Pt Nayan Ghosh & Ishaan Ghosh in DC

A review by Uday Kamath -

In the realm of classical music, a divine presence graced the stage, manifesting as the illustrious Pt. Nayan Ghosh ji. A virtuoso Sitarist, exceptional Tabla player, outstanding vocalist, expert musicologist, and esteemed professor at many universities including IIT Bombay – Pt. Nayan Ghosh ji embodies the essence of musical genius.

Accompanied by his prodigiously talented son, Ishaan, on tabla, the duo dazzled the audience with their sublime performance. The concert commenced with an enchanting alap and jor in raag Patdeep, where Nayan ji demonstrated his unparalleled mastery over the slow slides, the meends, the gamaks, and the scintillating fast gats. Ishaan's accompaniment on tabla exuded staggering maturity and panache, earning him many ovations from the entranced audience. A melodic interlude in raag Tilak Kaamod followed, its inherent sweetness expertly drawn from Nayan ji's Sitar through his delicate touch of the notes.

Feeling the audience's palpable excitement for tabla, Nayan ji invited Ishaan to present a solo. The ensuing 12-minute display of virtuosity in Jhaptaal (10 beats) was the evening's zenith for many. Ishaan's spontaneous creativity, showcasing uThan, peshkar, gats, and relas, left the audience utterly spellbound. The clarity, speed, and crispness of bols emphasized why this prodigious young artist is considered among India's front-ranking young tabla players. The concert continued with a mesmerizing piece in raag Khamaaj, where Nayan ji masterfully blended various influences from Blues into traditional music.

The grand finale was a transcendent Bangla Baul performance, infused with elements of Sufism, Vaishnavism, and Bhakti ras. Nayan ji captivated the audience by singing and playing the bandish on his Sitar. Although he may disagree out of his humbleness, Nayan ji has undoubtedly joined the pantheon of great stalwarts of the instrumental era, alongside legends such as Ravi Shankar ji, Nikhil Banerjee ji, Vilayat Khan sahib, and Ali Akbar Khan sahib. Deeply grateful to NaadRang and the India International School and India Spiritual & Cultural Center for orchestrating this celestial feast for all the music fans.

In addition to the ethereal musical experience, engaging in a stimulating conversation with Nayan ji on various topics, including music, poetry, linguistics, and even cooking, was an immense privilege. A moment that stood out was when, in Konkani, he said, "makka Zakira ka, Anindo ka, Shahida ka avadta te non-veg nakka, makka vegetarian coLmbo kari" (I know Zakir ji, Anindo ji, Shahid ji enjoy the Biryanis and meat, but please prepare the Konkani coLmbo (vegetable daal) for me).

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