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Saudha’s Ghazal and Thumri Festival in London

39‘Exploring to develop a Western Gharana of Indian classical Music’Ghazal and Thumri festival organised by one of the prominant promoters of Indian Classical Music of this country, Saudha, Society of Poetry and Indian Music-‘made a true valentine treat’ for many Londoners at Morden Assembly Hall and Raynes  Park Library Hall. Leading musicians, poets from different languages and reciters made a truly engaging and high quality collaborative art through each performance on both days of the festival. Diverse spectrum of houseful crowed were mesmerized by the soft and relaxing Indian semi-classical music and relevant verses from great traditional poets like Lorca, Tagore, Hafiz, Keats which were set to interprethe mood of music. ‘That was indeed a tremendous and memorable valentine’s treat’ that’s how Michelle one of the audience described her experience. ‘The music was so soothing, I couldn’t even keep my eyes open’ she added’. ‘Chandra was glowing with whatever form of music she was singing’. It was wonderful to witness these breathtaking magical moments’ -said Robert, one of the local journalists.The festival was officially inaugurated by the director of Nehru Centre Sangeeta Bahadur. Emerging semi-classical vocalist Farzana Sifat started with one of the famous Thumri by Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali ‘Yad piya ki ayee’ at Morden Assembly Hall. Erik Schelander, mainly a Schubert vocalist and Shagufta Sharmeen Taniya, mainly a fiction writer recietd from Hafiz in different phase to interpret the melancholic melody of love and visceral pain. The serene ambience created by Farzana was then taken over by one of the highly acclaimed musicians Mehboob Nadeem. He sang few beautiful, deeply spiritual renditions of Ghalib and other traditional prominant lyricists and gradually pulled the audience into deeper mystery of music. Erik’s accompaniment in recitation from Ghalib, Keats and Tagore, with his high quality baritone voice complemented the music both to decode the meaning and to intensify the mood. Tabla Player Yusuf Ali Khan and Keybord player Sunil Jadhav were simply the inttrinsic partners of the art of magic and musement all the way through. After a short break, one of the maestros of Indian classical music Chandra Chakraborty sat on the stage with Sunil Jadhav, Yusuf Ali khan, Erik Schelander and Shagufta Sharmeen Taniya and Dr Siddhartha Kargupta. She took the serene ambience into the phase of magical depth and at the crest of the climax with her amazingly powerful voice while singing pure Kheyal and Thumri. Her incredibly high-speed Tan-Sargam, sense-sanitizing tonal melody; accurate excution and delivery of each note, amplification of soul-connecting temper through music literally captivated the houseful audience in a deep obsession. The event ended up with a short recital of Sitar by Mehboob Nadeem and a brief speech by the deputy mayor of Merton Council Laxmi Attawar as well as the direcotor of Saudha T M Ahmed Kaysher.The last day of the festival started with Erik’s wonderful rendition of Traubadour and a young talented singer Ekjot Kaur’s brief version of Kheyal. Then few celebrated poets that include David Lee Margon, Mahfuz Ali Mir, Scott farquharson and Shaila Simi read independent poetry with background music by Abu Emran. Young and eminent semi-classical singer Sayan Gupta sang couple of Ghazals beautifully from Hariharan and Farzana Sifat sang few romantic and heart-perforating compositions by the poet of Bengal Kazi Nazrul Islam. The two-day festival reached to its conclusion by Chandra Chakraborty’s sublime and unique presentations of Kheyal and Dadra.’I felt like I was taken out from this real world for a while. Such a powerful music it was. Such an unique experience I have!’ said Ana, one of the audience at Raynes Park library hall.