Monday, September 17, 2012

Concert of the Legends - 16 Sep 2012

I am still reveling after the last night’s ‘The Concerts of the Legends’ with Ustad Zakir Hussain and Pt. Birju Maharaj ji. It was a marvelous show and the chemistry between Maharaj ji and Zakir bhai was amazing, nothing like I have ever seen before.

Ustad Zakir Hussain is the best Tabla (percussion instrument) player, he is the son of Ustad Alla Rakha and was a child prodigy. He started performing internationally at the age of 12 and till date performs about 150 concert a year. He has multiple awards and degrees to his name and once you listen to him play, all accolades seem to fall to sides and nothing really measures up.

Pt. Birju Maharaj, is my guru Rita ji's Guru and is the best Kathak dancer and guru alive, he is the seventh generation in his family to be leading and nurturing the Lucknow Gharana of Kathak. As I mentioned before I have taken classes from him before and have seen him compose and perform at close quarters and he is the ultimate role model for any dancer. His stamina and his expressions remain unmatched. And even folks who are not familiar with the stories he tells through his dance (mostly of lord Krishna), can identify with them just by following his expressions. He belongs to a generation that believed in discipline, respect for the art as well as the teachers and is very much a self made man despite his birth in a well known Kathak gharana.

Since I knew the tight schedule of both the leads and there was absolute no time for a full fledged rehearsal, I was more in awe of the 'jugalbandi' (a playful duet between two soloist) which were the highlights of the show.
Ustad Zakir Hussain in Concert

Zakir bhai saying a few words
Maharaj ji's residency in Minnesota is still continued after the show so I'll write more about him and the experience soon but for now I am just floored by Zakir bhai (as he insisted on being addressed rather than Ustad). He is such a wonderful performer and yet a very down to earth person. 

DH with Zakir bhai, backstage
I wore a Kantha sari for the occasion and as I was getting autograph from Zakir bhai, he complimented my sari and said, "give her a jamdaani and wonder what she'll do". Oh! I know it might just be a compliment to put an awed admirer at ease but I cannot get those words out of my head and now I wish to own a dhakai jaamdani weaved on a hand loom. 

A family picture with Pt. Birju Maharaj ji
If you ever get a chance to watch him perform, do not miss it for any reason. His music is out of this world and has the capability to transform into a surreal and spiritual world...

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