The partnership between Shiv Kumar Sharma and tabla maestro Vijay Ghate was established from its very beginning joined by Shivji’s Japanese student on Tanpura.
The John Clancy Auditorium, although far away from India, brought the sounds of the Santoor on the 15th August 2010, a day celebrated for India’s Independence Day. Shivji talked warmly about feeling privileged to share that day with three fourths of the hall that was filled with mostly an indian but discerning audience.
Shiv ji commenced the concert with Raga Jhinjoti followed by a ragamalika like composition in a Pahadi Bhairavi dhun. What stole the show from the word go, was ofcourse Shivji’s soulful explorations in Raag Jhinjoti but also Vijay Ghate ‘s highly sensitive accompaniment, reducing the sounds on his tabla to suit the emphasis and positioning of the time cycles when Shivji went into the folds very softly and at other times exploring the Roopak thaal fitting in a rhythm of teen thaal and Dadra and other re’las complicated rhythmic patterns. The sawal jawab that finished the main raga with Shivji was electrifying.
If the audience thought this was all there was to the evening they were sadly mistaken there was more to come, after the break. It was Hari Prasad Chaurasia this time on the flute with tabla maestro Vijay Ghate accompanied and supported by Sunil Avachat his student on flute. If Vijay played second fiddle to Shivji rather conservatively, he took full flight in the comfort of the encouragement advanced by Hari Prasad Chaurasia’s almost mesmerising flirtatious play with the roopak taal in Raga Haripriya. Haripriya is a wistful raga and as it bounced off the walls of the auditorium capturing hearts, it was Vijay Ghate whose spell binding performance called for an outstanding ovation.
Drowned by the sounds of the roaring claps, alas the programme was over too soon. All in all it was a great evening, made even better for meeting some of my long lost friends.