Raga & Rhythm, an artistic collaboration between Auckland and Hamilton was presented by Mortgage Mantra and the Raaga Group on July 20.
Bharata Natyam performance by Nutan Bhat (Auckland) weaved a combination of complex postures and legends in praise of Lord Shiva. Nutan’s skill and capacity for expression was highly applauded.
Balachandra Bhat (Auckland) rendered a beautiful delineation of Raga Madhuvanti, with fast paced taan and immense breath control. He was accompanied by Manjit Singh (Tabla) and Nutan Bhat (Harmonium).
Manjit presented an energetic Tabla ensemble with his senior disciples Gurpreet and Harpreet. Apart from traditional compositions, his magnificent composition recreating the sound of a train received an ovation.
Malathi Vasudevan (Hamilton) engrossed the audience with her proficiency in Carnatic Music. Beginning with ‘Vathapi Ganapathim,’ a composition of Muthuswami Dikshitar in Ragam Hamsadhwani, she went on to execute ‘Pasupathiswaram’ in Ragam Subha Pantuvarali and a Bhimpalas Thillana by Lalgudi Jayaraman.
Dr Somaskandan and Raman Easwaran accompanied her respectively on Violin and Mridangam.
Lester Silver (Hamilton) presented the finale with a Sitar performance (accompanied by Manjit on the Tabla), presenting a traditional ‘Khyal’ in Raga Nandkauns. After a short alaap, he played the ‘Vilambit’ and ‘Dhrut’ gat, ‘Jhalla’ and a ‘Chakradar Tihai.’ He concluded with a self-composed dhun (Bhatiyali).
A divine journey
‘Kalaradhana,’ showcased a unique celebration of Guru Purnima and Ashadhi Ekadashi in Auckland on July 27. The Bhat family offered a grand tribute to their gurus in the midst of over 180 people.
The evening opened with an invocation to Lord Ganesha.
Nutan Bhat presented a Bharata Natyam dance extolling Goddess of Power.
Balachandra Bhat rendered vocal music in Raga Abhogi, accompanied by Nutan (Harmonium) and Manjit (Tabla). His delineation of the Raga, Pukaars in higher octaves, high speed Taan and his ability to hold a note for several Avartans were highly applauded.
Offered as a tribute to the late Bhimsen Joshi, the last segment was unique. Combining legends behind Bhajans from his repertoire and including the audience on a musical pilgrimage was an innovative approach devised by Lata Bhat.
Gems such as ‘Teertha Vitthala’ were presented with aplomb, along with Kritis and Kabir Bhajans of Purandaradasa in Kannada and Hindi were pleasant surprises.
Energetic chorus support and Manjeera accompaniment by Harsh Dewan and Harish Bhat lent an authentic feel to the event.
Sunil Gadgil is a resident of Auckland, with a keen interest in Hindustani Classical Music. Painting is his hobby with a number of exhibitions to his credit.
Nutan Bhat presenting a Bharata Natyam item