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Tabla Manch Pravesh: Siddha Karjee

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Tabla Manch Pravesh: Siddha Karjee

Siddha Karjee (15 years old) enthralled an audience of music lovers at his Tabla Manch Pravesh on Saturday, September 16th, 2023 at the Chinmaya Mission Auditorium in Andover, MA. Siddha, a sophomore at Needham High School, has been a disciple of Pandit Nishikant Sonwalkar for over 10 years. Pandit/Dr. Nishikant Sonwalkar is an academician, a scientist, an entrepreneur and a talented tabla (hand drums originating in the Indian subcontinent) player and teacher in the Boston area.

Manch Pravesh, or stage debut, is a milestone of great importance for a student of Indian classical music. It is a public performance by the shishya (student) after the guru (teacher) determines that the shishya has acquired the necessary skills. Before an audience of family and friends, the student presents what he has learnt thus far, and commits to continuing the tradition with his Guru’s blessing.

The program started with a warm welcome to the audience, followed by the Ganda-Bandhan ritual, the age-old tradition of tying of the sacred thread, which is believed to create a sacred bond between Guru and Shishya, symbolizing the transmission of the art.

Pandit Nishikant’s informative presentation before the start of the concert outlined the history and background of the tabla as a centuries-old Indian classical music art form, as well as the gharanas (lineages) or schools of teaching; it was very well received and appreciated.

During the first half of his Manch Pravesh, Siddha showcased the melodious rhythmic patterns of the Tabla as a solo instrument, starting the program with Keherva and DeepChandi, and showing tremendous control over the bols and the rhythm. His energetic and enthusiastic rendition of the TeenTaal and its delightful kaydas, peshkars and parans along with his stage presence, clearly confirming his own enjoyment of the music, thoroughly entertained the audience.

Siddha was superbly accompanied by a talented orchestra - on the flute was Shri Sujeet Phanse, on the harmonium was Shri Hirak Modi and on the Mandolin was Shri Vikaasa Ramdas. Aishani Mukherjee, an undergrad at University of Maryland, accompanied Siddha on the tanpura.

In the second half of the program, Siddha had the privilege of vocal and instrumental accompaniment along with his guru and other eminent artists from the community. The auditorium resonated with the beautiful vocals of Smt. Indrani Mukherjee (and her daughter Aishani Mukherjee), an accomplished Hindustani classical music vocalist and student of the renowned maestro, the late Pandit A.T. Kanan. The ethereal and soulful sounds of the flute then kept the audience captivated as Shri Sujeet Phanse demonstrated his mastery of the instrument. Next, Shri Vikaasa Ramadas on the mandolin and Shri Hirak Modi on the harmonium presented “Koyaliya Bole Ambua Ki Daali”’ in raag malkauns. The program ended with a beautiful bhajan by Smt. Kumkum Dilwali.

Over dinner afterwards, as concert attendees mingled, conversed and commented on his performance, Siddha reflected on his gratitude to his Guru for his years of teaching and gentle guidance and confirmed his resolve to continue his musical journey.

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