Tuesday, 17 May 2022

A decade of Bhubaneswar Music Circle’s Samarpan

With the recently concluded tenth edition of Samarpan, an annual Sufiana music festival staged in Odisha’s capital city of Bhubaneswar, host Bhubaneswar Music Circle (BMC) achieved another milestone in its six decades of the consistent campaign for the cause of classical music.

Odisha’s only institution of its kind and one of the very few of its stature in India, BMC’s glorious journey of 59 years is unique and incredible. Name any star and stalwart of Indian classical music—Ravi Shankar, Bhimsen Joshi, Jasraj, Girija Devi, Shiv Kumar Sharma, Amjad Ali Khan, M. Balamuralikrishna, V.G. Jog, U. Shrinivas, Kadri Gopalnath, A. Hariharan, T.N. Krishnan, Parveen Sultana, Vani Jairam, Jagjit Singh or Rajan-Sajan Mishra—BMC has presented them all in Odisha through its concerts and festivals. And it has also encouraged and highlighted numerous new talents in its 32 years of monthly concert series.

Haveli Sangeet
Hindustani and Carnatic apart, BMC had championed the cause of Odissi music long before the Odisha Government started its demand for classical status for Odisha’s music tradition. While the forum has earned enough appreciation from the practitioners and connoisseurs of music for its silent and yet sustained service, its expertise and reputation prompted the Odisha Government to offer BMC the responsibility of hosting its most prestigious annual Rajarani National Music Festival for ten years.

Commemorating its golden jubilee year in 2013, BMC launched an annual spiritual and devotional A decade of Bhubaneswar Music Circle’s Samarpan music festival aptly titled ‘Samarpan’—that turned ten this year.

The festival highlighted the music of mysticism that had presented popular and major genres like the Baul of Bengal, Abhang of Maharashtra, Borgeet of Assam, Nazrul Geeti of Bangladesh, Sufiana songs and singers of Kashmir, Nepal, Gorkha Hills, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Bengal regions.

Famed Sufi qawwali groups from Hyderabad, Delhi and other Indian cities have been a regular and attractive feature of this annual festival. It has even staged the Ahmad Sham Sufi Qawwali Group from Afghanistan, which left a lasting imprint on musicians and connoisseurs.

Barnali Hota and group
In its initiative to highlight Odisha’s mystic and devotional music tradition, BMC has duly featured two immensely popular poets of the land whose songs are loved by the mass and the class alike across generations—Dalit and blind poet Bhima Bhoi and Salabeg, the legendary Muslim devotee of Lord Jagannatha.

The latest edition of Samarpan, spread over three evenings at Rabindra Mandap auditorium in February 2022, showcased Haveli Sangeet by Chandra Prakash and a group from Ajmer; Sufi music by Jenab Yar Mohammad Langa and a group from Jodhpur – both from Rajasthan; Baul singers mother-daughter duo Illa Biswas and Ayushi Biswas from Nabadweep in West Bengal; and Sufi qawwali group from Delhi led by Chanchal Bharti; apart from seven solo singers of Odisha that included two singing sensations of yesteryears and the present generation respectively—Santilata Barik and Barnali Hota.

Samarpan 2022 celebrated the soul-stirring and captivating music and musicians of Rajasthan. Haveli Sangeet, sung exclusively for Lord Krishna as a daily service— Raag Sewa—in some Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat temples, is a unique blend of classical and folk elements that follows the dhrupad style. Pandit Chandra Prakash of Ajmer in Rajasthan is one of the genre’s best exponents who hails from a family of Raag Sewa providers of Kishangarh temple.

Similarly, Jenab Yar Mohammad Langa, who has performed extensively in India and abroad, hails from a family of hereditary professional folk musicians of Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Like the Manganiar musicians, Langas sing in the same dialect but their style and repertoire differ that have been shaped as per the taste of their traditional patrons who were the aristocrats of the region.

Both the exponents from Rajasthan conquered hearts in Odisha.

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