The annual sojorn for classical music aficionados is round the corner .. mere 48-72 hours away ! This huge congregation of connoisseurs of Indian Classical Music from all over the world for “Sawai” , are to the order of 10 to 20 thousand , who assemble every year in the first week of December at the famous Ramanbag grounds, turning it into a huge gathering of “jalsa” style. A huge pandal with seating arrangements on chairs , sofas and the Indian style ( Bharatiya baithak) ! The august stage and the main pandal is decorated with glass chandelliers and have cieling fans too !
Pune’s very own “Sawai” ( now renamed Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav or SGBM) is a five day festival this year from Wednesday to Sunday with concerts in evening session every day. The Sunday morning concert session , that was unique to this festival has been dropped from this year and a day with a session of evening concert has been added making the festival a 5 day event from 4 day festival of previous years.
A typical Sawai fan generally doesn’t bother about the lineup of the artists of the festival. He/she is there for the enjoyment of the pure bliss of Indian Classical Music and is assured of the best of the class to perform on the stage, be it an internationally renowned artist or a young upcoming one ! I personally , eagerly look forward to new , upcoming and younger artists performing at Sawai more that the established veterans who bring the hype , marketing and sponsorship for such music festivals.
As a Sawai fan and a connoisseur of classical music , here is my first impression about the lineup and schedule of Sawai 2016
1) The morning concerts would be missed dearly by all. In fact , the morning sessions should have been extended to Sat and Sun !
2) The festival is stretched too long and may cause fatigue even with seasoned festival goers and connoisseurs
3) The one thing that must be appreciated is that the spread of lineup is really good … covers vast domain of “Sangeet” , nrutya , dhrupad ,carnatic , instrumental , various gharanas , veterans and new comers !
4) I am hoping that the festival is managed more professionally this year as the crowd is likely to increase ( Rate of season pass has gone down )
5) The issues of sanitation , cleanliness , dust , safety of audience in case of any emergency etc, need to be considered seriously. I am hoping that they are addressed this year.
6) The most important issue is the overcrowding on final days when the tickets are oversold. I hope someone in management and also the public authorities keep tab on the overcrowding and overselling of tickets !
I am particularly looking forward to the performances of the upcoming young artists / performers , namely :
1) Gauri Pathare of Agra gharana – Dec 7th
2) Manjiri Asnare-Kelkar of Jaipur Atrauli gharana – Dec 8th
3) Brajeshwar Mukherjee of Patiala gharana (Disciple of Pt Ajay Chakravarty) – Dec 9th
4) Dhanashri Ghaisas (Disciple of Ashwini Bhide-Deshpande) – Dec 10th
5) Sarod-Sitar duet of Lakshya Mohan and Aayush Mohan Gupta – Dec 10th
Overall , the lineup of artists looks fine with a nice spread covering Hindustani , Carnatic , vocal , instrumental , dance , veterans and upcoming artists of major gharanas covered !
This coming Wednesday Dec 7th , at 4pm we assemble again at Ramanbag ,Pune for the annual sojourn to be a part of the cultural extravaganza of Pune … hoping for a great time with all music connoisseurs from Dec 7th to Dec 11th at Ramanbag ,Pune !