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Hindustani vocalism

Bhavan Bharatiya Vidya, London 27th July 2013

PANDIT SAMARESH CHAWDHURY, one of the most distinguished Hindustani classical singers of the present time, gave an absorbing recital in some unusual rags, including several compositions of his own.

This was preceded by a short presentation from emerging Hindustani vocalist Dhanraj Persaud who, to western non-specialist listeners, sounded fully equipped though still young. To our ears, he was better heard far back from our allocated press seats.

It all made for a riveting evening of song at the Bhavan in West Kensington, accompanied by expert tabla player Rajkumar Misra and a nimble fingered player on the harmonium.

In the interval earlier than usual there was splendid spicy food in the restaurant at very reasonable prices.

SAMARESH CHAWDHURY, a disciple of the late Ravi Shankar, began with balance checks in discussion with the engineer up in the gallery. They were hard to follow since the powerful loudspeakers in front of the stage were beamed at the audience, and probably could be little heard on stage?

It would be good if volume level decisions might involve help from Eastern & Western listeners in the body of the audience? Whatever, one got used to it, as too in Ilford recently.

A good balance and sound quality may be enjoyed from CDs that were on sale at the hall.

Three of Samaresh Chawdhury's were available; on advice, I bought his Taan Rang Vol 2, well worth acquiring, with tracks in Ragas Anand Bhairov, Nayaki Kanada and Khamaj, all still mysterious despite us having been listening to Indian classical music since the earlier days when Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan played and taught appreciation of their music in London, and bringing it to the notice of readers of Music Web's Seen & Heard and Musical Pointers. Regrettably the sleeve notes included are sparse, without a CD number or any information about provenance and recording date.

Excellent sound samples can be enjoyed on Samaresh Chawdhury's own website.

Peter Grahame Woolf