A Musical Evening

Yesterday was a grand musical evening at Shanmukhananda Hall, in Mumbai. It was an anniversary celebration of the 24/7 TV channel INSYNC which is dedicated to classical music based programmes. The concerts lasted for 5 hours

It was a star-studded evening packed with back to back performances by maestros like Perveen Sultana, Rahul Sharma and Hariprasad Chaurasia. Rahul Sharma on Santoor was superb. He played Hamsadhwani Raga alap followed by 3 compositions. He is proving himself to be a true disciple of the legendary Santoor player Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, who is his father. This was followed by vocal by Parveen Sultana with a melodious voice. The ease with which Parveen Sultana covers a range across 3 octaves at this age is simply amazing. It was a great treat.

If you want to relax or de-stress after a long day, it’s through Hindustani music for sure. I have no doubts about that.

Afer such a great musical experience, I should have just returned home. But I decided to stay on for the next concert which was the so-called Fusion concert. Why did I stay on? Just because that was my first opportunity to listen to Fusion and my ticket included the last session as well. While I thoroughly enjoyed the Hindustani concerts, Fusion music had the opposite effect. Whatever meditative experience I had earlier was effectively neutralized by the sheer noise of fusion. I completely agree with several purists who refer to Fusion as Confusion. What was on offer? Drums, Mridangam, Two sets of Tablas accompanying a raw musician with no voice culture. With all this, one can easily imagine the decibel level in a closed auditorium. As if this is not enough, a novice Kathak dancer added to the confusion. I was tempted to conclude that only failed classical music artists end up as Fusion artists. However, that is not the case. You also have some big names like Hariprasad Chaurasia, Vijay Ghate etc associated with Fusion. I wonder why such big guys have to put up with all this nonsense. The answer perhaps lies in the fact that it is definitely more popular and the overflowing hall is enough proof of this. So, why worry about aesthetics when there is plenty of money to be made by playing to the gallery?  On that jarring note (pun intended) I left the hall. It’s heartening to know that there are several great and talented musicians who have resisted the temptation and are sticking to classical traditions.

As I walked out in the middle of the concert, I met an old friend of mine outside the hall. He asked me: Did we have to sit and listen to this trash after a soulful classical concert?  I replied jokingly: It would have been alright if the order of concerts were reversed – first the fusion music, then the pure classical music!

Tailpiece:

A disciple asked a master: Can I, smoke, sir,  after doing meditation? The master roared with an emphatic NO. After a while another disciple asked: Sir, Can I meditate after smoking? The master replied: Yes, of course!

I guess the same logic holds for classical music and fusion music as well.

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Published in: on August 24, 2014 at 10:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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