Brother-sister duo impress in debut performance
To hear about the nuances of classical Indian music in the words of young ones, is always a pleasure for connoisseurs of the art. As Amita Rao spoke about the purpose of ragas in Indian classical music, you couldn’t help thinking about what other girls of her age spend their time listening to. As Akshay Rao spoke about alaaps and how they prepare the listener to receive the emotions from the singer, you got a sense of the many Saturdays spent in practice.
Despite hectic school and university studies (Akshay is a commerce-law student at university and Amita, a Year 12 student), the brother and sister duo presented a commendable show in their debut performance in mid-January. With Sanskrit prayers, Tagore compositions, ghazals, raga-based film songs and Marathi and Kannada creations, the singers show-cased their repertoire in elegant style.
Both singers presented the traditional invocation to Lord Ganesha in the Sanskrit Ajam Neervi Kalpam. Amita impressed just as much with her Bengali Antara Mama, a composition with underpinning of mysticism and spirituality, as she did with the ghazal Aaj jaane ki zid in raga Yaman Kalyan. In Bolere pappi hara she managed to keep all the ornamentations intact, and she tackled the popular song Dil cheez kya hai with careful and smooth navigation, especially with the very high notes in the third antra.
Akshay strutted his stuff with Poocho na kaise main ne in raga Ahir Bhairav, inducing the right moods associated with this rag i.e. peace, sadness and love. He also showed off his nuanced raga Yaman Kalyan (Mana re) and raga Khamaj (Ayo kahan se Ghanshyam).
The Marathi duet Namagetha and Amita’s Kannada composition Bandaalo namma manege were also well received by the audience.
Madhuban mein radhika in raga Hamir was the concluding song for the evening and there was no sign of weariness as Akshay delivered the classic Mohammad Rafi song which was quite challenging in terms of taranas and the sargams involved.
As they sang one composition after another, there was no doubt that both had a firm control on the notes and rhythm. A great connection was built between the audience and the artistes as introduction was given about each song including raga and taal by the artistes themselves. The brilliant, lively tabla accompaniment by Abhijit Dan and the perfect harmonium support by Medha Pathak uplifted the atmosphere. The sound, managed by Abdul Sajwani ensured a well-balanced sound output.
Earlier in the evening, Akshay and Amita touched the feet of their teacher, the eminent Medha Pathak, as well as the musicians on stage, to seek their blessings. The proud teacher was seen nodding her head in appreciation as her students delivered some very challenging compositions, sharing the stage with her.
Parents Hema and Sudhakar welcomed the guests and Sudhakar spoke about his children’s desire to demonstrate through a performance, the knowledge that they had acquired during their pursuit in music. He also acknowledged music personalities Pushpa Jagadish, Aparna Nagashayana and Avijit Sarkar for their mentoring of Akshay and Amita during their journey in music.