The concert on 20th of August 2018 featured a sitar recital by Jaya Jog, a senior disciple of Ustad Usman Khan. She was supported on the tabla by Ketaki Vaidya. The audience for the concert comprised of all groups of children, 3 years to 18 years old, along with a handful of parents residing in the community for which the centre is working.
Jaya ji commenced once the room was ready for her with an eager audience and the technicalities were taken care of.
Like a true artist, she started off by first interacting with her crowd and giving them basic know how about music and the instrument she would be playing for them – the sitar. She educated the children on what makes a prose/lyric a song – which according to her would be ‘sur’ and ‘laya’. Jaya ji then went on to introduce the sitar and its parts speaking about the sound box traditionally made of a specific kind of pumpkin, the wooden neck of the instrument, along with the main strings and sympathetic strings. She made the session participative by guiding the children with a recitation of the ‘saptak-s’ – the students seemed fairly thrilled to sing along.
A fun filled interaction of varying combinations of the saptak-s on the sitar and the children was then followed by a short solo presentation by her student, a composition in Raag Bhoop, set to taal Teentaal (16 beats rhythm cycle). After which Jaya ji spoke about the first part of an instrumental recitation being known as the Alaap-Jod, and requested her audience to close their eyes in order to quieten their minds so as to enjoy the performance to its fullest. Jaya ji started Raag Bhoop with an Alaap-Jod, and the proceeded to perform compositions, set to vilambit (slow) Teentaal followed by a drut (fast) Teentaal.
Experiencing a room of an audience comprising of a variety of age groups which mostly consisted of children below 16 years of age, was pleasantly surprising, mostly because of their spirit to absorb this almost unfamiliar form of art with much fervor. A couple of the children also commented on how they felt after experiencing the music while keeping their eyes closed and fully indulging in the music.
Children trying to concentrate on the Alaap on sitar, by closing their eyes. After the performance, children asked questions like how many strings the sitar has, for how many years did Jaya ji learnt, what Jaya ji was wearing in her right hand index finger to strike the strings, etc. Jaya ji appreciated their observations, and answered all the questions in detail.
The children and a few parents present expressed that they were grateful to Jaya ji and Ketaki for their time and an incredible performance and interaction.