In what is known as the largest concert hall of a starkly brutalist architecture in all of Europe, where some of the greatest music and musicians have been presented for close to 4 decades now, a stellar Sitar concert took place at the Darbar Festival in 2019 that has become and is most certain to remain as one of the most memorable portrayals of the Imdadkhani Gharana of Sitar.
Darbar has always approached its artist curation right from emerging talents to emerging masters to the great maestros spanning differing levels of ability across genres like Hindustaani (North Indian), Carnatic (South Indian), Dhrupad (ancient North Indian) and percussion.
According to Sandeep Virdee, this performance surpasses all and perches itself on the top layer of Darbar’s presentations because of the uncompromising way Pt. Budhaditya Mukherjee immerses himself into the awakening of the Ragas’ emotions and the way he delivers them as a representative of the Imdadkhani Gharana.
“Pt. Budhaditya Mukherjee, according to me, is a musicians’ musician – someone who has transcended not just the disciplinary or performance stratum but has also established himself at an extraordinary level. This is why every musician looks up to and draws inspiration from him. It is perhaps an achievement in itself that in an epic setting like that of the Barbican Centre in London, an Indian Classical musician like Pt. Mukherjee had performed Darbari Kanada which is considered as the king of all the Ragas,” says Sandeep Virdee OBE.
It is also worthy to note that Pt. Budhaditya Mukherjee is perhaps the only representative of the Imdadkhani Gharana who does not belong to its blood clan but has all the same established himself as a strong stake-holder of this Gharana.
As an audience, here’s an interesting fact for you to know – Pt. Budhaditya Mukherjee has completely defied the time classification in performing these two Ragas. He has reversed their order and yet, comfortably brought time down to its knees by establishing the spirit of both Darbari Kanada and Nand appositely. Notice his short, crisp introduction in the beginning of the concert where he speaks about the actual time of performing Darbari Kanada. Because of practical reasons related to the Barbican venue-hiring norms, the concert halls need to be deserted by 9:30 pm every Sunday. This obviously limits the possibility of the presentation of late-night and midnight Ragas such as Darbari Kanada. However, on that day, Pt. Budhaditya Mukherjee along with Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma set a precedent by defying the time theory and presenting Ragas much before their technical time of presentation.
Suffice to say that in this Darbar Concert Hall video, the Sitar enchanter has proven beyond doubt that Ragas in North Indian Classical music can defy the time theory if their emotions are evoked with utmost depth of spiritual sincerity. We hope this concert will be as memorable for you as it has been for us.