19 June 2009 Concert Report

Mesmerizing Pandit Jagdish Prasad


The Report

It was almost six in the afternoon, it was Friday 19 June.  Suddenly there were more cars breezing in the Ranikuthi area and we saw many walked through the entrance of Sri Aurobindo Institute of Culture taking their strides towards the Hall of Light.  Some soft sound of tanpura and swarmandal were coming out of the glass covered room; the musicians were tuning and getting ready for the concert. Many stopped by, unsure where the concert will happen and peeped in.... Pandit Jagdish Prasad was gradually getting ready for the Aitijjhya concert.  He was aware that many music-hungry people have assembled much ahead of the concert start time – not a regular scene at the Kolkata music concerts. We saw Ulhas Kashalkar, Purnima Chaudhury, Ananda Gopal Banerjee, Alok Chatterjee, Kushal Das, Samar Saha, Arup Chatterjee and many other renowned musicians take their seats. We also saw a number of university professors, scientists, bureaucrats,  and others waiting silently  for the program to start. It was full-house... people whispering softly ... the air was full of expectations....

It was 19 June, in the morning the world lost the greatest sarode maestro of all times Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. The music fraternity was very sad with this irreparable loss. Aitijjhya executives started the condolence meeting without any announcement. Professor Sanjoy Bandopadhyay remembered the maestro and said that this incident actually was a transition from the finite to the music-infinite. He observed that the best show of respect to the Khan Saheb would be to do the music properly and understanding his philosophy and thoughts. One minute silence was observed to show respect to the departed soul.  

‘The Jagdish Connection : The Patiala and Raigarh Bridge’, a short film by Rakhi Banerjee [click to see video in Real Player]. This was an answer to her own question on how Pandit Jagdish Prasad learnt and adapted the

Patiala school of singing when he spent most of his early life in Raigarh at the royal court. The film showed that the presence of a number of famous Patiala musicians at the Raigarh Royal Court, namely, Ustad. Kale Khan, Ustad Ashiq Ali Khan and visits of Ustd. Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, in addition to this the long taleem from his father Pandit Badri Prasad [who also belonged to Lahore, Punjab] the influence of Patiala school was quite natural. The film became interesting with the insertions of brief sound clips of Ustd. Kale Khan,  Ustd. Ashiq Ali Khan, Ustd. Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and also of Pandit Jagdish Prasad. The film also gives some brief idea about the music-patronage of Raja Chakradhar Singh of Raigarh.

A Film on Pt. Jagdish Prasad

After the film-show the audience saw the musicians of the evening on an immaculately set stage. Jagdish Prasad in the middle, his son Samrat Pandit just on his back for vocal support, Parimal Chakraborty on tabla and Sohanlal Sharma on the harmonium. Panditjee started with raga Rageshree. In this he sang a vilambit composition followed by a Jhaptal composition. Jagdishjee was generally good in Rageshree but appeared slightly tired with age when he was singing tanas. He generally avoided fast tanas that his son Samrat ably compensated. Samrat presented some notable crispy fast and distinctive Patiala style tanas. Overall, the piece was enjoyable.

After Rageshree, Jagdishjee took considerable time to make ready his swarmandal for the following items. He started with a rare thumri in Bihag of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. Each ‘Bol’ was very  expressive.  The next item was ‘Aao Aao Chhaila’. This was very enjoyable, each Bol-banav was

Pt. Jagdish Prasad in Aitijjhya
excellently depicted in Jagdishjee's mesmerizing voice. After Aao Aao Chhaila he gave a demonstration of how folk-songs of Punjab got its place in BGK’s renderings. After this he sang two famous BGK’s thumris Yaad Piya Ki Aye  [CLICK FOR VIDEO] and Hari Om Tat-Sat. In Yaad Piya ki Aye Jagdishjee sang a couplet [Sher] that was not in the gramophone record. He said that he directly learnt it from his illustrious teacher Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan.

Pt. Sohan Lal Sharma, the top of the line harmonium player  today, gave soulful support to music.

Samrat Pandit, Jagdishjee’s son did an excellent job in vocal support. He has a crispy and clear voice with full of dexterity. We shall look forward to listen to his solo vocal recital sometime.

Parimal Chakraborty is an outstanding tabla player. His performance is an excellent mix of musical virtuosity, creativity and sensitivity. He had a bright presence during the concert. The audience was charmed with his excellent laggis in some of the thumris.


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