Hindustani Classical Vocal by Bhaggesh Marathe at iTeach RSM, 14 July 2018
An account by Vaikhari Ozarkar
Last Saturday, I attended a very interesting and innovative session by the Baithak Foundation – a one hour concert by Bhaggesh Marathe, disciple of Pt. Kedar Bodas, at an unconventional location, for uninitiated listeners. Volunteering for a unique concept like this seemed to be interesting!
Baithak Foundation is an NGO that aims at promoting Indian Classical Music (ICM) meaningfully among the masses and lets everyone (especially students) experience the magic of it. As Bhaggesh, along with Saumitra Kshirsagar on the harmonium, Swapnil Bhise on the tabla and Keyur Kurulkar and Shailesh Sawant on the Tanpura, started a well thought rendition of Raag Shuddha Dhaivat Lalat, I could see the middle school students in the audience totally engrossed in listening to him. It seemed that even those who were beginners, tried to comprehend and were able to feel the nuances of the singing. Bhaggesh kept those completely novice minds glued to his music and students certainly seemed to be enjoying listening to him.
As there were almost 80 students who signed up for the concert, Baithak decided to conduct two sessions of 40 students each, to ensure that everyone gets an interactive experience and can closely observe the artists perform. Bhaggesh presented two 30-35 minute Raags, Shuddha Dhaiwat Lalat in the first session and Gunakali in the next. Both sessions continued almost for 50 minutes, as many children shared their listening experience, asked questions and thanked the artists for coming to their school and presenting their art.
One thing that I would really like to appreciate Baithak, for is the interactive space they provide for any kind of audience after the concert, so that they can freely converse with the artist. Another commendable effort is to prepare the students for the concert by providing write-ups about the artist and the art form one week before the concert. This helps the students as they are already aware about the nature of the performance before the actual concert. Students opened up freely with their questions, like “How come your hand gestures are in sync with what you were singing?”, or “What do the words of the song (Bandish) mean?”, etc. Bhaggesh answered their questions in detail in a satisfying manner. He also encouraged them by asking them to look for more such resources that would be easily available for them to listen to.
Students seemed overall happy to experience and learn something new from such a wonderful and captivating musical interaction. Such experiences contribute as much as regular studies in school, and it is great that schools like iTeach RSM are coming forward and providing such experiences to their students. I am really grateful to Baithak Foundation for having me with them for this session. Thank you!
* * *
– Vaikhari Ozarkar.
(an ICM student who volunteered with Baithak for the above event).