Sunday, March 22, 2015

Woodford 2014-15 with Pt Santosh and Sangeet Mishra

Over the New Year we were honoured to host 7th and 8th generation sarangi masters from Varanasi, Pt Santosh Mishra and his son Sangeet. Sangeet is a regular visitor to Australia - he was last here just a few months earlier for Sangeet Mela - but Santosh-ji had only been once previously, in 2012.

Woodford Festival, Hilltop (via)

Santosh and Sangeet were invited to perform at Woodford Folk Festival and this year's festival had quite an extensive Indian classical programme compared to other years. Along with the Mishras, I also accompanied sitarist Saikat Bhattacharya, and bansuri master Vinod Prasanna was up from Melbourne. I was very happy to meet Vinod's tabla accompanist Afroz Koya. I also arranged an impromptu performance at Bill's Bar for vocalist Tahir Qawwal. Along with the classical dance programmes, altogether there were 24 Indian classical performances!

Sarangi masters, Santosh & Sangeet Mishra & Shen at Woodford Festival (via)

In celebration of my 20th year of tabla I was given a tabla solo performance, with the wonderful accompaniment of Sangeet on sarangi. It was scheduled just before the excellent Taiko drumming group, Kizuna, so the Folklorica tent was full of drum lovers and the response to the tabla was really enthusiastic. I think it was a great combination of the two extremes of drumming - the intricacy of tabla followed by the raw power of taiko.

My tabla solo performance at Woodford. I look surprised but I was just speaking tabla bols.
Photo via Serendigity.

I think my favourite concert in the festival was the New Year's Sunset concert on the Hilltop Stage, overlooking the land around Woodford including the Glasshouse Mountains. It was a gorgeous sunset, the sound system was fantastic (and there were no nearby stages unlike the rest of the festival), and the music went really well.

Sangeet Mishra spontaneously joined Vinod Prasanna's Hilltop Sunset concert. It was an excellent jugalbandi.

After Woodford we had a small classical concert in Brisbane thanks to Swara Mohini association, and a packed house for "Sufi Soul Sangeet" in Mullumbimby with Tahir Qawwal and Barbi Joffe.

The Mullumbimby concert had a slightly different format - rather than doing a long classical set, we presented one short classical set at the start of the night, followed by light classical songs by Tahir and Barbi accompanied by Sangeet and myself. In the second set, Santosh-ji presented some light classical songs then accompanied Tahir and Barbi for the closing songs. I'm getting more and more into light classical genres and that night we presented Ghazal, Bhajan, Thumri, Qawwali and film songs, as well as the more classical Khyals that I'm more experienced with. Lots of fun!!!

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