I was at home on a lazy quiet Sunday, the freshly brewed filter coffee lying on the table along with a bunch of papers. Either by habit or choice, I plucked one and skimmed through the lifestyle section for the movie recommends, and my lazy eye caught the advert ‘Splendor of Masters” which bore a photo of Ustad Rashid Khan. I went over the same with a disbelief, it was a dream to actually see this artist perform live and here was an opportunity I wasn’t going to miss.
I was first introduced to his singing when I watched an episode of Coke Studio, usually music moves people than the artist, but in this particular episode the way the chorus was being sung was just out of the cosmos. I clearly hadn’t seen/heard anything like it before until I walked into a room full of prestigious Carnatic musicians who were all waiting for the curtains to unfold at Splendor of Masters, a musical fest hosted by Banyan Tree events.
The room became quiet, the lights slowly faded in the auditorium and curtains moved, and gave way to the sounds, some very touching sounds from the Sarangi (Saar- summary) and ang meaning (different forms). It was a delight to watch masters dribble in their poetry-inducing musical notes while letting the vocals take the main stage.
I was amused at the Mr. Shubhankar Banerjee, who was lost in trance playing the tabla, Mr. Vinay Mishra plays the harmonium at his pace and Murad Ali on the Sarangi, which added a supreme touch to the Hindustani Classical Night. It was as if the musicians were in a trance themselves, lost in a world of notes and symphonies and Ustad Rashid Khan with his supreme base voice and throw of words and the audience in full applauds.
The song verse talks about the importance of a mentor, a teacher
“Without the mentor, there is no knowledge or wisdom, like how without the sun there is no day, without the tuning or raga there is no music the same way without the mentor there is no wisdom.”
And how true was the wisdom that came along with a set of different notes and ragas explaining the importance of a guide, a guru and hitting the right notes to make the senses open up and take note.
I was a little apprehensive at first been exposed to this genre of Hindustani Classical. I’ve walked into a great deal of Indian fusion music festivals and loved it, but here I was merely getting exposed to a new genre of music that I had paid no mind to earlier and slowly flowing in tune with it. Also the amount of understanding one requires to appreciate this genre is humongous. Just seeing Ustad Rashid Khan perform on stage and getting to meet the artist in person was a dream come true for me, but simply watching him be a pro at what he does by simply raising the bar a whole lot more.