical music is like a picture seen through a kaleidoscope, enabling music enthusiasts to generate their own unique experience. Raaga-Rang is that doorway to self-exploration.
The Raaga-Rang vocal team was made up by Shuchita Rao, Meena Sundaram, Sowmya Shree Sandeep, Uma Sankar, Meesha Acharya, Sankar Gangaikondan, Dilip Acharya, Shekhar Shastri, Vijay Kumar, Shubhra Bhattacharya Chandra, Radha Rao and Anusha Kulkarni.
The instrumental orchestra consisted of Christy Mathew, Chris Pereji, Dilip Acharya, Hiral Parikh, Pranav Gatraju, Pravin Sitaram, Sujeet Phanse, Anirudh Nagesha and Rohit Rao. The team had 5 teenagers ranging from 14 to 18 years of age. Kudos to Meru for nurturing such budding talent.
The pitch perfect sound was rendered by Jawed Wahid. Photographs are courtesy of Ashok Devata.
“Touched my heart, stirring a rainbow of emotions with the evocative enunciations of each Raag. A remarkably intelligent presentation, raising the bar for the casual listener, and very inspirational for the tender, new trainees in our musical heritage.” ~Anu Bandopadhay
The second edition of Raaga-Rang has reestablished the Meru brand, known for quality, efficiency, and aesthetics. We hope to see many more events under the Meru banner and look forward to more Edutainment.
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