Sawai continues its tradition of treating audience in a shabby and disrespectful way .. As usual the organizers have been unprofessional; poor in the department of Management , Safety of the audience and Sanitation but have excelled in bad practices shabbiness and insulting the common innocent audience who comes to the Sawai for the love of classical music.
They have been successful in attracting mediocre audience in large numbers with the gimmicks of marketing and social media but have shown utter disrespect to the connoisseurs and average audience, promoting the culture of shabbiness and mediocrity. They have turned this Classical Music “Jalsa” into a pathetic , chaotic rural “village Jatra”
This will eventually dissociate the true connoisseurs from the festival and spoil the name of Sawai Gandharva Festival, if not done already.
Now for the main stuff … Musical Highlights :
1) Shehnai : Father son duo of Pt S Ballesh and Krishna Ballesh : Pleasant Maru-bihag dhun that gave welcoming feel to the pandal , soft melody and controlled volume of sound made the surrounding pleasant. The next raag Jog , was serious enough to calm down the audience for upcoiming concerts. The Khamaj thumri to conclude the Shenai recital had already brought happy playful mood for upcoming concerts and festival !
2) Gauri Pathare vocal started with traditional Bhimpalas bandish in vilambit (re biraha ) followed by drut (biraj me dhum machaye kanha). The next raag Shree brought out the best in her with the poignant and serious bandish “Hari ke sharan” in madhya lay followed by jod “Saanjh bhayee” in drut.
3) Ut Irshad Khan was the priced performace of the day. He started on Surbahar with Aalap , Jod and Jhala in Shuddha Kalyan that brought out the serious depth of the raag as well as the instrument with its low octave and slow tempo. He then played raag Nand Kalyan on Sitar , accompanied by Pt Arwind Kumar Azad on tabla. The faster tempo and the higher octave demonstrated the contrast , bringing out the playfulness of Nand !
He concluded with a short take of Piloo with thumri “Saiyaa more tihare bin nindiyaa na aaye” where he also gave a glimpse of his vocal training. Overall it was a unique performance and connoisseurs enjoyed the “classicalness” of it.
4) Pt Ganpati Bhat vocal, started around 9pm with Madhukauns traditional bandish “Baat naa maane” in vilambit after the aalap gradually building the romantic (shrungarik) aura for which he had got to fame almost 12-15 back on the same stage of Sawai ! The drut bandish “Mora man lubhaaye savariyaa” was catchy and brought an energetic playfulness in the pandal ! He concluded his performance by 10 pm with two bhajans , one in hindi “Raghunandan aage nachungi” and the concluding with kannada bhajan in bhairavi “chakourange chandramane”
Overall an OK kind of first session of this long 5 day festival.
In other highlights :
The shameless and spineless anchor needs a special mention for his lack of professionalism , inability to do any kind of home work on the performing artists and audacity to insult the audience present in the gathering but still be able to keep his job with his sycophancy to his employers for more than a decade. The guy doesn’t deserve to be on the August stage of Sawai. ( more on this in other post later ! )