The last time I was mesmerised, …. not just fascinated or merely spell-bound, but mesmerised by music was a couple of years ago in Bangalore when I attended this concert by a li’l band called “Shakti“. I did go to an “Iron Maiden” concert this year, but frankly, the sound system there wasn’t as good and apart from the fact that I was hearing one of my favourite bands of all time, there was no real acoustic pleasure.
But last weekend, I attended a concert called “Urja : The Power of Music“.
Team Urja consisted of the following luminaries :
Kumaresh and Ganesh on Violins. They were called child-prodigies on Violins. Playing Violin, a considerable difficult instrument to play, from the age 8, these guys are apparently revered in the world of Indian classical music .
Taufeeq Qureshi : Youngest son of Ustad Allah Rakha is also a world renowned Percussionist who can “play” music with his mouth as well as with his hands.
Ustad Zakir Hussain : Last, but certainly not the least, the front-man of this little cabal was Mr.Twiddle-Fingers himself, the fasted Table player in the world, Ustad Zakir Hussain. He needs no introduction and I will not waste any time in doing so either.
When we entered the Navrosjee Wadia College stadium where this foursome were to perform, it was pretty empty. I was a bit disappointed to see such a dearth of enthusiasm especially when such an esteemed and august audience was playing. But I was not to be dis-illusioned. In a matter of half an hour, the whole ground was filled with teeming bodies of music lovers.
What happened in the next couple of hours was magic. I could go on and on about how I was transcended to a different world, how the percussions of Taufeeq Qureshi and melodies from the Violins of the prodigious brothers was immensely entertaining, how the complete tandem and synchronization between all the maestros was flawless, or how even a mediocre music listener like myself could understand what level of practise or riyaz these stalwarts must have undergone. But I will not bother with all these ramblings.
What had be completely trans-fixed were the fingers of the Tabla Maestro. As Zakir started his solo, the pin-drop silence in a stadium of atleast 5000 people, was deafening. He then proceeded to hypnotise this body of listeners for 20 minutes. 20 minutes !! Being a Tabla player myself, I know how physically challenging it is to play for 5 minutes continuously at the speed at which he does.
I was watching his hands closely on the Mega Screens, but in vain. He was producing sounds from the Tabla pair that I had never heard before. The camera could not catch the movement of all his fingers, so that the effect created was as if there was more than one person playing the instrument.
All in all, from all the three performances that I have been to, I think this was Zakir’s best. The next time, there is a performance by the Maestro, I’ll make sure to update the details here so that people have not yet attended his performances can join in and know what they have missed till date.