An Evening in Ode to a Master

Lucknow: In  Uttar Pradesh Sangeet Natak Akademi, the Akademi’s magazine Chhayanat was released which focuses on remembering the singer Padmashree Pt. Balwant Rai Bhavrang, who awakened the people with his songs to liberate the country from the shackles of independence and filled in all the spirit of the freedom movement. The program was organized on the occasion of the launch in the presence of guests at Sant Gadgeji Maharaj Auditorium, Academy Complex, Gomtinagar, classical singer Rahul Bhatt of Varanasi and the performance of scenic Kathak compositions of Akademi Kathak Kendra enthralled the  music lovers.

On this occasion Akademi President Dr. Rajeshwar Acharya paid homage to his guru Pt. Bhavrang while putting forth his memoirs. He said his love for music and patriotic spirit kept him awake till the last days at the age of 95. Acharya said Panditji was my guru and his passion for singing patriotic songs turned into more enthusiasm when he met his guru Pt. Onkarnath Thakur. He was a teacher from the Faculty of Music and Performing Arts of Banaras Hindu University. Guruji had lost his eyesight due to an illness.

He used to listen to music programs broadcast by All India Radio. Even today, artists perform in programs aired on Doordarshan on songs written by Balwant Rai Bhatt, famous for his distinct style of singing. Enchanted by his songs, he was invited to perform his program in the palace of the Shah of Afghanistan in 1952.

Earlier, while welcoming the guests, Secretary of the Academy, Tarun Raj highlighted the contribution of Pt. Bhavrang and told that recently the Academy has published special issues on Kumbh, Yoga, Sarsarang, Girijadevi, Pt. Ravi Shankar. This issue centered on Pt. Bhavrang is edited by Alok Paradkar.

In addition to the audience present, the program was thoroughly enjoyed by the music lovers online on the Academy Facebook page. Pt. Rahul Bhatt, who learned singing after listening to his father Pt. Balwant Rai Bhavrang and veteran classical artists, presented the compositions composed by him on Pitru Paksha as a tribute to his father.

In the first Raga Nanda and Rupak Madhya Laya, Pagi Khayal composition – Udho Kahe Aaye Braj Mein and Vari Vari Puni Vari Jau Se Aalap etc. in the fast three talas in full classical modalities. The classical elegance blossomed in the presentation of the next Chaturanga composition – Hori Khelat Nandlal….. presented in Raga Adana by Rahul Bhatt, who took the training of Tabla playing from Pt. Nageshwar Prasad Mishra and Pt. Chhote Lal Mishra.

A master of giving drama and background music, Pt. Bhatt, composed in Ragashree Aada Chautal, put forward the mature nature of his singing. In Rupak Taal and Bhairavi, his father’s song composition – Swadhin Bharat Sarvad Sukh Shanti Jag Mein Chahta Hai … Kamalakant on Harmonium and Rajiv Mishra on Tabla.

In the second phase of the program, the students of Akademi Kathak Kendra performed on the stage titled “Kathak Bhavrang” based on Chhota Khayal composition and tarana of Pt. Bhavrang under the choreography of Shruti Sharma. Students of the center Priyam Yadav, Srishti Pratap, Shagun, Yadav, Antara Singh, Gauri Shukla, Saanvi Saxena, Vidhi Joshi, Aarohi Srivastava, singing in beautiful motions and compositions, expanded the compositions. Kamalakant cast a spell.  Rajiv Shukla, a skilled tabla player on the tabla and Deependra Kunwar on the flute, played well.

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