Timeout - A Musical Ode To Devotion
by Ranjini Banerjee
Could there be a sweeter way to express the oneness of all faiths than through a festival of devotional music? The Bhakti Utsav, a three-day festival of music dedicated to Pt. Kumar Gandharva, was ample proof of that.
The grand opening on day one consisted of Svasti Vachan by the students of Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, Delhi, a prestigious institute of music and dance. Next, Manjusha Patil Kulkarni, a highly renowned performer of classical and semi-classical music, enthralled the audience with her devotional renditions. The classical performances were followed by the Manganiars from Rajasthan. The Manganiars are usually Muslims, who perform for Hindu patron families for every occasion from childbirth to wedding and even devotional ceremonies. Variety once again struck with traditional Rabindra Sangeet by Jayati Ghosh and a heartwarming performance by the fakirs from the Nagore Dargha. The evening came to a power-packed ending with Sufiana Qalam, a rendition by Harshdeep Kaur.
Carnatic music set the flavour for day two of the Utsav through a performance by the distinguished Sadanan K Harikumaran. The eclectic mix consisted of Sagun Nirgun Bhajans by Ravi Joshi, Borgeet from Assam by Parinita Goswami and Gurbani by Bhai Harjinder Singh from Ludhiana. The day again closed with a Carnatic flavour with bhakti songs by TM Krishna.
The final performances on day three started with a powerful rendition of Vedic chanting by Mrs. Krishnambika Nambiar. Other performances included Durga and devi bhajans by Ms Kaushiki Chakraborty, the daughter of acclaimed singer Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty. The cultural flavour was further enhanced when the audience was treated to a rustic Lanka chadai performance by the Mewati jogis from Alwar that enlivened the atmosphere. Soon, followed the Bauls, with a soulful yet catchy performance by Paban Das and his group from Birbhum. The Bhakti Utsavís final evening came to a deserving end with a charged up Sufiana qawwali by the Warsi brothers, who can trace their lineage to Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia and Hazrat Amir Khusrau. All told, a sublime and spiritually elevating experience.
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