The Pune weather is getting colder with the mercury dropping a bit every day making it a pleasurable experience outdoors. With the cool breeze of December arrives the much awaited classical music festival season of Pune. Though the modern concert auditoria with conditioned air and wonderful sound systems give a royal pleasurable experience of enjoying classical music, I am particularly fond of the outdoor , open auditorium, “jalsa” like festivals , the prime being Sawai Gandharva Festival. The official name of the Festival since 2012 has been changed to “Sawai Gandharva-Bhimsen Mahotsav” ,however the name Sawai Gandharva Mahotsav sounds more close to heart ! True Punekars and classical music connoisseurs tend to call it simply “Sawai”.
Sawai is a cultural experience enjoyed in group, by classical music connoisseurs , enthusiasts who percolate from all over the world to assemble at the Ramanbag grounds in Pune to enjoy the annual event for four days in the second week of December. It is a part of culture of Pune. A festival for love of Classical Music enjoyed with Friends and food ! “Khaane aani Gaane”(खाणे आणि गाणे ) in Marathi !
I try to attend all the concerts of Sawai almost like a ritual and there are many who do so from all over the world. Some of the fans of Sawai attend the festival and listen to the live classical concerts for the four days and those are the only four days they devote to listening classical music in the year ! ( I know some of them ) For many , it is their annual pilgrimage to Sawai !
This year the “Sawai” festival starts on Thursday Dec 10th and goes on till Dec 13th midnight. There are 23 concerts spread over 4 days and 5 sessions that would stage more than 100 artists (including accompanists ). I am particularly looking forward to younger performers , some performers who would be presenting first time at Sawai. Whether its a veteran artist or a new comer , Sawai always brings out the best and unique out of the artist performing in front of an audience of over 10000 !
Here is a session-wise list of performances and the ones that I am personally looking forward to :
Day 1 : Dec 10th Thursday
Savani Datar-Kulkarni and Shilpa Puntambekar (vocal duet) who are from the lineage of Pt Bhaskarbuwa Bakhle
Pt Vishwanath , a veteran of Kirana Gharana
Day 2 : Dec 11th Friday
Suchismita Das and Amjad Ali
Day 3 : Dec 12 Saturday
Bharati Pratap and Raghunandan Panshikar
Day 4 : Dec 13 Sunday Morning
Pt Dhrub Ghosh sarangi
Day 4 : Dec 13 Sunday Evening
Bharati Vaishampayan , Manju Mehta and Partha Sarathy (sitar – sarod duet) .. to some extent I am also curious about Suresh Wadkar Classical vocal performance. Hope he also sings “Sine mein jalan”
Finally , here is a pocket size schedule for this years Sawai.
More information is on the Sawai fan page at : https://www.facebook.com /SawaiGandharvaPune