Music for the soul

The Guide chats up with the musicians performing at the five-day long Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav

Punekaris wait all year round with a bated breath for the Sawai Gandharva Mahotsav. However, this year around, the 59th Sawai Gandharva Mahotsav (which has been renamed as the Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav) will be a five-day event. 

Singer Shankar Mahadevan

Performance of a lifetime
Mahesh Kale, a renowned vocalist from San Francisco, who will be part of the event, says, "Sawai is for me what a wari (pilgrimage from Alandi to Pandharpur) is for a warkari. Sawai has been graced with my Guruji's presence and performing on the same stage is an honour for me."

Vocalist Mahesh Kale

Sanjay Garud (35), another vocalist from Pune who is also a first time performer at Sawai, says, "It is a dream for every singer or musician to perform at Sawai and I consider myself very lucky to get a chance to perform here at such a young age. The event is a coming together of two great musicians -- Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and 
Sawai Gandharv." 

Vocalist Sanjay Garud

Carnatic singer Vyankatesh Kumar who is performing for the third time at the festival and hails from the same village as Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, says, "I am very privileged to perform on the stage that was graced by his presence. I consider myself lucky, it is sad that Panditji won't be there to watch me perform."

Carnatic singer Vyankatesh Kumar

Talking about the future of the festival and the fact that the late Pandit Bhimsen Joshi's name has been added to the festival, Kale says, "Bhimsenji was a phenomenon that happens once in many centuries. He has left behind a huge body of work and his hold over the audience can never be replaced. The festival is a sapling planted by Panditji which is now being nurtured by his son and the future seems very bright." 

On December 7 to 11
At New English School, Raman Baug Grounds.
Tickets Seasonal tickets are priced at Rs 350 and will be available at Shirish Traders (Kamla Nehru Park), Navdikar Musiclas (Tilak Road and Kothrud), Dinshaw & Company (Laxmi Road) and Behare Bandhu Ambewale (Bajirao Road). Students will get season tickets for Bhartiya Baithak for Rs 150. On event day, Bharatiya Baithak tickets will be sold at the venue at Rs 100 per day.

Festival Highlights
> An audio-visual production on the life of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi.
> An exhibition of caricatures by Prabhakar Wairkar 
> A performance by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and a host of singers including music composer Shankar Mahadevan.

Festival Schedule
Day 1 December 7 
Tukaram Daithankar (Shehnai), Sanjay Garud (Vocal), Pandit Satish Vyas (Santoor), Pandita Ashwini Bhide Deshpande (Vocal) and Pt Ajay Pohankar (Vocal).
Day 2 December 8 
Mahesh Kale (Vocal) followed by Shaila Datar (Vocal). Pt. Ronu Majumdar (Flute) and Kadri Gopalnath (Saxophone) performing Hindustani and Carnatic together. At the end of the day connoisseurs of music will get to hear Veteran vocalist Dr. Balmuralikrishna.
Day 3 December 9 
Kumar Mardur, (Vocal), Kartik Seshadri (Sitar), Shankar Mahadevan (Carnatic Classical) and Pt. Jasraj (Vocal)
Day 4 December 10 
Yojana Shivanand (Vocal), Shrinivas Joshi (Vocal), Pandita Malini Rajurkar (Vocal). There will be Bharatnatyam and Kathak dance performances. The session will end with the performance of Sarod Maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan.
Day 5 December 11 
Omkar Dadarkar (Vocal), Padma Deshpande (Vocal), Dr Nagaraj Rao Hawaldar (Vocal), Dr Shrimati N Rajam (Violin) with her daughter Sangeeta Shankar and two grand daughters followed by Pt Venkatesh Kumar (Vocal).

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