On 10 February 2021, the 11th Naada Bindu Festival (NBF) got off to a great start with over 200 fine art lovers glued to their devices in the comfort of their homes.
A warm welcome by Shobha Iyer was followed by a soul-touching invocation by Smt. Pramodini Rao (Director, Chinmaya Naada Bindu Gurukula) leading to the lighting of the lamp by Swami Swaroopananda (Chancellor, Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth (CVV) and Global Head of Chinmaya Mission) and the declaration of the event being open by Prof. Nagaraj Neerchal (Vice Chancellor, CVV). Swami Swaroopananda appreciated the innovativeness and creativity shown by the NBF team in organising the 11th NBF online instead of postponing it to a later date. He requested everyone to enjoy the glimpses of the past NBF events, as it was an opportunity to reminisce for previous attendees and for those who missed earlier events, an opportunity to witness them now.
Here is a first-hand account by a participant, Shri Satish Shenoy, a participant:
Let the show begin… Ganesh and Kumaresh
A full-fledged and power-packed violin duet by the famed brother violinist-duo Kumaresh and Ganesh heralded the feast of music that was to follow. I admire and am impressed by their accuracy in their instrumental play; it is lovely to hear a series of notes in rapid passagework. The brothers enthralled the rasikas with their aesthetics and artistry. The seasoned violinists are firm in the definition of melodies and diamond-bright in their production and tone. Whenever we talk of the ‘violin,’ the names of Kumaresh and Ganesh immediately come to mind. Their music was completely enjoyable. The response was excellent as the audience couldn’t stop clapping till the end.
The middle… Dr. Ashwini Bhide Deshpande
The beauty of Indian raga music lies in the dialectic of freedom and restriction. Every performance is like the creation of a painting. When an artist paints, the size and shape of the canvas imposes certain restrictions on him and so does the media he chooses for creating his work. He has to express his creativity within the confines of the canvas. Yet, he has the utmost freedom to create whatever he wants. The same applies to raga music, where every raga offers a canvas of specific dimensions, and the musician has to express his creativity within the given parameters. This special quality of our raga music enables different musicians to offer their versions of the same raga with varying degrees of artistic success, just like different artists painting portraits of the same person and no two portraits looking like each other.
Initially trained in the Gwalior style by Narayanrao Datar, Ashwini was essentially groomed by her mother Manik Bhide who, after receiving training from Datar, learnt from the diva of the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana Kishori Amonkar for more than a decade. Though she never learnt directly from Kishori Amonkar, she imbibed her influences through her mother. Much later, Ratnakar Pai, a stalwart of the gharana, took her under his wing and explained the intricacies of the Jaipur-Atrauli style to her. A doctorate in Microbiology from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Ashwini has carved a niche for herself in the contemporary world of Hindustani classical music. We were left spell-bound hearing her only for a few moments and were craving for more when the show ended.
The middle continued… Sikkil Gurucharan and Anil Srinivasan
One is a vocalist and the other uses an instrument, a grand piano, not quite known for creating Carnatic sounds, to do exactly that. I was left wondering how the organisers brought the grand piano on the stage. A logistics nightmare well-handled. But together, Sikkil Gurucharan and Anil Srinivasan, create some of the most beautiful music the Carnatic world has ever heard — a melting pot of sorts for both western, and classical music. I thought that it was a huge challenge for them to perform together. At that time, I thought these were a detour from my Carnatic music concerts as I must get into a different garb and tune my mind differently. They have offered what they are famous for and the audience has figured out what they do and enjoyed it immensely.
The Day 1 finale… Rajan and Sajan Mishra
They spoke of how their father was their Guru, how students must follow a disciplined life and always do riyaz. How their father always encouraged them—when he was teaching them, he was a Guru and not the father. They studied to become postgraduates and were also interested in sports. Their father allowed them both to study and play but warned them that the day the Sur gets into you, then no one will require to tell you to practice music. Both your heart and head will support it. After the talk, they sang. I remembered their words, “When we sing, we are one soul singing even though we are in two bodies” and “Each concert, small or big, has always been a learning experience. Every concert teaches if one has the insight to learn. An artist’s life is an evolution in his or her respective field and a new life begins after each concert.” What struck me the most about them is how they have continued to maintain mutual respect, understanding, compatibility, rapport and chemistry after all these years. The last bhajan was classic.
God bless all the artists and all those working so hard behind the 11th NBF curtain to enable us, art lovers, to have an enjoyable time.