Featuring sitār maestro Budhaditya Mukherjee
00:00 – Rāga Śuddha Kalyān Khayāl-aṇga on Sitār
Tabla accompaniment by percussionist Soumen Nandy
Commentary in English by Budhaditya Mukherjee
This classical music features renowned sitar maestro Pandit Budhaditya Mukherjee who is known to be an astounding genius among string instrumentalists. The artist’s mesmerizing composition is intended to present a more meditative style of music, yet suitable for all listeners of music due to his profound music conception and particular rendition. Pandit Budhaditya plays both the surbahar and sitar in the North Indian classical style.
Upholding with great distinction the traditions of the Imdadkhani Gharana (named after Ustad Imdad Khan), a North Indian school of sitar and surbahar music, Pandit Budhaditya Mukherjee’s name has long been synonymous with genius dexterity on sitar. Considered the leading sitarist of his generation, Budhaditya has received his entire training in sitar and surbahar from his illustrious father, the late Pandit Bimalendu Mukherjee, the well-known sitarist and doyen of the Imdadkhani School, who initiated his son into sitar at the age of five. Since then, responding to the finesse of his father’s profound teachings, Budhaditya’s music has blossomed into a unique lyrical magic with clarity that reflects the vocal style performed on the sitar known as Gayaki-aṅga.
The Imdadkhani Gharana inculcates a distinctive characteristic for the sitar playing called the Gayaki-aṅga. The Sanskrit word aṅga (limb) is used to signify a part or parcel thereof. The style refers to the technique where the sitarist matches very closely the articulate potency and variation of human voice. Thus the intonations of classical singer somewhat mirrors the inflection of the instrumentalist. Under the Imdadakhani Gharana, the rāga and ālāpa were combined in a way that was prevalent in the khayāla singing. The entire vocal embellishment of the khayāla style was adopted and integrated into the Gayaki-aṅga sitar playing.
Today, he has not only kept alive the creative concepts of the polestar teacher of his school, Ustad Imdad Khan, after whom the Imdadkhani Gharana is named, but also improved upon them. In the process, he also has popularized immensely the traditions of this school’s style of playing. The depth of his ālāp – the opening section of a North Indian classical performance, the intricate tānkari – a rhythmic progression of notes woven together in a fast tempo, and complete mastery over the string instrument have truly reciprocated the teachings of his Guru and father, Pandit Bimalendu Mukherjee.
Having specialized in the disciplined development of various rāga-based on the Gayaki-aṅga style of his school-lineage, Budhaditya Mukherjee has enthralled audiences at over 1,500 concerts in India, as well as about 1300 recitals in over twenty-five countries, including United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and in other countries throughout Europe. These performances also include twelve well-known international festivals where he represented India as the sole performer.
On 30th June 1990, Budhaditya Mukherjee created history by becoming the first ever musician to perform at the House of Commons, London. In 1994, the Madhya Pradesh State Government honored him with the coveted national award, Kumar Gandharva Sanman Award. Pandit Budhaditya Mukherjee was a visiting expert in the sitar at the Conservatory of Music in Rotterdam, Holland from 1995 to 2005. Additionally since 1983, many students have benefited from his valued teachings at the Instituto Internazionale di Studi Musicali Comparati in Venice. On 22nd July 2011, Pandit Budhaditya Mukherjee was awarded the prestigious Sangeet Natak Academy Award. On 14th December 2016, the Bengal Government bestowed upon him the state’s prestigious Sangeet Maha Sanman Award.
Despite worldwide acclaim and numerous accolades that have come his way, Budhaditya Mukherjee treasures most the words of appreciation he received when he was aged twenty. After his first performance on stage in Calcutta in 1976, the renowned writer, director and filmmaker, late Satyajit Ray said: “Simply fantastic! I was stunned after hearing him. He is incredibly good. Really extraordinary... His performance soul-filling.” Two years later, after listening to his recital on the Akashvani Sangeet Sammelan broadcast, the all-time great vīṇā maestro, late S. Balachander said “When I listened to the sitar recital of Budhaditya Mukherjee, I felt that I was listening to the Sitar Artist of the Century. May God bless him with a long life and a most befitting future.”
In his early sixties, Pandit Budhaditya Mukherjee has 46 commercial musical releases to his name worldwide by various reputed music companies. Budhaditya Mukherjee was most recently selected to represent an ensemble of Indic classical musicians at the BBC Proms and performed at the Royal Albert Hall on 25th August 2017.
Soumen Nandy is a budding percussionist and much sought after tabla player. He was born into a classical music family and started playing tabla at age six. He began his training under Pandit Pankaj Chatterjee, a tabla maestro of the Farukabad Gharana (school) and a disciple of maestro Keramat U. Khan. He currently studies under maestro Arup Chatterjee, an accomplished musician and son of maestro Pankaj Chatterjee.
Soumen Nandy has been granted a highly coveted scholarship from the Governor of Bengal and a national scholarship from the Government of India. He is a regular performing artist at All India Radio and the national TV broadcasting company, Doordarshan.
At the young age of twenty seven, Soumen Nandy has already accompanied renowned music maestros such as Buddhaditya Mukherjee and Shyamal Chatterjee in Kolkata (Calcutta). In many other concerts he has accompanied on the tabla, other great musicians Amiya Ranjan Bandopadhyay, Kartik Kumar and Partho Chatterjee.
He has performed at the National Youth Festivals in different cities of India and at major classical concerts, which include the Prachin Kala Kendra Annual Convocation in Orissa, Bhawanipur Sangeet Sammelan in Kolkata, and at the Belur Ramakrishna Maṭh founded by the renowned monk Swami Vivekananda. He has given several solo performances, most notably the maestro Gyan Prakash Ghosh Memorial Foundation and maestro Keramat U. Khan Memorial Conference. Recently, he performed solo at the Young Maestros Music Festival in Kolkata (Calcutta).
Soumen Nandy accompanied as the chosen tabla percussionist to play alongside sitar maestro Budhaditya Mukherjee at a select ensemble of Indic classical musicians at the BBC Proms music event. They performed together at the Royal Albert Hall on 25th August 2017.
This uniquely composed meditative music was inspired by the traditional repertoire of rāga-based classical music and is part of the preservation project undertaken by the nonprofit organization Self Enquiry Life Fellowship to record and archive meditative Vedic music and chants.