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Memorable morning melodies with Kaushiki

August 2007
Memorable morning melodies with Kaushiki

After wowing her audience in Atlanta last year, Kaushiki Chakrabarty Desikan returned to present memorable morning melodies in a concert on July 8, 2007, at Georgia Tech Student Center. Organized by Indian Classical Music Society (ICMS) of Greater Atlanta, with the support of Pujari, Atlanta Bengali Forum, and Sur Srota, the Sunday morning concert was attended by a very appreciative audience who braved the rains to avail themselves of this opportunity.

Dr. Shyam Navate welcomed the audience on behalf of ICMS, and Amitava Sen introduced the artists. Kaushiki, winner of the BBC World Music Award (Asia/Pacific) in 2005 with three albums releases, was groomed at Shrutinandan School of Music and the Sangeet Research Academy in Kolkata. Kaushiki is now a regular performer in prestigious music conferences such as the Dover Lane Music Conference in Kolkata, and tours Europe, US, Canada, and other international venues every year.

Kaushiki began the concert in raga Jaunpuri, first singing a short alap, then a vilambit khayal (slow tempo improvisations) in ektal or a twelve count pattern. This was followed by a madhyalay bandish (medium tempo composition) titled, "Prabhu mohe bharosa" in teental or a sixteen beat rhythm. A fast tempo drut bandish titled, "Aba paayala baajana laagi re," was also presented in the sixteen count pattern.

After a brief intermission, she presented two compositions in raga Nat Bhairav "ratana jare" and a tarana in drut ektal composed by Pt. Gyan Prakash Ghosh, Kaushiki's first formal guruji, as well as her father, Pt. Ajoy Chakrabarty's guru. The tarana (wordless composition) gave ample opportunity to display her tonal dexterity and range with imaginative flourishes as well as to provide some interesting musical dialogues with the accompanying artists on harmonium and tabla.

After these classical pieces, Kaushiki presented some semi-classical numbers. The thumri in Mishra Khamaj, brought out the pathos of the lyrics in very tuneful flourishes. Shahbaz Hussain's sparkled on the tabla during this composition. Kaushiki followed this with Meerabai's bhajan,"mai to saanwar ke rang raachi." As an encore, Kaushiki ended the concert with a bhajan based on raga Bhairavi, "mai dwar khol kar baitha hun, tum aajaanaa bhagwaan."

Accompanying artists Shahbaz Hussain on tabla and Vyasmurti Katti on harmonium, both very accomplished with a track record of playing with several eminent North Indian classical vocalists and instrumentalists, supported Kaushiki adequately. Vyasmurti Katti especially won the hearts of several in the audience with his mellifluous harmonium accompaniment.

As some in the audience remarked, "We have seen Kaushiki maturing and becoming more and more virtuosic each year, and hope she will delight us with her melodious renditions in all forms of North Indian classical and semi-classical music for many more years to come."

Dr. Navate concluded the program, noting that he still remembered Kaushiki from several years ago when she accompanied her father, in an ICMS concert. ICMS presented gifts of appreciation to the artists.

~Amitava Sen


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