Hindustani Vocal Concert by Sai Eishwary Mahashabde at Tara Mobile Creches, Pune’s Charoli Centre
29 October 2018, 3:30 to 4:30 pm
On 29th of October 2018, I attended one of the concerts curated by ‘Baithak Foundation’. It was an Indian Classical Music (ICM) vocal concert by Sai Eishwary Mahashabde, disciple of Pt. Ulhas Kashalkar. The program was at Tara Mobile Creches Pune’s ‘Pride World City, Charoli’ Centre, from 3 to 4 pm. He was accompanied by Nilay Salvi on harmonium and Ajinkya Galande on Tabla.
After reaching the Centre, much excitement was visible. The students and teachers were already waiting for the artists to arrive. Sai had already performed for Baithak earlier in a similar setting, and thus knew pretty well how to engage children, who have had minimal exposure to ICM, in an hour long concert.
Before starting the music, a few minutes of general chatting made atmosphere informal, and the children became comfortable. This helped them stay as focused as possible for the concert. The audience, consisting around 20 children and an equal number of elders, was already familiar with the harmonium and tabla. A couple of kids even knew the Taanpura and its purpose, which came as a pleasant surprise.
Sai started the concert with Raag Multaani. He presented a Khayaal in Bilambit Jhumra, and a drut bandish in Ektaal. Children were silent almost throughout the rendition, and enjoyed it too. This was something different than what they are generally are used singing or listening. After Multaani, Sai presented a bhajan in Mishra Chaarukeshi. It was something more familiar to the audience due to their cultural roots. Back in their hometowns, almost every one of them had heard some bhajan-s and keertan-s.
Nilay and Ajinkya accompanied Sai with dexterity. After the performance, Sai generously allowed the children to look at the instruments, including the Taanpura, and insisted them to try playing it. Sai also told them the purpose and importance of all accompanying instruments. Many children attempted to hold the Taanpura in their lap, and play it as per Sai’ instructions.
A few children requested Ajinkya to teach them how to place hands on the Tabla. They were amused to see that Ajinkya could make a loud sound on the Tabla by just a tap, whereas they needed much effort for the same volume. Ajinkya explained that years of practice resulted in the tonal quality and truthfully said that he still has years to go before he can reach his goal. The interaction after the concert was as fruitful as the concert itself.