Desi Talk - page 14

May 30, 2014
– that”s all you need to know
By a Staff Writer
– LEMONT, Ill.
ighty veenas relayed over 24
hours of nonstop musical chords
from 200 participants at the
Sixth International Veena Festival
hosted over the weekend by Sri
Annamacharya Project of North
America (SAPNA) at the Hindu Temple
of Greater Chicago (HTGC) here May
10 and 11. Consul General of India in
Chicago Ausaf Sayeed and his wife
Farha Sayeed graced the event.
“Sounds of Infinity” commenced
with a lamp lighting, Vedic chanting,
and strains of the veena in
Hamsadhwani raga. All the
Chicagoland veena schools -
Rajaveena School, Rama Music
Academy, Pallavi School, and
Ensemble of Ragas - collaborated with
Pratibha School of percussion to lend
color to the concerts.
“The infectious enthusiasm of par-
ticipating students was palpable
throughout,” key organizer and per-
former Saraswathi Raganathan, told
Desi Talk. “Veena sounds did not
cease, with strumming between and
during concerts, and also during set
up times, she added.
A heartening sight was of three gen-
erations of veena artists from a single
family performing on stage.
Continued on page 16
Research Institute Hosts Historic 24-Hour Veena Festival
By a Staff Writer
he Gujarati Samaj of
Chicago and the Kadva
Patidar Samaj Chicago
presented “Rang Rangilo
Gujarati,” a comedy play,
co-organized and hosted by the
Manav Seva Mandir here May 17.
The sold-out comedy, preceded
by dinner, attracted an audience
of over 750 filling the auditorium,
according to an Asian Media USA
press release.
The comedy revolved around
the ruses of a middle aged man,
always on the lookout for fresh
romance, who finally finds true
love. The cast comprised Bina
Bengali as Sparkling Sweety, Nilay
Dave as Shanty the Cool,
Priya Mishra as
Enchanting Sweety, Nilay
Dave as Gordhandas
Makhania, and Maya
Joshi as Medhu the
Trapped in an
arranged marriage since
30 years, fun-loving
Gujarati businessman
Gordhandas Makhania is
thrilled when his wife’s
childhood friend’s
daughter, Sweetie, comes
to Mumbai for further studies and
stays at their home. The over-aged
Romeo woos Sweetie for her
beauty anticipating renewed
excitement in his life.
Despite having a son of mar-
riageable age, he behaves like a
teenager, but is repeatedly caught
red-handed by his dominating
wife, Diwali. His son, Shanty The
Kool, believes himself to be
Salman Khan and a future sensa-
tion. The dramatic suspense
hinged around the possible failure
of the marriage and intervention
by the son.
GS-C Cultural Secretary Dr.
Manish Pandya welcomed the
audience and introduced event
sponsors on stage. Dinner was
catered by Atithi Restaurant of
Schaumburg, Ill.
Gujarati Comedy Play Applauded by Full House
Indrajit Banerjee Chimes in with Surbahar and Sitar
By Sunthar Visuvalingam
– LEMONT, Ill.
ndrajit Banerjee, one of the
leading exponents of the
Maihar gharana, improvised
solo on the deeply reverberating
surbahar and the more familiar
stringed instrument sitar, accom-
panied by Gourisankar Karmakar
on tabla on May 11 at the Hindu
Temple of Greater Chicago here.
Banerjee began with alap on
the surbahar followed by a com-
position in Parameshwari, a raga
invented by Ravi Shankar, set to
dhamar tal.
He continued on the sitar with
a composition in the afternoon
raga Shuddha Sarang preceded by
a brief alap. He concluded with a
melodious rendering of rag
Banerjee, who is currently
teaching at Rhythm and Raag for
the spring and fall semesters, was
trained by Pandit Kartick Kumar, a
senior disciple of Pandit Ravi
Shankar. He had joined a stringed
ensemble led by well-known
Chicago veena artist and teacher
Saraswathi Ranganathan the pre-
vious evening as part of the 24-
hour (Ekaaham) Veena festival
organized by the Sri
Annamacharya Project of North
America (SAPNA).
Conceptualized and arranged
by Ranganathan, “Vallaki Vilasam”
was a menagerie of stringed
instruments, a harmonious con-
fluence of sounds of the
Saraswathi (South Indian) veena,
surbahar, sitar, santoor and guitar.
“Traditionally, these instruments
have been described as belonging
to the veena family: Saptatantri
(seven-stringed sitar and surba-
har), Shatatantri (100-stringed
santoor), and Chaturtantri (four-
stringed guitar),” Ranganathan
told Desi Talk.
They are all chimed to the
instant appeal of the Hindustani
Bhimpalasi, an afternoon raga
that corresponds to the Carnatic
Abheri. This was followed by the
Hindi number “Paayoji maine”
and Chitti Babu’s composition
“The beautiful hypnotic glides
(meend) on surbahar, the delec-
table tones on santoor by Kunal
Gunjal, the soft strums on guitar
by Carlo Basile, the scintillating
veena-passages by Saraswathi,
were accompanied by riveting
percussion by Ganapathi
Ranganathan on mridangam and
Hindole Majumdar on tabla,”
Ranganathan said.
May 11 was devoted entirely to
a celebration of Hindustani
Tapan Bhattacharya delivered a
traditionally strong Hindustani
vocal recital in his stentorian
voice accompanied on tabla by
Dhananjay Kunte, SAPNA said in
a press release.
The grand finale of the after-
noon was a dhrupad vocal con-
cert by the Gundecha Brothers.
“Rang Rangilo Gujarati” actors,
front row, with Gujarati Samaj
of Chicago President Suryakant
Patel, Manav Seva Mandir
President Dahyabhai Prajapati,
and Kadva Patidar Samaj
Chicago President Vijay Patel.
“Vallaki Vilasam” featuring, from left, Ganapathi Ranganathan (mridangam), Carlo Basile (guitar), Saraswathi Ranganathan (veena),
Indrajit Banerjee (surbahar), Kunal Gunjal (santoor) and Hindole Majumdar (tabla).
Above, SAPNA Executive Director Sarada Purna Sonty, left, and Chairman Sriram Sonty, right, join
Lemont temple priest in invoking the Vedic goddess of music Saraswathi to kick off the 24-hour
nonstop veena festival on the morning of May 10. Right, all the performers, young and old, of the
24-hour nonstop veena festival at the Lemont temple assembled on stage for the grand finale.
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