Thursday, 3 June 2021


The June issue of Sruti is a bouquet of profiles big and small, of personalities who have left their imprints on the artistic canvas. On the occasion of the late violin maestro M.S. Goplakrishnan’s birthday on 10 June, an old friend and rasika recalls the man and his extraordinary music in our Readers Write section.

The cover story focuses on the famous duo in Hindustani music—Rajan and Sajan Misra, who have been among the most popular singers in the past two decades. Representatives of the Banaras gharana and champions of khayal gayaki, they have earned a name for themselves for their  mature music embellished by bhava,  special thought  applied to lyrics and enunciation, their vast repertoire, as also for their religious music. I heard them often on the radio and television in the 1970s – 80s, but got an opportunity to listen to them live in 1980-81 at the RIMPA festival organised by sitar maestro Ravi Shankar in Varanasi. The brothers seemed to have an uncanny understanding of each other’s thought process and the way the cascading  alternate rounds of taans came in quick succession—Rajan’s sargam taan followed by Sajan’s akaar taan—was especially amazing. As a part-time music student of the Banaras Hindu University,
I even managed to get an autograph from Rajan Misra. Its now become a cherished memory with his succumbing to Covid in Delhi on 25 April 2021.  Writer Shailaja Khanna and eminent musicians have paid tribute to this versatile duo in this issue
of Sruti.

In continuation of our special feature on Lord Siva-Nataraja, veteran Bharatanatyam exponent and guru  Sudharani Raghupathy shares with us  her ‘vision of Nataraja’ gained over a lifetime dedicated to the arts. Scholar Sudha Seshayyan’s article on the ‘Sapta tandava’ provides rare insights into minute details.

We are delighted to bring to you small profiles of artists who have helped to popularise Indian culture abroad. Chatur Lal was a progressive tabla player who toured with sitar maestro Ravi Shankar in the mid 1950s and 60s and was among the first to participate in talavadya ensembles and successful percussion fusion experiments. Myrta Barvie was a ballet dancer who studied in Kalakshetra and returned to her homeland to become a pioneer in performing and propagating  Indian classical dances in South America. Famous natyacharya V.P. Dhananjayan has paid an endearing tribute to a collaborator Jacques D’ Amboise – a ballet dancer and master choreographer who, through his mammoth collaborations, taught and shared the joy of dancing with children belonging to underprivileged communities across the world.

The list of those snatched by the cruel hands of Fate grows longer by the day. Veteran sitar maestro and academician Debu Chaudhuri (85) and his son Prateek Chaudhuri (49) succumbed to the deadly Covid  within a week of each other. The demise of octogenarian writer Laxminarayan Garg, Editor of the long-running Hindi monthly Sangeet, on 30 April is a loss to arts journalism in Hindi. The passing away of the much respected veteran composer and musician Tanjavur Sankara Iyer has left a void in Carnatic music. The field of Bharatanatyam has lost a fine exponent, teacher and choreographer in the death of  B. Bhanumathi in Bengaluru on 24 May. She was a disciple of greats like natyacharya K.N. Dandayudhapani Pillai, Kadur Venkatalakshamma and Kalanidhi Narayanan. Sruti
fondly recalls her participation as a representative of the ‘Dandayudhapani school’  in the National Seminar on Bharatanatyam Traditions held in Chennai in December 1989.

To end on a positive note, the pandemic has seen several musicians and dancers rising  to the occasion and coming forward in traditional and innovative ways to contribute towards the welfare of artists and society. May the spirit of
caring and giving grow.


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