March 29, 2017

Strings N Steps: Jugal-Bandi of Kathak and Guitar


6th Edition of an international event of Indian classical music & dance was held on 21 and 22 March 2017 in New Delhi

This time the 'Country in Focus' was Canada and featured performances by eminent artists from Canada and India

The sixth edition of the strings and steps festival organised by noted Kathak dancer Sangeeta Majumder and Hawaiian guitar player Neel Ranjan Mukherjee got off to a flying start in the Capital.  'Strings N Steps' will be considered among the top in terms of the artists they invite to perform among few young organisations in Delhi of Indian Classical Music & Dance.

​The festival was inaugurated by the famous Kathak duo Vidushi Nalini Kamalini, Chairperson of  Kathak Kendra. ​The program started with the flawless performance of 'Strings N Steps' in front of a packed audience. The First composition w​as performed in Raag Jog and Taal Rupak. Neel Ranjan's Hawaiian guitar sings with perfect tune and rhythm. His counterpart Kathak Dancer Sangeeta was very swift and graceful at the same time. The audiences really enjoyed their jugalbandi. Next composition was a tarana in Raag Chandrakosh composed by Pandit Debu Chaudhuri. It was in teen-taal and everyone performed in full of energy. "Performing and organising together are not an easy task", said Sangeeta, "it ​is​ always the blessings of my mother, gurus and senior artists who performed in the festival.

From the mouth of eminent Hansaveena artist, Pandit Barun Pal, about the 'Strings N Steps' presentation "it was indeed a great experience attending the 1st day of the Festival of String and Steps on the 20th March at the Stein Auditorium. The first item was so innovative, dynamic and full of energy. Neel Ranjan Mukherjees musical rendering on slide Guitar, reciting Boles and Parans gave Sangeeta Majumdar's dedicated Kathak dance a new and  rich dimension . Vocalist Zaki Ahmed did his job with all sincerity.  Young Tabla player Zuheb Ahamad Khan was very smart, aggressive and alert. Though there was not much scope to expose, I personally enjoyed the tonal sense and accompanying attitude of the young Pakhawaz player Bhanu Sisodia. ​Himanshu Dutta on Flute was so musical and humble. He was an example of discipline and perfection and truly utilised his scopes to create a serene atmosphere of Ragas. Six most talented artistes constantly giving their best was something which demanded little more time. Old Ragas like Jog, Chandrakaush in new bottle was the appreciating thought of Neel Ranjan. However, was that short Bhairavi composition really adds anything for music and Dance performance as a whole?  Sangeeta Mazumdar had a command on her performance; however, she had to rush to give a complete dance item.

Pandit Dev Bansraj, ​is ​an eminent vocalist, teacher, founder of Saaz O Awaaz, Canada. We can add more with his name. He is an ​artist with a great fame in that p​a​rt of the world. His Chhap Tilak and Elaaj-e made the audience feel the perfect love Shringarik and of course spiritual. It is truly said ''If you want to be a good musician, become a good human being first." His peaceful attitude took all the listeners to an​n​unknown world of affection. Small things show what a person he is made of. Dave Bansraj Jr. was a perfect accompanist with his Tabla. Mudassir also skillfully played his sarangi with them.

Next artists were Sitar Maestro Pandit Prateek Chaudhuri who is the son of Pt. Debu Chaudhuri performed in his usual mood. Alaap was in Raag Shyam Kalyan followed by Masitkhani Gat in Teentaal, madhyalaya Gat in Ektaal and Drut Gat in Teentaal. Ustad Akram Khan who is one of most famous Tabla artist of the country has his own charm in his playing. Audiences were mesmerised with his singing tabla. The famous kathak exponent duo Vidushi Nalini-Kamalini, Living legend Sitarist Pandit Debu Chaudhuri, Prof. Ravi Sharma (Eminent Sitarist) were present as the distinguished Guests for the evening.

'Strings N Steps' does allow all artistic influence or collaboration. Artists of various shades, painters, writers, dramatists, poets are attached to them. "Arts' greatness lies in taking them all together." On this note, the 'Strings N Steps Global Award' were conferred to Eminent P​o​et Shri Amarendra Khatua, Vidushi Saroja Vaidyanathan, Pt. Dev Bansraj, Vidushi Anupam Mahajan, Pt. Prateek Chaudhuri and Gaurie Dwivedi.

Second day the audience witnessed a beautiful lec-dem on Rasanubhuti by Vidushi (Prof). Anupam Mahajan​. Her performance was a perfect depiction of music. The music itself seemed personified through the sitar. She also played some traditional bandish by Ustad Mushtaq Ali Khan. Next performance was by living legend Vidushi Saroja Vaidyanathan who is an epitome of beauty. Her lecture demonstration was on Ashtanayika which enthralled the audience even who were, till that time, was not much acquainted with  Indian Classical dance.  The eight types of heroines Vasakasajja, Virahotkanthita , Svadhinabhartruka, Kalahantarita, Khandita, Vipralabdha, Proshitabhartruka, Abhisarika The concluding performance of the evening was Odissi Dance Recital by Gaurie Dwivedi. It was a heart capturing depiction of Devi Stuti. Among the audience there were children of an NGO HUHC who enjoyed the whole program and they were invited to Strings N Steps Online and Offline Academy at free of cost.

The whole event was dedicated and presented to promote Indian Classical Music & Dance around the world specially in Canada. Zaira Ann Ramkissoon, the Director of 'Saaz-O- Awaaz' (SOA), a very prestigious institution of Indian Classical Music said about Indian music globally and how they are trying to make it flourish in Canada. Indian music, when in India itself is being unattractive with the influence of Bollywood or the different genre of western music, they are trying to hold back and flourish this tradition from the Vedic Age. 'Strings N Steps'(SNS)is now with its academy in Delhi and Kolkata in India has enrolled  many students both online & offline. They're giving platforms ​for ​the children from different NGOs too. In future also SNS & SOA will work together to promote Indian Classical Music & dance all around the world, for all age groups and from grass-root level to cream-level of the society. The second day distinguished guests were DG, ICCR, Shri Amarendra Khatua and Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan,Khalifa of Dilli Gharana, an eminent vocalist. The two evening of traditional arts which had been captivated where the legendary artists, young artists, scholar-aesthete, elegant, articulate audiences were in perfect energy. 

March 15, 2017

Strings N Steps Festival 2017: An International Event of Classical Dance and Music

This time the focus is on the artists of Canada

Dates of the Event are 20th and 21st March 2017

It has been six eventful years for Strings N Steps, an organisation of performing arts, which is known for its uninterrupted commitment towards the promotion Indian classical music and Dance form since its inception. The organisation holds an annual festival where artist of various genre in the arena of performing arts present their creativity infant of a keen and enthusiastic audience. From 2016, Strings N Steps has started conferring the Strings and Steps Global Award, to eminent personalities who have contributed significantly in the field of Indian classical music and dance. 

This year the award will be presented to Shri Amarendra Khatua (Director General, ICCR), Padmabhushan Vidushi Saroja vidyanathan (Bharatnatyam exponent), Prof Anupam Mahajan (Ex- Dean University of Delhi), Pt. Dev Bansraj (Renowned vocalist from Canada) and Pt. Prateek Chaudhuri (Sitar Maestro), Gaurie Dwivedi (Odissi Exponent) March 2017 will witness the 6th edition of the Strings n Steps festival which is being held on 20th of the month, at the indian habitat centre, and on March 21st, at ICCR Azad Bhawan Auditorium. On this gracious occasion, Strings N Steps Magazine "En Route to Rhythm" will be launched featuring the works of Pt Debu Chaudhuri (Sitar Maestro), Vidushi Shovana Narayan ( Kathak exponent) , Pt. Tejendra Narayan Majumder ( Sarod Maestro), Pt. Debasish Bhattacharya ( Indian Slide Guitar Maestro), Pt. Dev Bansraj ( Renowned Vocalist from Canada)  and Prof. Stephen Slawek ( Famous sitarist from Austin,Texas).
The genesis of the name of the festival has a story of its own. Kathak dancer Sangeeta Majumder named this festival as ‘Strings N Steps’ after her ‘Kathak-Hawaiian Guitar Duet concept’, a performance with the Hawaiian guitar player Neel Ranjan Mukherjee. The innovative idea of presenting Kathak with a stringed instrument was perceived alongside the birth of ‘Strings N Steps International Festival of Indian Classical Music & Dance’, in 2013. One of the main focus of this organisation and festival is to spread the Indian-Classical-music-culture in different sections of society, even to the destitute children through workshops, linking with educational institutions and NGO's.
This year we are inviting HUHC, an NGO as our very special guests. In the year 2016, Strings N Steps stepped into international fraternity of performing arts by inviting Artists from Argentina. The festival grew into a two day annual event in the same year. In 2017, the driving forces behind this musical journey continue with the focus country being Canada. This year, the performers include— Pt. Prateek Chaudhuri, Ustad Akram Khan,Pt Dev Bansraj, Dave Bansraj Jr. "Strings N Steps Performing Group"-Neel Ranjan Mukherjee (Hawaiian Guitar), Sangeeta Majumder (Kathak), Himanshu Dutt (Flute), Zuheb Ahmed Khan (Tabla), Zaki Ahmed (Vocal).

Chief Guest
Shri Amarendra Khatua 
Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs
Director Genral, ICCR
Guests of Honour
kathak Duo, chairperson Kathak kendra
Executive Member Sangeet Natak academy
Guest of Honour
Dr. Sunil Kothari (Padma Shri, SNA Awardee,  Senior  Dance  historian, Scholar, Author, and critic)
Guest of Honour
Ud. Iqbal Ahmed Khan, Eminent Vocalist, Khalifa of Delhi Gharana
Guest of Honour
Zaira Ann Ramkissoon, Director, Saaz O Awaaz, Canada

March 12, 2017

विधानसभा चुनाव—2017 आंकलन

  1. पंजाब को बीजेपी जानबूझकर हारी है। इसके उसे एक फायदा मिला अकाली से मुक्ति का रास्ता साफ हो गया। 
  2. मनोज सिन्हा हो सकते है यूपी के अगले मुख्यमंत्री।
  3. मणिपुर और गोवा में अन्य पार्टियों के प्रत्याशी बनावायेंगे मुख्यमंत्री। दोनों जगह बीजेपी और कांग्रेस में कड़ी टक्कर।
  4. यह क्षेत्रीय राजनीति के अवसान का दौर है। राष्ट्रीय राजनीति के पुर्नआगमन का दौर। 
  5. देश का मिज़ाज सभी राजनीतिक दलों को समझने की जरूरत है। सभी मित्रों को उत्तरप्रदेश और उत्तराखंड में भाजपा की ऐतिहासिक जीत की बधाई। बाकी पार्टियां सबक लें।
  6. देवबंद से मुस्लिम बाहुल्य इलाके से बीजेपी जीत गई है। इसे ध्रुवीकरण नहीं कहेंगे। भारतीय मुस्लिम भी बीजेपी में विश्वास करने लगा है।
  7. इतना बुरा होने के बाद कांग्रेस को अब संगठन के लेवल पर पूर्नविचार की आवश्यकता है। 
  8. जो भी लोग दूसरी पार्टियों से भाजपा में आये थे, उन्होंने खुद को साबित किया। लगभग सभी आगे चल रहे हैं। 
  9. मोदी और बीजेपी विरोध के पर्टियों का गठजोड़ जनता को रास नहीं आ रहा। 
  10. चुनाव नतीजे बता रहे हैं कि पंजाब को छोड़कर कहीं भी मजबूत विपक्ष नहीं दिख रहा। ऐसा होना लोकतंत्र के लिए घातक है।
  11. नोटबंदी को जिस तरह से अमीरों के खिलाफ प्रोजेक्ट किया गया। वह काम कर गया। ​बीजेपी गरीबों की पार्टी भी बन गयी। उसका फायदा मिला यूपी में बीजेपी को।
  12. वोट बदलाव के लिए हुआ। नोटबंदी का समर्थन किया जनता ने। प्रधानमंत्री का स्वयं उत्तरप्रदेश के गलियों की धूल छानना, जनता को भा गया। 
  13. बहुजन समाज पार्टी अब खात्मे के दौर में आने वाले पांच सालों के बाद वह भी नहीं मिलेगा। बहुजन समाज पार्टी में अमूलचूल परिवर्तन की आवश्यकता है। 
  14. छद्म धर्मनिरपेक्षता, यादववाद, दलितवाद को जनता नकारने लगी है। इसे लहर नहीं कहा जा सकता, जनता परिवर्तन चाहती है, तथाकथित सोच से।

विधानसभा चुनाव—2017

  1. मणिपुर और गोवा को छोड़ दें और हाल के सालों में सम्पन्न हुए सभी चुनावों को गौर से देखें तो पायेंगे कि मतदाता अब पूर्ण बहुमत की सरकार चाहता है। वह नहीं चाहता कि मध्यावधि चुनाव हों। लोकसभा चुनाव के बाद यह दिल्ली, बिहार, असम आदि सभी जगह यही दिखा। पार्टी धुरधरों और राजनीतिक पंडितों को इसका भी आंकलन करना चाहिए।
  2. हर बात को पढ़—पढ़कर बोलने वाला नेता जनता से जुड़ नहीं सकता। मायावती का फेल होना यह बताता है, कि विगत वर्षों में उन्होंने किस तरह की राजनीति की है। 2014 के लोकसभा चुनाव में कोई सीट न मिलना और 2017 के विधानसभा में केवल 19 सीटें मिलना यह बताता है कि उनके लोगों का उन पर भरोसा उठा है। खुद के लोगों से दूर होकर, मुस्लिम मतदाताओं को रिझाने की मायावती की इंजीनियरिंग फेल हो गई। हालांकि इसका फायदा बीजेपी को मिला, उन्होंने मतदाताओं को बाखूबी बांट दिया और ​बीजेपी ने 325 का जादूई आंकड़ा छू लिया। अब तो बीएसपी इस स्थि​ति में पहुंच गई है कि मायावती को अपने दम पर राज्यसभा पहुंचने में भी परेशानी का सामना करना पड़ेगा। यह सच है कि मतदाताओं को मोह बीएसपी यानि मायावती से भंग हुआ है। एक गलत काम और किया उन्होंने, बीएसपी में कोई नेता तैयार नहीं किया। तो मतदाता भी क्या सोचे कि यह मायावती का आखिरी चुनाव था। हालांकि वोट प्रतिशत के हिसाब से वह 22 फीसदी वोट लेने में सफल हुई हैं। परंतु इस आधार पर उनके भविष्य की खत्म होती संभावनाओं को नकारा नहीं जा सकता। 
  3. यूपी में बीजेपी सरकार से उम्मीदें.....  
  • शिक्षा व्यवस्था में परिवर्तन हो। खासकर स्कूली शिक्षा के स्तर पर अमूलचूल परिवर्तन की आवश्यकता है।
  • बुंदेलखंड के सूखे और पूर्वांचल के बीमारियों से प्रभावित इलाकों को प्राथमिकता पर रखा जाये। 
  • परिवहन व्यवस्था दुरस्त हो। परिवहन के नियमों को सख्ती से लागू किया जाये।
  • रोजगार के अवसरों का सृजन किया जाये।
  • भूमाफिया, माफिया, अपराधियों के मामले त्वरित न्याय की व्यवस्था की जाये।
  • जातिगत, क्षेत्रगत, सम्प्रदायगत राजनीति से इतर समग्र विकास के प्रवाह का विस्तार किया जाये।