CAMBRIDGE, MA–Padma Vibhushan Pandit Jasraj, the 88-year-old living legend of Indian classical music, will cap the MITHAS 25th Spring Season on May 19 at MIT Kresge Auditorium in Cambridge, MA.
Pandit Jasraj has rightly been called India’s best gift to the world. He created a novel form of jugalbandi called Jasrangi that is styled on the ancient system of moorchhana, between a male and a female vocalist, who each sing different ragas at the same time.
“A senior artist, such has Pandit Jasraj, has arrived; his fame and security as a topmost performer of his era is assured, and he does not need to awe his audiences with cleverness and velocity,” said George Ruckert, founder of MITHAS. “It is not the music that suffers with advancing age. However, the wear and tear of the road on the touring musician is a daunting barrier to a senior artist’s wish to travel and concertize. In Panditji’s case, he has done all that both in India and abroad.”
So the MITHAS concert on Saturday, May 19th at 7 pm in MIT Kresge Auditorium is indeed a gala occasion to witness this doyen of the Mewati gharana, who just this past February “Wowed the audience in his concert in Delhi” added Mr. Ruckert.
More information about the concert and tickets can be found at www.mithas.org
“The genre of khyal now dominates the musical fare in the presentation of Hindustani vocal music. The very word khyal means “fantasy and imagination,” perhaps to contrast it with its older relative, the stately and mathematical dhrupad. But in fact, the two are descended from the same sources—the bhakti poetic tradition of the 16th century wherein the majority of the song lyrics are derived. And both employ the rich heritage of raga and tala, in which traditional compositions and improvisations are blended, often with exquisite emotional ecstasy,” said Mr. Ruckert
But in truth, the highest reaches of the art take a long while to mature, and the older performers are usually the most respected for their experience with presenting the blend with the highest balances of expressive art.
“This is perhaps in contrast with younger ones who might grab their audiences with the flair of energy and speed. This is sometimes driven with the latters’ need to make a name for themselves in the difficult commercial world of the music, where stellar reviews insure their presence in future programs,” said Mr. Ruckert.