Vasantotsav 2015 : A Report 

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Report Day ‘0’ – Thursday 15th Jan 2015

As a part of pre-festival warm up , “conference on classical music”  or “Vasantotsav Vimarsh” ,was organized  where Dr Deepak Raja , the well known author and critique of classical music, gave a talk in hindi “Raag tattva par ek Drushtikon” ( राग तत्व पर एक दृष्टिकोण ) – A very well researched , conceived and presented with the help of powerpoint presentation in a professional manner. It was a treat to true classical music connoisseurs.
The other three presentations that followed were poor , pathetic and disappointing !
I just feel fortunate that I could meet and talk to Dr Deepak Raja in person whose wonderful blog on classical music and books , I have been reading for over 10 years ! Unfortunately I could not escape after his lecture like many of the connoisseurs ,pandits and elders , who did not stay to hear the bums !

Report Day 1 – Friday 16th Jan 2015 

Vasantotsav is one of the best of the festivals organized in Pune. It stands out for its professional management , good clean venue , seating arrangement , Audio-Video systems, Food stalls , wide range and high grade superlative artists. A perfect blend of traditional classical music and current trend of music. One can see a perfect program-project management / event management in action. It is a kind of model on which all music festivals in India need to be organized. A special shout out to all the young volunteers whose enthusiasm, hard work and professional conduct is palpable at every step. As an audience member , I have been a regular for last 3 years and am sure that this festival will have a brighter future in coming years. A special thank you to all involved from all the “rasik” , “music connoisseur” audience.
If one asks be about the uniqueness of Vasantotsav in Pune , I would first mention “the stage” :  the classic feel , the lighting and the openness with the backdrop of “haveli” , clean professional management where audience is treated like a “customer” and is guaranteed full satisfaction !
Day 1 opened with the concert of Pt Vishwamohan Bhatt -Mohan Veena accompanied by Pt Vijay Ghate on Tabla. The concert started with Shyam Kalyan aalaap ,jod and jhalaa followed by a vocal bandish “Saawan ki Saanjh” ( सावन कि सांझ) , Pt Bhatt also demonstrated various sounds of birds like peacock from the instrument. The second presentation was  Raag Maand , vocal “Kesaria balamaa”  ( केसरीया बालमा ) the dhun played in Rajasthani style , followed by the Bengal style “O maajhi re ”  ( ओ माझी रे  ओ रे माझी रे ) . The concert concluded with a composition “A meeting by the river” that won him a Grammy award in 1994.
The final concert of the day was the awaited one , a classical vocal by Rahul Deshpande accompanied on Tabla by Nikhil Phatak , Pakhawaj by Shyam Bhilare and on Harmonium by Chaitanya Kunte. The concert began with Bageshree badaa khyaal in traditional bandish in ektaal “sakhi man laagi” ( सखी मन लागी ) followed by the traditional drut bandish in teen taal “Gun laagori malaniya” ( गुन लागो री मालनिया ) . The second presentation was in raag Nand-Kedar “Laagi birah maane chunari hu jaan ” ( लागी बिरह माने चुनरी हुं जान ) followed by a tarana. This was followed by a saguni bhajan “jatha vaishnavancha pandharisi jaato” ( जथा वैष्णवांचा पंढरीसी जातो) . A Natya sangit from play “sanyasta khadaga” which was popularized by Pt Vasantrav Deshpande , “Shatajanm Shodhitana” ( शतजन्म शोधिताना ) followed.
The concert ended with a nirguni bhajan in Bhairavi “Dhun Sun ke manuva magan hua ji”  ( धून सून के मनुवा मागन हुवा जी )

Report Day 2 – Saturday 17th Jan 2015 

Trilok Gurtu Ensemble was the featured performance of the day where , Trilok Gurtu, Ravi Chari, Sangeet Haldipur and Nitin Shankar weaved magic with rhythms from all over the world from Brazil to Mali to African music. A jazz performance weaved with Indian rhythms and accompanied by the vocals by Rahul Deshpande and Sandesh Umap in traditional Indian songs and bhajans gave the “Trade mark” feel of fusion characteristic of “Vasantotsav”
Sandesh Upam sang a traditional rural marathi folk tune “sumbarana mandla ga sumbharana mandala” (सुम्भरान मांडल)  set to western rhythms. Rahul Deshpande electrified the stage with a Nirguni Bhajan  “Gyani – Gyani suntaa hai gurugyaani” ( सुनता है गुरु ज्ञानी )  with his deep soulful voice accompanied by various instrumental rhythms of the ensemble. He then presented an alaapi in Malkauns and continued with “Kanada Raja Pandharicha” (कानडा राजा पंढरीचा )  .. the third presentation of his was an icing on the cake .. an Ahir Bhairav aalaapi followed by a Natya sangit “Jai Shankaraa Gangaadharaa” ( जय शंकरा गंगाधरा )  ..
Though the concert further continued with various sound effects by Trilok gurtu and a folk song by Sandhesh Umap “Mazyaa Malhari” ( माझ्या मल्हारी ) , Rahul Deshpande had already stolen the show overshadowing every other presentation.

Daler Mehendi ‘s Sufi troupe was next to follow for the final concert of the day.  He started with a bhajan “Namo Namo” ( नमो नमो ) accompanied by his troupe of around 7-8 performers that set the tone of the concert. It sounded like a Bairagi-Bhairav capturing a serious sufi mood. The 2 hour concert included 6 more sufi renditions in Punjabi , hindi , urdu , a thumri , a kabir bhajan and finally the crowd favorite sindhi bhajan “Dama-dam mast kalandar” (दमा दम मस्त कलंदर ) and “bolo tararara bolo tararaaraa” (बोलो तारा रारा )

Report Day 3 – Sunday 18th Jan 2015

The final day of Vasantotsav 2015, started with the evening concert of Pt Tejendra Majumdar and Shashank Subramanyam accompanied on Tabla by Pt Arwind Kumar Azad and on Mridangam by Sairaj.   The two played in distinct styles .. Carnatic on Flute and Hindustani on Sarod . They chose a raag Dharmavati of carnatic version that corresponds to Madhuvanti on Hindustani style ( but are not same ) . They demonstrated the distinctiveness of the chalans of these raags inspite of having similar notes. The presentation had long alaaps followed by jod and jhala in jugalbandi fashion. They concluded briskly with a Khamaj Dhun “Vaishnav Jan to “

The final featured presentation of the day and festival was by Suresh Wadkar who presented all light music , gazals and his popular film songs. Starting with marathi number “Tu sapt sur maaze , tu shwas antaricha” ( तू सप्तसूर माझे )  .. he was accompanied by an “orchestra” comprising of Tabla by Nikhil Phatak, pakhwaj , bansuri by Amar Oak , Satyajit Prabhu on key boards
In the two hours concert , Suresh Wadkar presented around 17-18 songs in Hindi and Marathi . The ones from his younger days “Sine me jalan” (सीने मे जलन )  and “Megha re megha re” (मेघा रे मेघा रे ) , “Surmaee Shaam” (सुरमई श्याम )  in Hindi and “Dayaaghanaa” (दयाघना )  in Marathi need special mention. The request of audience he concluded with his relatively recent number ” Chappa Chappa Charkha chale” (चप्पा चप्पा चरखा चले )

Vasantotsav 2015 concluded with the tradition of playing recorded Bhairavi of Vasantrao Deshpande…. And so does the major music festival season of Pune that began with Sawai on 1st Jan 2015 at Ramanbag grounds.

Some of the most entertaining , blissful and soulful open air evening concerts enjoyed on the first three weekends of 2015 !

Vasantotsav 2015

Vasantotsav 2015

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About Prasad Bhave

Clinical Scientist / Healthcare Informatics Consultant
This entry was posted in Classical Music, Hindustani Classical Music, Music Festival, Pune and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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