Talking Sarods

By Padmaja Sarkar

Last Sunday October 3rd, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts hosted the programme of master Sarod performer from Kolkata, India maestro Anindya Banerjee, with Bobby Singh (Tabla) and Dr. Adrian McNeil (sarod). Anindya Banerjee is a student of the late Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, one of the leading sarod players of the new generation .

Thus his style is been shaped by the Senia Maihar Gharaana. The Sarod school established by masters like Ustad Ali Akbar Khan.

Anindya Bannerjee commenced the evening with the soulful energising notes of Raag Shree. Aptly accompanied by Bobby Singh the maestro struck a chord with the audience as he engaged them in an exquisite development of raga Shree in a vilambith bandhish set to Jhap Taal, 10 beats. He progressed this theme further exposing the faster variety of rhythmic patterns.

The evening’s highlight of the concert was yet to come. The next segment saw two sarodiyas together maestro Anindya Banerjee and Dr. Adrian McNeil. They presented Raag Hemant set to a slow rendition which progressed to its natural fast conversational culmination in theen taal The strength and beauty of the Raag Hemant was intensified by the two sarods, sounding together. As each artist improvised, interacting on stage and challenging each other to repeat the ever increasingly complex rhythms, egging themselves and each other, the audience burst into a spontaneous joyous applause.

The tabla teased challenging, exciting, and building up almost to a climax, and then easing off, settling into a calmer melody. As the raga developed, the audience was drawn into its tunes and rhythms, and a contemplative meditation descending upon both the audience and the players. All the performers masterfully brought out the voices in their instruments. It was truly a very invigorating experience.