Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

(Summer School teachers perform)

Subhra Guha

Bhavan, West Kensington; 24 July 2011 6:00pm

A very special evening of singing by Subhra Guha, a leading North Indian singer of the younger generation, who has a particularly mellifluous voice and charming friendly manner.

She sang to us, without a trace of tiredness, for about one and a half hours, accompanied by Rajkumar Misra, a genial tabla player who was hugely enjoying himself.

Subhra's long set was preceded by a tabla performance of some twenty minutes, Ansubha Bandhopadhyay matching his finger-skills with extraordinary vocal virtuosity in enunciating the rhythms he was about to play - so much for those of our opera singers who make a name for themselves with the tongue-twisting patter songs of G&S and Rossini...

One of the pieces, so we were told by the indefatigable harmonium accompanist (I didn't catch his name) who played throughout, was composed only the day before the concert; another we heard went back to the 18 C.

After an interval to enjoy delicious Indian delicacies, there was a dance performance which, for us, was disappointing. The listed dancer had apparently had difficulties and was replaced by a Mrs Roja, so I was told afterwards.

She gave solos which appeared to be story telling in dance, and was pleasant to watch, but the spoken announcements gave us no help and, as is customary at Bhavan, there was no explanatory printed programme for the evening.

Amplification had been moderate and acceptable for the first half, but was crass in its excess for the canned music with choir which accompanied the first of the dances, spoiling the atmosphere which had been built up before the break.

South Indian Music and Dance
Bhavan 31 July 2011

Bhavan embraces both styles at its Summer School, and teachers of the Karnatic persusasion (their music eschews the formality of the typical three part structure in which rags are presented in the North).

This evening was better balanced than last week's.

A greatly enjoyable concert was shared between singer Sukanya Prabhakar and dancer Surya Rao.

The tireless singer, who made sure everyone was having a good time, was supported by Neyveli Venkatesh (mridangam) and Balu Ragumraman (violin), the latter often admired at Bhavan, adept at mirroring the melodic shapes of his lead soloists' improvisations and interposing short solos to give the singer a rest.

Surya Rao
, impressively handsome and athletic, inventive and expressive in his movements, communicated the stories of his classical dances in English before each item, which was a great help. He was supported by music tracks which were well chosen to support the dances, and were projected loud, but not too loud given the tension and excitement generated on stage.

Peter Grahame Woolf