The well known Ghazal maestro’s Baloo Dutaa, and South Africa’s gift of India – Monali Shome, Subhasish Chatterjee and Sura- dindu performed at the Linder Auditorium and gave the music lovers an unforgettable experience to all the entertainment passionate populace of Johannesburg with their melodious and beautiful selection of Ghazals last Saturday evening.
Emotively erotic in nature this is how I would describe the evening I spent at the Linder Auditorium in Parktown, Johannesburg. By 19H00 the lobby was abuzz with hype as lovers of ghazal music assembled in their droves. Busying himself with his charm and hospitality was Vikram Doraiswami who swapped his impeccable dress sense of suits for a traditional garb. To complement his attire, the Consul-General’s wife Sangeetha upstaged her husband in a flowing red sari which caught my attention. Her sense of style was clearly one to be reckoned with. Doraiswami who swept past me and jokingly mentioned to me that the misprint of his name in last weeks column wasn’t a problem with him so long as the beauty and splendor of our countries were promoted positively.
Swirling glasses of whisky wafted through as I swanked my way across the hall looking for the fashionable disastrous and those which seemed to look as if they fell off the catwalk with an Eastern designer kameez’s. This evening was one of Indian bourgeois.
The evening performance, Ghazal-E-Confluence a production jointly created by Zee TV, Muzicorp and other major sponsors seemed to clearly be a hit with the guests. I met with FNB’s Provincial Chairman, Mr Bobby Madhav who was pleased to see a fairly good turnout tonight. We chatted briefly about another impending swank event which is by invite only which I will be swanking soon. Not to give away too much but it is going to something to brag about especially with the star studded guest list that I have heard about.
As I tweeted about the evening from my Blackberry, my Twitter and Facebook was abuzz with questions from fans about Ghazal-e-Confluence which they were missing out on especially with the presence of the songstress Monali Shome. Zee TV’s Zaakira Amod who cornered me as I entered the venue offered me a flyer to complete in a chance to win R5000, I kindly turned down the offer and asked her to strike a pose for me as her dress sense hit home with me. A blushing Amod eventually gathered some friends and snapped up a picture.
The night of Ghazal’s was clearly one that attracted a niche audience of guests and was also one that affirmed an affluent brigade of Indians from all walks of life both South African and Indian.
By 19H30 I made my way in to the Linder Auditorium where a full house of music lovers were seated eagerly awaiting the 4 maestro’s to make their mark on stage. Sitting next to me was Terrence Kommal, also in the publishing industry with his partner. I was surprised to see the CEO of Sutra busying himself with his camera whilst his partner was fidgeting with her video camera. I would have expected their staff to be handling this but then again a CEO with a bit of elbow grease could not be that bad I assume.
As I scribbled on with some notes, Sangeetha Doraiswami caught my attention and waved at me with a big smile to acknowledge my presence this evening as Zing Masakui took her seat next to the Consul’s wife.
GHAZAL-e-Confluence an evening with the musicians Baloo Dutta, the mesmerizing songbird Monali Shome, Subhasish Chatterjee and Saradindu Adhikary began with a short speech by Doraiswami who explained with much passion the essence of Ghazal’s and its impact on music throughout the ages.
Monali Shome, who I am familiar with from her past performances. Shome, a performer captured my attention with her magically hypnotic voice. Shome whose musical brilliance known all over the world, is also a recipient of the R.D Burman award. Her work here in South Africa is also commendable as she offers free lessons as well here under the umbrella of the Consulate. She regaled the audience with ghazals and songs of different genres of classical music and some of her own compilations.
A sense of utmost respect for the art of performing Ghazal musicians crept over the audience, passion for the artists and their painfully beautiful renditions left me in awe. Some of the audience fought back the urge to burst into song as well but as slowly as the music and song flowed seamlessly from one couplet to the next it was the end of the silence and the audience began chanting along with endless applauds. Some emotional renditions by the troupe left some with wet eyes as it had struck a chord in their own emotional turmoils, Monali Shome once again had hypnotized the swooning audience with her magical voice. The night of Ghazal-E-Confluence proved to be a taste of what was to come forth from the likes of Zee TV and the Indian Consulate’s aim to share our wealth of culture, music and art.
The moments of pregnant silence right before Dutta and Shome began their performances was simply haunting as they shattered the silence as we all took a deep breath waiting for their next brilliant ghazal to emanate from their vocal chambers and more so from their soul. Some fiery and others holier than thou lyrics left me yearning for more. My love of the ghazal music reminded me of the musical greats like Nusrat, Munni Begum and the legendary Abida Parveen whom I am hoping to see perform later this year.I was constantly disturbed by the distinct mutterings by one of the guests who was testing my patience as I was listening with awe at the lyrics being sung by Monaliji whilst Chatterjee amazed the audience with his artful mastery on the tabla that reminded me of Karsh Kale in Tabla Beat Science – brilliantly breathtaking!
A swank night that left me transcendentally awakened and off home to listen to my selection of Abida Parveen’s albums.