Classicists pay homage to Ravi Shankar

Kolkata: Recalling how the strings of his 'tabla' got snapped as he tried to match the sitar beats of maestro Ravi Shankar, legendary percussionist Pt Shankar Ghosh recalled how the sitar guru seemed to be a man possessed when he was in a 'jugalbandi'.

"Raviji played on and on with his fingers strumming on the sitar strings and as the beats reached the crescendo at one of our 'gharoa baithaks' (closed door music sessions) in Kolkata years back, I suddenly heard the flattened sound from my instruments," the veteran tabla wizard Pt Shaknar Ghosh said at the first 'shradhanjani' function for Ravi Shankar in the city on Saturday night.

"However, as he went on I continued despite discovering the strings of my tabla coming off, I had to improvise and the handful audience must have thought it was a new form of jugalbandi," Pt Ghosh said at the function organised by Behala Sanskritik Sammilani.

"This happens to be one of the numerous anecdotes I can share with you. There are countless, of us jamming together at his south Kolkata residence here during his numerous sojourns to the city of first love, as well as during our trips to his home in US. Even till his last few years he seemed to be so much in love of life and his mind so active!" he said.

Recalling how Ravi Shankar had always blessed her and her family, danseuse-actor Tanusree Shankar said, "he sat through the performance of Uddharan a 30-minute musical play which has actor Amitabh Bachchan as its narrator which straddles from one Rabi to another."

Pandit Hariprasad Chourasia recalled how despite belonging to a different 'gharana' and form of music, "me and Ravishankar's music had one common meeting ground, both of us representing one generation which is conspicuously missing from the new age youngsters."

Till this date I always feel blessed to be so closely associated with Panditji and his family. It is a great loss for the industry but he has surely left powerful and lasting impression on the music fraternity, she said.

Classical vocalist Ustad Rashid Khan recalled how Panditji helped him chisel a 'bandish' during a sojourn to the city. "More than the death of a legendary sitarist I have lost my mentor, elder brother."

The unique three-day long musical tribute to the sitar maestro is a platform where various notable artists from the field of classical music took part to pay homage.