CHENNAI: Be it in the form of a dhrupad, khyal or a tarana, Hindustani music can sweep anybody off of their feet. And when it’s music played by some legends of the genre, then it is sure to turn many heads. To pay a tribute to legendary musicians like Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan and Shehnai Samrat Sanna Bharamanna, and also on the occasion of the 101st birth anniversary of Ustad, the Tansen Academy of Hindustani Music will put together a musical evening, along with an award ceremony to recognise and appreciate talent in Hindustani music.
This being the third consecutive year of the ‘Ras Barse Utsav’, the organisers are quite eager and enthusiastic about the event. “Earlier, we were conducting these concerts on a very small scale, but it was my vision to reach a wider audience. I wanted to promote Hindustani music, the traditional instrument shehnai and also collaborate with some Carnatic musicians as well,” says Surmani Krishna Ballesh, co-founder, Tansen Academy of Hindustani Music.
He further recalls conducting a class in 2015 for his students when he was explaining a particular raag to the students and remembered his gurus. “Whenever I teach my students a raag, I tell them about how my gurus taught them to me and how they would handle it. That’s when I realized the necessity to bring back the music of these legends,” he explains.
Founded by Pandit S Ballesh and his son Surmani Krishna Ballesh in 1999, the academy was formed to create awareness about Hindustani music in a city which has a strong Carnatic music culture. Having trained under the legend Ustad Bismillah Khan himself, the father-son duo are more than excited about the utsav and have been rehearsing and perfecting their raagas and taals. Pandit Ballesh has been contributing immensely to the field of Hindustani classical and has been trying to create a Hindustani culture in the city for the last 40 years.
“I have been listening to Ustad since my childhood; he is the Saraswathi ma in my life. My grandfather Shehnai Samrat Sanna Bharamanna, insisted that I also train under the Ustad and that I should get his blessings too. He was a very strict but great teacher. Learning music was very difficult, with everyday rehearsals and what not, but it was all worth it in the end,” he recalls.
The musical evening will start off with a prayer song by the students of the academy, followed by the award ceremony. Then the Shehnai-Sitar jugalbandi by Shehnai Chakravarthy Pandit S Ballesh and Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan Saheb. They will be accompanied by Pandit Yogesh Samsi on tabla, Surmani Krishna Ballesh on shehnai, Prakesh Ballesh on the harmonium, Suresh Raj on Dukkad, and RK Ravikumar — Swarmandal & party.
Ras Barse Utsav 2017 will be held on November 24 from 6 pm onwards at The Museum Theatre, Egmore. Visitors can purchase passes from https://www.eventjini.com/rasbarseutsav2017