The Golden Trio, the three disciples of Pt. Ravi Shankar namely Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Pt. Tarun Bhattacharya and Pt. Daya Shankar came together on stage after about two decades and played for Kolkata in a concert hosted by the Tollygunge Club of Kolkata on August 11th. The trio which had been formed by the music maestro Pt. Ravi Shankar way back in 1985 had charmed all of Europe and America with their classical fusion music that they presented in the concerts during their world tour. In 1994 when the Trio performed in the Royal Albert Hall for the Queen they were joined by Pt. Bickram Ghosh on the Tabla and since then, in more ways than one these gifted musicians have been individually contributing to this divine art.
The concert, marking the return of the Golden Trio after almost two decades was organized as a fund raiser event for Pt. Tarun Bhattacharya’s Santoor Ashram which has been giving formal training in music especially in Santoor to talented students who are selected from various corners of the country. This one of a kind ashram where music lessons are organized in the traditional Guru-Sishya Parampara needs further developments to facilitate hassle free training in music and by way of this concert the music lovers were further encouraged to support such wonderful initiatives.
The evening started with an elaborate felicitation ceremony with Ms. Darshan Shah of Weaver’s Studio and Odissi dance exponent Pt. Sanchita Bhattacharya introducing and honoring the members of the Trio and Pt. Bickram Ghosh. Chinamma, Pt. Ravi Shankar’s wife also spoke to the audience via an audio visual presentation and conveyed her good wishes to the Trio for performing together again after so many years.
The performance began with a short aalap in Raga Yaman, which Pt. Bhattacharya introduced as the Sandhya Raga, as their revered Guru Ji used to call it. And then on, it was just music in the air!
While Pt. Daya Shankar’s Shahnai was potent enough, Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt’s Mohan Veena (a modified Hawaiian slide guitar) and the Santoor along with Pt. Bickram Ghosh’s powerful beats on the Tabla practically led the show on. The Santoor and Mohan Veena Jugal bandi and the powerful Tihais and Tukdas of Pt. Bickram Ghosh drew loud wah-wahi from the audience.
The trio also presented a Bhatiyali tune that they had once composed and recorded for a folk album which was highly appreciated by the audience. Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt also spoke to the audience present and thanked them for their presence and interest in classical music. Pt. Bhatt, like his previous addresses again stressed on the fact that there should be a 24 hour channel for performing arts so that more and more people learn to appreciate music and the talented musicians who most often than not go unrecognized get a platform to showcase their skills.
Musical evenings of such stature act as a revitalizing potion for the tired minds of urban India and concerts such as these should be organized and promoted more often to not just keep the culture of the land alive but to infuse a breath of fresh air into our otherwise mundane lives.