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Songs of spring

The much-awaited Vasantotsav kickstarts from January 20. The Guide gives you the lowdown

The fifth edition of Vasantotsav, an event that is synonymous with the city, will feature performances ny Ghazal singers Roop Kumar Rathod and Sunali Rathod, vocalist Ustad Rashid Khan, sitar maestro Ustad Shahid Parvez and renowned tabla player and Sangeet Natak Akademi award-winner Swapan Chaudhuri. The three-day music fest will feature the best of classical and fusion music by reputed names in the field of Indian and international music.


Hari Haran

Tabla player Swapan Chaudhuri admits to feeling proud of performing at Vasantotsav.  "The audience is quite tuned in to the sounds of the tabla. It's heartening to receive the audience appreciation." He added that he was in the city two years ago and he loved the experience. Chaudhari has played in the Sawai Gandharva Music Festival as well. 


Amjad Ali Khan

"Vasantotsav is all about bringing different forms of music to the stage since my grandfather always liked listening to various types of music," said vocalist Rahul Deshpande, grandson of the late Pandit Vasantrao Deshpande, in whose memory the programme is conducted. 


Louis Banks

Chaudhuri had earlier performed with the late Pandit Deshpande and he terms it a "memorable experience as he was a very sweet human being and a good-natured person". As Vasantotsav enters its fifth year, Despande goes down memory lane. "During the first year, music legends from various genres of music had turned up. The fest attempts to preserve the versatility of music that my grandfather cherished. The most memorable festival for me was the first and second year," said Deshpande. 

This edition will include a fusion performance as well where Deshpande, George Brooks (saxophone), Shashank Subramanyam (flute) and Vijay Ghate (tabla) will be performing. The second day will include performances by Swapan Chaudhuri and the second half of the evening will feature a unique fusion session featuring Rahul Deshpande (vocals), George Brooks (saxophone), Shashank Subramanyam (flute) and Vijay Ghate (tabla). Sitar player Niladri Kumar will present his signature Sitarfunk on the third day of the music festival.

Vasantotsav will conclude with a performance by masters of the 'khyal' style -- Pandit Rajan and Pandit Sajan Mishra from the Banaras gharana. "From this year onwards, we will present a scholarship to an upcoming artiste and felicitate established artistes in the field of Indian music with two awards," said Deshpande. 

Also on the anvil is taking Vasantotsav beyond Pune from next year onwards. "We hope to take Vasantotsav to other cities as well. We will also continue performing Sangeet Natak (Marathi musicals) for today's audiences because this is one musical genre that my grandfather Pandit Vasantarao Deshpande contributed to in a big way," he said.

Singer Rajan Sajan Mishra, who will be performing at Vasantotsav said, "Vasantraoji was a great person; though he was learned, he was very down to earth as well. In 1974, I first visited the city and I have been coming back ever since. This is the best place for a live performance as the audience is very appreciative."

From January 20 to 22, 5.30 pm to 10 pm
At New English School, Ramanbaug, Narayan Peth. 
Email info@vasantotsav.org

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