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nicneufeld

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I was able to attend a free concert from Pandit Nayan Ghosh Saturday in Lawrence Kansas. While I've recently seen Zakir Hussain with Bela Fleck and Edgar Meyer, this was my first traditional Indian classical concert I've been able to attend.

He was on sitar, which is apparently not his particular specialty, having been more developed on tabla, but you wouldn't know it by listening! A local musician who had trained in India accompanied on tabla. It was a lovely concert, and one of the things I came away with was how wonderfully the instruments sounded; the sitar was brilliant, and the tabla full and rich.

He gave a short talk before, and he seems very much a strict traditionalist...his introduction by another local musician seemed to strengthen this as the man introducing him kept mentioning his "integrity" to the true traditional music, speaking with veiled hostility towards things like fusion or otherwise. I could have imagined it but the guy introducing referred to how he had fused the styles of the two sitar greats Vilayat Khan and Nikhil Banerjee, with a pointed omission...I'm having a bit of fun reading in between the lines, and mostly I'm being silly (I'm sure they would have very nice things to say about Mr. Shankar if asked) but they at least didn't burn Ravi-ji in effigy! He (Nayan Ghosh) spoke of samay without the more common acknowledgements of it being mostly just tradition...he believes on a more literal sense, that playing certain melodies at the wrong time will just "feel" wrong to the ears. So only evening ragas for us! It was a distinct impression that here was a serious, strict traditionalist, and his brief lecture was thoroughly enjoyable!

Style wise he was playing a gandhar pancham style sitar and he seemed very, very Vilayat-like. No tanpura or other drone accompaniment, and it constantly brought my mind back to recordings of U.V.K. I loved the stage interaction! I felt sorry for the tabla player who did an excellent job, but given the Pandit's notable reputation as a tabla master, it would strike me as an intimidating prospect. Also, one could tell when Nayan noted the audience reaction...certain sustained notes (I forget which "gamak" this is, but meending a note after a single strike to rest briefly on a number of notes, stretching the decaying strike through a full little melodic line) got a reaction from the audience, and he would smile and do more.

He started with a full exposition of Raga Puriya Kalyan. (komal re and tivra ma, all else shuddh). After an intermission he played Raga Desh, then a "raga malika" if I remember correctly, where he flitted between various ragas, and then finished with a Bengali folk song. He sang over the folk song and part of the raga malika (I believe) and his voice was as good as his playing, both phenomenal. Pitch control and articulation were amazing!

Lovely concert, great sound, and an amazing artist.
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chefothefuture

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Reply with quote  #2 
A well worded review :-) as well as an astute observation of styles.
I guess I am in such awe of Panditji that words escape me....
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