Monday, August 09, 2004


So I happened to leave for Tampa, Florida on Friday Aug 07 (to return on Sunday evening ) to help a friend move stuff over to GA. This time around the FL drive was better ... had a distinct sense of being cramped in the car (NOTE: I was not driving in either case). Had CDs of music swinging the barometer of quality to entertain us on the ways back and forth. Weather-wise we were in for either the usual humidity (very Bombay-like, and even more unplesant) and spells of rain. While we caught a beach or two, the main beaches eluded us (however, since we hadn't planned anything rigorously, I was happy with what I got ... not much a beach buy anyways). The big attraction, though, was a concert at FSU with Rattan Mohan as the main performer. At this point, I must note that Yesudas was performing on Friday at Georgia Tech (and thanks to the usual ineffective publicity machinery, there was nothing we could really do!). This concert notched several important events for my concert-going experience. First off, I was taught never to assume a high quality for any concert involving touring artists. A lot can go wrong, and what transpires aside from the main performance is really important. In this case, things mostly went downhill.

* The audience for one thing was a global downer. Perhaps I've been spoilt by the ICMS experience. The true 'rasiks' were almost a default in the ICMS concerts (one good way to tell is how many people have an intuitive understanding of the sam during improvisations -- note: i said intuitive, not formal). Here the audience seemed more like a foreign audience reacting to a music different from the kind they were used to -- which isn't such a bad thing, unless your applause reveals not what you actually liked about the performance, but just you taking a lucky guess. And the thickly fake accents all around -- gah!

* The opening act had rahul patel (I couldn't make out the introductions clearly but I heard "pt ravi shankar" and "self-taught") accompanied by aditya bannerjee on tabalaa. They performed yaman in madhya and drut tiin taal. What they lacked were soul and cohesion. And AB (a faculty member at the Pandit Jasraj School of Music (PJSOM) offshoot there) was one of the most self-absorbed self-congratulatory tabalaa players I have ever seen. Although capable, he seemed more interested in showing off than complementing the main performer.

* The main act had rattan mohan sharma (RMS) accompanied by more students from PJSOM. And the people on taanapuraa were clearly not ready for performance. Given this and AB on the tabalaa, RMS could only hobble through a vastly undernourished series of renditions: raag puriyaa (vilambit in ek taal; madhya and drut in tiin taal) -- I must note here my first exposure to a lakshaN giit: where a portion of the lyrics is devoted to outlining the salient features of the raag:: ga vaadii nii samavaadii pa bachaa ma ba.Dhaa; u.D jaa re bha.Nwaraa in raag madhukau.ns (tiin taal); aaj mere ghar aa_e re balamaa in raag maalakau.ns. After an intermission, we retreated further back and sat through a couple of compositions in raag megh, before the final performance (audience request) of om bhagawatii vaasudevaa in bhiim palaas. This last rendition, apart from suffering from the sin of ousting the bhairavii, included other disasters like aditya banerjee's lack of cohesion and the ma.njire going out of time. All said and done, an experience more instructive than rewarding.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.