Wednesday, March 07, 2012

A sarody time in Kolkata

Here I am in India again. As I write this, Varanasi (and most of North India) is getting excited Holi with fires set up all over town ready to burn tonight, and colours in stock for tomorrow morning's water battles (which I'll stay safely away from inside, thanks).

I flew in through Kolkata and spent a few days there in order to catch up with some musical friends. It turned out that everyone I met was a sarod player! On the first day I was invited by Facebook friend Apratim Majumdar to practice with him. He gave me some good advice about making tihais in khanda jati (dividing the beat into 5).

That night I visited Pratik Shrivastav and tabla player Chiranjit Mukherjee, whom I met at Woodford Festival in December where they were playing in Earthsync Collective. Pratik and Chiranjit were practising for their concert to be held the next day at Ramakrishna Mission, so I was only able to play with Pratik a little that night. It was refreshing to be in that musical family atmosphere. Pratik's mother (a sitarist) was also listening to the practice and gave some nice ideas.

The following day I caught up with Japanese sarod player Baku Hirakawa, who like Pratik is a student of Pt Tejendra Narayan Majumdar. There are quite a few very dedicated Japanese students of Indian classical music who spend a lot of time in south Kolkata doing hard practice and taking lessons with great masters.

It wasn't far from there to Ramakrishna Mission where Pratik and Chiranjit were giving their concert that night. Guru-ji Tejendra Narayan Majumdar was in attendance along with great tabla player Subhankar Banerjee. I also bumped into another Japanese sarodist, Yasu Fujibayashi, though there was no time for us to practise together before I headed to Varanasi the next day. Hopefully when I'm in Kyoto in April!

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