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The Sky Band dished out high-quality fusion compositions in the `Destination India ‘ evening organised at India Habitat Centre in New Delhi the other day.

FRIENDLY FUSION Sovon Hazra, founder of The Sky Band, has brought together a group of enthusiastic and well-trained instrumentalists.

Pathik, a cultural organisation promoting art and culture and Lokayata Mulk Raj Anand Centre jointly presented `Destination India’, an evening of instrumental harmony in fusion music featuring The Sky Band at New Delhi ‘s India Habitat Centre this past week. Established in 2003 by a group of talented and energetic young musicians, the band comprises instruments like sitar, shehnai, classical and Spanish guitar, mridangam, kanjira, keyboard, etc. Their training in classical music comes in handy for their experimentation, which they call `fusion in classical music.’

Sovon Hazra, the leader and founder of the group, is a disciple of Pandit Vishvanath Bose, Pandit Jayant Bose and Pandit Kumar Bose of the Benaras gharana. He can play any kind of drum, including the African cajon, with effortless ease. On the sitar was Hindol Dev, a student of Gaurav Majumdar, himself a disciple of Pandit Ravi Shankar. On the guitar was Neelranjan Mukharji, a student of Pandit Debu Chaudhuri, on the shehnai was Sanjeev Shankar, the grandson and disciple of Pandit Anant Lal, on the keyboard was Manish Babu and on the mridangam and Kanjira was Kesavan.

The evening started with `Naad-Brahm’, a composition depicting the creation of the universe with the energy of pure vibration manifested in the Om mantra. It starts with a melodious alaap in raga Bairaagi on the shehnai with the soothing drone of the Tanpura in the background. The keyboard creates the atmosphere of dawn with the chirping of birds, et al. The tabla and mridangam follow with a four beat cycle, where Hazara marks every forth beat on various tablas tuned in different notes of the particular raga.

Then the guitar joins in raga Megh, where the keyboard creates the effect of thundering clouds. It carries forward the initial alap by the shehnai to the jod sequence. Finally, the sitar joins in with the jhala in raga Bhupali, and the whole band creates vibrations of Om as if the transcendental energy were pervading the whole universe.

1) Shades of western music

The second item titled `In Search Of… ‘ was based on raga Keervani.The sitar and shehnai together start off the alap, and the guitar joins in with a bandish in Dadra, accompanied by Sovon on the daf and Kesavan on the kanjira. The solo pieces on the keyboard had shades of western music, adding the contemporary modern touch to the composition that turns to the eight beat cycle of Keherva in the faster tempo rendered jointly by all the artistes. The theme of this composition is woven around searching for what the mind cannot comprehend.

To restore the balance between the body, mind and soul came `Tribindu’, the power of three, with the ragas Hamsadhwani, Yaman and Kalavati. In Chintan, the thinking mind of human beings, Sovon played the cajon with Neelranjan’s guitar, Kesavan played the mridangam with Sanjeev’s shehnai, and the kanjira with Hindol’s sitar in a sawaal-jawaab jugalbandi.

Manthan – an exploration, which was an effort of exultation through tala, started off with a crisp padhant of tabla bols by Sovon. It came out as a brilliant tala vadya ensemble. To spread the message of peace and harmony, the evening concluded with `Anandam’, the joyous and soothing finale.

The Sky Band, as the name suggests, appears to believe in the notion, `the sky is the limit.’ They display genuine passion. Each and every member of the band has a grip over sur and laya, but their enthusiasm needs a bit of mellowing down. As of now, it sounds more of a noise and less of music. Of course, whatever music was there, it was of high quality, and that alone proves their undoubted potential.

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2) Celebrations of World Environment Day, 06

Start: 2006-06-04 07:30

On the occasion of World Environment Day, The Lokayata-Mulk Raj Anand Centre in association with Sahitya Kala Parishad (delhi Administration, presents a musical evening to spell bound the audiences with some great performances like Fusion Music by Sky Group, a group of talented and versatile young musicians experimenting and performing fusion, lead by Tabla Maestro Sovon Hazra .

3) A pulsating Baisakhi Sangeet Sandhya at Dwarka

Dwarka Kalibari ushered in the Bengali New Year by organising “Baisakhi Sangeet Sandhya” on April 15 at CCRT Auditorium, Sector 7, Dwarka. The auditorium was packed to capacity with enthusiastic Bengalis who poured in to enjoy the renowned artists from Kolkata and Delhi. Dwarka Kalibari is a socio-cultural-religious organisation formed in 2001. The Kalibari as a regular feature organises cultural activities throughout the year. This was the third year of New Year celebration by Dwarka Kalibari.

The programme started with lighting of the traditional lamp by S.R.Thakurta, president, Dwarka Kalibari, in presence of O.N. Mondal, general secretary, and full-house music lovers from all parts of Delhi. Performances of the evening began with gripping sarod recital by Pt. Debjyoti Bose, a disciple of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan of Senia Banbhas Gharana. Pt Debjyoti Bose was ably accompanied by one of the greatest tabla maestro of Delhi Sovan Hazra. A combined programme of Bengali recitation and songs rendered by Kolkata Doordarshan and “Bohurupee” famed artist Averee Chaurey with Jayanti Ghosh was well appreciated by the audience. The confluence of poetry and songs of eminent personalities of Bengali literature was the key element of performance of this duo. Niraj Roy, a very familiar personality of AIR and Doordarshan, made the audience nostalgic by competently carrying them to the golden era of Bengali music.

The spellbound audience enjoyed the cultural extravaganza as the celebration had all necessary ingredients to make everybody feel the essence of authentic Bengali culture. The organisers also disclosed the future plans of Dwarka Kalibari. Dwarka Kalibari at present operates from DDA Flats, Sector-9, and is waiting for the allotment of DDA land. According to O.N. Mondal, general secretary, “We plan to have a permanent structure with facilities of deeper social values like old-age home and voluntary disaster relief activities. Apart from the regular pujas, the organisation contributes to the society by providing services like medical centre, library, etc.”