Duo’s musical treat enchants listeners, says MALLI IYER
Three performances in Sydney within a fortnight brought forth a treat in percussion, as well as some melodious and classical sarod for the listening pleasure of music lovers. It culminated with a sarod recital by Adrian McNeil accompanied by Aneesh Pradhan on the tabla. A select audience at Macquarie University was enthralled by the tabla skills of Aneesh Pradhan, who is a highly accomplished soloist and a sensitive accompanist.
Aneesh is a disciple of the well-known tabla maestro, Sri Nikhil Ghosh and by his own admission, he wishes to go beyond the limits of tabla and rhythm, and will continue to learn new variations. Aneesh is known to push the boundaries by experimenting with a blend of western music. He has conducted cross-cultural experiments with the Asian Fantasy Orchestra, Japan in 1998 and 2000. His accomplishments include several lecture demonstrations and workshops globally. He has been honoured with the Aditya Birla Kala Kiran Award for his tabla skill and the talented musician has written a book titled Indian Tabla – Ebook. He also composes music for television, dance and theatre audiences all over India.
Aneesh has also partnered in a venture called “Underscore Records” with Smt Shuba Mudgal, another well-known Hindustani classical vocalist. Together they curate the festival, Baajaa Gaajaa from 21st Century India. His current visit has been sponsored by the Department of Contemporary Music Studies, Macquarie University.
Adrian McNeil, a lecturer in Macquarie University, is a well-known sarod player living in SydneyAdrian has received intensive training with Ashok Roy in the Guru-Shishya parampara and his music is aligned to the “Maihar Gharana” which is associated with names like Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Ustad Allauddin Khan and Ustad Enayat Khan. He has also received guidance from Sachindra Nath Roy and Dr. Ashoke Ranade, a renowned musicologist. Adrian has recorded music regularly for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), and is the author of Inventing the Sarod – a cultural history. Adrian McNeil has a PhD in music and has played the sarod in major cities in India, accompanied by top level percussionists.
Adrian played Raag Bhimpalas to a Vilambit gat in Jhap Taal and to a Drut Gat in Teen Taal (16 beats). Between the two artistes, they gave a superb exposition for over an hour of ear-pleasing music. Much to the delight of the audience, this was followed by a short tabla solo by Aneesh Pradhan to Teen Taal (16 maatras) which kept the audience glued to their seats. Aneesh and Adrian concluded their evening performance with a dadra in Raag Kirvaani (which has a South Indian origin). Adrian introduced several raag variations, thus giving it a dimension of “raagamalika”. Aneesh was equal to or was able to match these piece by piece, making the performance all the more enjoyable. In conclusion, the audience was left yearning for more.