Variety

Rhythms of falling rain

NIVEDITA GANGULY | Updated on: Aug 04, 2011

LF05_BARKHA_LONG_VIEW

Barkha Ritu strings together the musical interpretations of the monsoon by the great maestros.

The symphony of rains makes for a soul-cleansing experience. Ragas that celebrate the romance of monsoons are a part of Indian music heritage.

The wet, fragrant earth, the lush greenery, the rhythmic beats of crashing clouds, the steady pitter-patter of falling rain, and the brilliant colours of the rainbow provide eternal inspiration to the creative mind.

The crowd gathered on a recent Saturday evening at Mumbai's Nehru Centre witnessed monsoon magic unfold with a memorable sitar recital by Ustad Shujaat Khan and fusion music from the young and talented santoor player Rahul Sharma.

This was the Barkha Ritu, organised by Banyan Tree, to welcome the season with the musical interpretation of the monsoons by the great maestros. Featuring an interesting combination of an established stalwart and a younger maestro, the event created a perfect blend of traditional monsoon ragas and instrumental fusion mixes for music lovers of all age groups.

Ustad Rashid Khan began the evening with a delightfully well-crafted, aesthetic rendition of Megh Malhar.

Rahul Sharma played a combination of tracks from his albums Rainchanted and Namaste India , and concluded with a romantic piece from his album Confluence .

The audience was treated to a medley of monsoon ragas that included Miyan ki Malhar, Madhu Malhar, Mishra Mel ki Malhar and Dhulia Malhar, as well as some contemporary experimental styles.

This year's festival, spread across several cities, has been supported by L&T Finance Holdings. After travelling to Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai, the festival will now move to Ahmedabad and Pune in the coming weeks.

Banyan Tree Events has, for over 14 years, built platforms such as Anant, Ruhaniyat, Kala Viraasat, Barkha Ritu and Splendour of Masters to shine the spotlight on artistes and art forms of India, as well as performers of international acclaim. The events have supported over 4,000 folk artistes and several upcoming stars, besides showcasing the greatest stalwarts of the music industry such as Ravi Shankar, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Jasraj, Shivkumar Sharma, Birju Maharaj, Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra and Ustad Zakir Hussein.

Barkha Ritu was started way back in 2002, in Mumbai, as a platform to explore compositions such as Kajri, Jhula, Dadra and Thumri, which are semi-classical singing styles and not commonly performed. To the delight of music lovers, many of the artistes used the platform to also present rare monsoon ragas such as Soor Malhar, Ramdasi Malhar and Savani Malhar.

“This festival is Banyan Tree's effort to preserve and revive the connection between man and the monsoons.

“Barkha Ritu is definitely something to make the monsoons more cheerful and more memorable,” says Mahesh Babu, Director of Banyan Tree.

Published on August 04, 2011
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