by Pallavi Nagesha
Saṁgīta, music is also known as Gaṁdharva Vidya, the art of the celestials. It is said that the divine beings loved to enjoy music and often danced around to music of several instruments. A verse in the Nāṭyaśāstra says:
gāndharvaṃ trividhaṃ vidyāt svara tāla padātmakam
“Thus, song, Veena, flute and drums all contributed to the Gandharva (dance).”
Instruments make this celestial music reach us mortals and help transport us into the divine realm. Music has a unique way to allow the listener to disengage from the daily grind and stretch his mind and indeed his soul towards the True and the Real. Just imagine sustaining this immense joy all weekend long! The LearnQuest Music Conference gives us just such an opportunity. Bringing to us stalwarts from the Indian musical diaspora, the festival this year is sure to be a treat beyond imagination.
This year’s lineup boasts of several instrumentalists who are sure to transport you into the celestial land.
The offering begins with a Veena recital on Saturday, March 30th with a concert by Vidwan D. Srinivas. “Music is evergreen. It ultimately dissolves into a frequency where the beauty of the raga evolves,” says the “Vainika Samrat” and child prodigy. As you watch him perform, you will notice this evolution. His nimble fingers effortlessly fly across the Veena creating heavenly melodies. The right and left hands perform with beautiful synchrony and with impeccable precision. His performance is a Rasika’s dream, where the raga and tala merge with bhava in seamless splendor. He will be accompanied by V.S. Raghavan on the Mridangam and Sriram Krishna on the Ghatam.
Following this is a Sarod recital by Pt. Debojyoti Bose, senior disciple of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and brother of the virtuoso Tabla player of the Banaras Gharana, Pt. Kumar Bose. His impressive list of awards and his list of scores for film and television shows that Pt. Bose travels between the worlds of popular and classical worlds with ease. He is known to express his deepest self through his music. He is accompanied by Abhijit Banerjee on Tabla.
On Sunday, March 31st three young artists take the stage, carrying forward some stalwart lineages. Jay Gandhi on flute, Kunal Gunjal on Santoor and Amit Kavthekar on Tabla channel their respective gurus, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pt. Shivkumar Sharma and Ustad Alla Rakha. This jugalbandi performance is testament to the evergreen and transcendent quality of classical Indian music.
Keeping such illustrious lineages alive is yet another pair enthralling us that very evening. Performing a Carnatic violin duet are the brother and sister team, Lalgudi GJR Krishnan and Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi, whose father is the eminent violin Maestro, late Vidwan Lalgudi Jayaraman. Called the torchbearers of the Lalgudi tradition, there is a marked lyrical expression in their melody. One almost ‘hears’ the words spill forth from their violins. They are able to project the identity of the raga with the enunciation of just a few notes.
They are accompanied by the renowned Mridangam artist Vidwan Trichur C. Narendran and Pt. Abhijit Banerjee on Tabla.
Come and enjoy the song of the celestials with this amazing lineup, and more at the 14th Annual LearnQuest Music Conference, March 29th – 31st at Regis College, Weston MA. For more information visit our website at www.learnquest.org.