Bishow Shitto Kendro, London has always been the connoisseur of literature, aesthetics and music. It is one of the established promoters of art, culture and heritage, which aims at upholding various artist of different genre. It had the privilege to organised an evening of Sufi classical music by Marina Alam Ahmad, who is a senior disciple of pundit Jasraj ji on 13 December, 2015 at Rich mix, London.
Being an expert of north Indian classical music, she enchanted the audience with the charm of her realm. Marina ji’s contemporary approach such as fusion has uniquely combined the depth of the Indian classical style with the free flowing motion of jazz simply stole the listener’s heart. She was accompanied by Mitel Purohit, who is one of the most sought after tabla percussionist in UK and Dhiren Raichura an eminent guitarist, who has played with many of the renowned singers from the Indian subcontinent.
Dhiren Ji being a multi-instrumentalist has the experience of playing with renowned Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali khan. Now days he plays with Anoop Jalota in various musical concert. He is skilled sin both north and south Indian music and many western forms such as jazz and funk.
Marina Ahmad’s soulful and distinctive panache has left the audience enthralled for two whole some hours. Her mastery over the delivery of notes and pitch, tonal precision, use of micro-tones and tone fragments were greatly praised. Her first song from raag Mia Ki Todi ‘la ilaha ill lal lah’ which primarily suffused a pensive and sombre mood (as it is supposed to be performed as late morning raga) were mainly sung to create meditative ambience.
The pensive mood was then relieved in the form of drutoloi (faster tempo) to lighten the poignant feel in the earlier phase of the rendition. Mitel Ji’s Benaras style table twinned with his passion for world music brilliantly complemented with Marina ji’s rendition. Indeed was a soothing and soulful commencement.
The performance then developed through raag Kirwani, the scale is same as harmonic minor in western music. ‘Holi Khelungi kahe bismillah’ song in kirwani raga have simply created a heart –rending and sentimental feel with moods of love and devotion. Dhiren ji’s instrumental rendition with Marina’s soulful delivery was truly a testament for tomorrow’s style. His musical notation on guitar and style reverberated among the listeners. As his composition was a fusion between western and eastern style of the contemporary world of music and that perfectly went along with Marina ji’s musical elucidation.
In this song Marina ji expressed that how in any form of devotional festivals be it holi, eid, diwali, muharram or any other religious ceremonies in Indian subcontinent (mainly undivided Bengal) the people of communal harmony begins rituals with Bismillah and thus the pattern of such lyrics. The next two songs ‘aye badariwa’ and ‘shama Jhuko’ she sang was from raag Gaur Malahar, which is an old raga in Indian classical music connected with the torrential rains of monsoon. According to the legend, raga Malahar is so powerful that when sung it can induce rainfall. Surely this rainfall is in fact tells the metaphorical state of mind brought about by the recitation of the raga itself. It was visible from the audience’s absolute fascination how they were completely drenched in memories of monsoonal love. The part of the song without and with tabla accompaniment was the depiction of various human emotions from forlorn and gloomy moods to loved and festive ones. Mitel Ji’s simply kept the audience mesmerised and captivated with his complete spontaneity keeping in pace with Marina ji’s unique rendition. The last segment of the performance started with ‘Kahe mana karo’ which is from raag Madhuwanti. It is a very romantic raga based on the basis, eternity and the hues of love. Madhu literally means honey and the song she sang depicted the sweet-sour emotion of Radha-krishna when Krishna plays charming with other female devotees and Radha feels anguished. The song was based on this sweet raga with a very simple philosophy of love and romance and Marina Ji’s style of rendition expressed gentle, loving sentiments between two lovers flawlessly.
As the listeners kept delving into the sringaar raasa of divine love, Marina ji stirred the listeners to more soulful but stipulating mood with the song ‘Aj jane ki Jidd na karo’ associated with raag Yaman. Again she wished to sing the song in her natural tone without any musical instruments. She explained herself that the raga itself is devotional one comprising more of bhakti, gambhir and sringaar (about devotion and womanhood) sentiments of a woman; therefore the song is very dear to her heart.
The audience remain beguiled from the beginning till end. The ambience was altering from pensive to festive moods, from sentimental to more devotional state of mind, from flirtatious to soulful attachment through the beautiful rendition of Marina Ahmad. The instruments played by Mitel Purohit in tabla and Dhiren Raichura in guitar on and off as requested by Marina Ji truly depicted how the human mind transforms from deep desolation to festivity through the addition of tempo. Khadija Rahman, secretary, Bishow Shahitto Kendro, London and Mrs Raina Fateh, the co-host jointly concluded the program by giving vote of thanks. She mentioned how BSK is one of the well-known promoters of art, culture and heritage in the heart of London and in near future how it will offer more contemporary and finer class of arts and music to the admirer of art and aesthetics.