Sawai fest keeps attracting visitors from foreign shores
True to the adage that music knows no boundaries, French musician couple, Sylvie Hiely and Laurent Gherzi, who have been coming to the Sawai Festival every year since three decades, this year's event lived up to their expectations albeit they missed the man who started it all.
Hiely said that this was the second year they witnessed the festival sans Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, recalling the late maestro’s past performances and calling him the God of music.
The music fest conceptualised by the late Bhimsen Joshi in memory of his guru Sawai Gandharva drew to a close last night, leaving the audiences spellbound. The festival that has surmounted importance for all classical music lovers worked as a magnet for not only people across the country but also for hundreds of foreign nationals who were seen in attendance this year. “I feel that the audience here is matured and they understand ragas,” said Hiely.
Virdi, an NRI photographer who came from England, said, “I enjoyed the fest a lot. Good music knows no boundaries and the fest served me a chance to click photographs of many noted performers at one place.”
Generation-next performing together at the 60th festival was the highlight of this year’s festival. Performances by vocalists and instrument players like shahnai recital by Sanjeev Shankar and Ashwini Shankar, vocalist Samihan Kashalkar along with his father Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar, Ritesh and Rajneesh Mishra along with Pandit Rajan Sajan Mishra, separate Sarod performance by brother duo Ayaan and Amaan Ali Khan Bangash and their father Sarod maestro Ustaad Amjad Ali Khan, and Santoor recital by Rahul Sharma and his father Pandit Shivkumar Sharma mesmerised audiences.
Vishnu Malik, a software engineer who has settled in Pune, said, “This year the vocalists and instrument players from the next generation continued to enthrall the audience and received the same amount of respect as their fathers and gurus get while performing at the Sawai festival.” Malik said the performance by Rahul Sharma, Ayaan and Amaan Ali Khan Bangash served as boost for many like him who are learning various forms of classical music.
Tickets for the show had sold out since Friday, and an hour before the show started the roads leading to Ramanbaug Grounds in Shaniwar Peth were chock-a-block. Chandeliers, LED screens, and a contemporary backdrop adorned the venue. Vocalist Malini Rajurkar also released two audio CDs of vocalist Pt Upendra Bhat. On an average 12,000 people thronged the venue daily.