Pandit Suresh Talwalkar celebrated his 61st birthday last Saturday. As a celebration , Taalchakra had organised quite an awesome show.
It started with a huge ensemble of extremely talented musicians showing what they were made of. Primarily Vijay Ghate on tabla , Taufiq Qureshi on percussion , Rakesh Chaurasia on flute and George Brooks on saxophone put on an amazing show. I was a little skeptical about the kathak dancers since dance invariably means a huge reduction in improvisation, but they were used very well and didn’t interfere with the improvisation at all. I quite liked the use of dancers to add to the percussion . George Brooks played his original compositions with Vijay Ghate and they were brilliant. I was glad that the crowd didn’t seem to get bored with the distinctly western touch added .
Then came the boring part . The countless speeches and felicitations . The only respite was the brilliant Hariprasad Chaurasia who was very entertaining with his behavior and speech. The fact that he was flirting with Durga Jasraj (who incidentally was struggling to speak coherently and kept ranting on and on about nothing in particular ) really added a lot of entertainment value to the ceremony.
Then came the moment we were all waiting for : Ustad Zakir Hussain enthralled us with a typically brilliant display of skill and talent. He played with just one Harmonium player as accompaniment . He was totally chilled out. Talking to the audience and cracking jokes while playing crazy solos . The cameraman also captured a great scene of Pandit Vijay Ghate sitting on the floor and looking at Zakir play like a very devout chap whose God just materialised in front of him.
A highlight for me was a chance to meet Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia and Taufiq Qureshi after the concert. Hope to catch more great music this year. Some Derek and Roger hopefully .