In this bewitching performance, four amazing percussionists, all soloists in their own right, will take you on a spine-tingling journey of Indian percussion instruments belonging to the Hindustani and Carnatic repertoires.
Put together by the genial-brilliant Satyajit Talwalkar, who is held in great esteem by fans all over the world for his breath-taking tabla solos and highly amiable accompaniments, this concert is an unpretentious tribute to Bhai Gurmit Singh Ji Virdee in whose memory the Darbar Festival was started in 2006.
Along with the tabla, it brings the endearing drama of Sukhvinder Singh ‘Pinky’, the jori master (a pair of Indian drums used to accompany Sikh spiritual music), the virtuous and power-packed mridangam of Sai Giridhar (double-headed Carnatic drum) and the groovy and honeyed strokes of Giridhar Udupa on the ghatam (clay-pot from south India).
Together, the musicians lend energy to the recital that ripples with excitement, a single moment of which is not pre-meditated. Living masterfully in the moment, their strokes float with the grace of a swan, stride with the pride of a lion, flutter with the lightness of a butterfly’s hued wings and jump with sudden bolts of energy of a cheetah. The supercharged medley of sounds swirl, leap and bounce creating intricate clusters of highly mathematical permutations and combinations.
This video captures moments during the sound-check that normally happens behind the curtains in total oblivion of the concert-goer. However, made with organic materials, Indian instruments are highly sensitive to brightness, temperature, atmospheric sounds and space. They shrink, expand and change tonal quality and pitch and in this particular situation the process can be pretty tedious.
The look of uncertainty and utter dissatisfaction in the eyes of the musicians equates to being greeted by an anti-climax at the very beginning.
The ensemble shines like a multi-faceted diamond, reflecting its dazzling lights every moment with sensitive collaboration, playful to-and-fro dialogues, brilliant solos and a roaring crescendo where they rise to a final moment of victory in unison.
Milind Kulkarni, one of the youngest and most sought-after melodic accompanists from India, plays the challenging role of binding the pulsating, multitudinous beast of rhythms with the melody. A sensitive collaborator who makes his shining moments with coruscating solos as well, Kulkarni’s assured and confident performance is highly noteworthy.
In the end, as the audience rises to a standing ovation, it is heart-warming to see the ensemble bow down and touch the feet of Singh on stage - a typical way of showing reverence to seniors in India.
Satyajit Talwalkar (tabla)
Sukhwinder Singh (jori)
Sai Giridhar (mridangam)
Giridhar Udupa (ghatam)
Milind Kulkarni (harmonium)