The last concert at TMCP Charoli was a Sarangi concert by Yuji Nakagawa. Yuji, a very talented and sincere student of ICM since two decades, is one of the foremost disciples of late Pt. Dhruba Ghosh. As compared to other concerts, the attendance for this concert was low due to some unforeseen situation at the Centre. It was good to see the children sitting quietly without anyone constantly reminding them to be quiet. They were seeing the Sarangi for the first time, and were fascinated when Yuji told them that the instrument has around 40 strings of varied thickness (guage), and each one had to be tuned before starting any performance.
Yuji performed an elaborate Raag Patdeep and concluded with a short rendition in Raag Chaarukeshi. Shruteendra Katagade’s Tabla accompaniment was apt. Children especially liked the latter half of the performance consisting of taan-s and zhaala, but agreed to Yuji’s explanation that the faster part was interesting due to the mood set during the slower part of the rendition. Yuji then explained what Sarangi was made of. Yuji asked the students to guess – a few said it was some metal, others said wood. Yuji confirmed that there is wood as Sarangi is made out of a single block of wood. The front side of the Sarangi is covered by a material made of goat skin. The bow is made of hair of the horse’s tail. When asked how does Yuji play the strings as there is no plectrum in his hands. Yuji responded that Sarangi is played with the cuticle portion of the fingers. All this information was new for the children, and they asked Yuji if they could touch the Sarangi. Yuji generously let them touch it, while telling them to be gentle, and guided them. Shruteendra demonstrated how the language of the Tabla is created from a few basic syllables, and how the syllables are used in many combinations to create interesting designs (tabla compositions). Yuji and Shruteendra have been associated with Baithak Foundation for almost a year now, and every time they perform for Baithak, it is an enriching experience for the children.