Musings: East West Encounters – Sasmit and Sayak

piano keys Tonight’s performance was unique. It had two young men performing different genre’s of music from different continents however it appeared that they had swapped cultures. We saw an Australian sing music of the East and an Indian play the Piano in Classical Western movements.

Sayak Bhattacharya, is young, smart and an australian indian lawyer in NSW who is taking his music seriously. He is the one and only chosen student of Rashid Khan, a legend in Hindustani Classical Music in India. Sayak says he keeps in touch with his guru over the phone, emails and visits India regularly. He says that during a recent three month stint in India, he found his time with his Guru was enriching but even more because he got an opportunity to sing with him providing supporting vocals at various performances around India. Despite being an Australian Bengali, Sayak diction pronunciation doesn’t stand in his way.

Todays performance saw Sayak accompanied by Nikhil Harishchandrakar on Tabla providing a soulful start to the evening with a meditative lilting Pooriya Kalyan in Vilambith Ek Taal followed by a Druth Madhya Laya Teen Taal and an Ek Taal bandish. Don’t understand a word of that..?  In simple English his performance consisted of three rhythmic movements the first movement was in a slow rhythmic cycle of 12 beats followed by a faster movement to a time cycle of 16 beats which was then was followed by another fast 12 beat cycle. Each movement accompanied by a different song or lyrics however still within the same Raga structure.  Sayak concluded his recital with another Raga usually sung during the rainy season in India  Megh Malhar and a Tumri. A budding Australian Talent that shows a lot of promise.

Sayak’s vocal recital was followed by Sasmit from India, who played Yanni with all his heart on the Piano taking the audience through the composition In D Major and followed it through various compositions such as the all time favorites such as Swan Lake, Love Story and others. Sasmit unlike Sayak is born and brought up in Mumbai India and was delighted to see my Piano sitting at the corner of my drawing room. Drawn to it like a magnet he plunged his fingers into the keys to open many hearts. As his evening performance progressed he drew the audiences more and more into his world of music. Playing many Hollywood favorites later he concluded with a number sung by Shankar Mahadevan  ‘Mitwa’ . With its nostalgic ethos filled notes filling the room, the evening’s recital sadly came to an end.

To the Organisors, the Bapat and Risbud partnership, is also showing promise in this dry homeland which we call Home Down Under. We await with bated breath for the next mehfil.

Listen to Sasmit on the Piano in Sydney below. Apologies for the audience encore which have been left unedited to bring you the atmosphere and the ambience of the evening.

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