— By Aiyushman Dutta
Regional diversity brought together on single platform
Northeast India is known for its rich and varied forms of culture and traditions. Blessed with a number of ethnic groups and communities, the region boasts of tremendous richness in the field of arts as each and every community practices their own art forms which are indigenous to them. Northeast India is thus the very epitome of India’s much hyped ‘Unity in Diversity’ tag.
Art and culture – be it performance or aesthetic – is a mirror of social change and also the bond which unifies people. The people of the northeastern State are different in their traditions and practices but it is these art and cultural forms which bind them with one another.
In order to celebrate the diversity of northeast Indian folk traditions, the ICCR in a collaboration with the NEZCC organized a mega Northeast Music and Dance festival in the city recently. Held from July 12 – 15, a number of stellar performing artists from all over the Northeast participated in the four day festival
Inaugurating the festival, State Cultural Affairs Minister Pranati Phukan said, “A number of musicians and performing groups from different parts of the Northeast have gathered here in Guwahati for the four-day festival, which I am sure will give voice, form and expression, to a considerable extent, of the many indigenous folk arts practiced across the seven sister State. This is sure to go a long way in fostering the bond of unity and brotherhood amongst the people of the Northeast as we a get a chance to appreciate the richness and vibrancy of each other’s cultural traditions”.
The inaugural day of the festival was dominated by a Satriya dance performance and tribal folk dance performances from Nagaland. The tranquil rhythms of the Aye Kuzule (Cotton Spinning song of Nagaland) to the energetic tandab of Satriya recital was one of the many instances that provided a glimpse into the breathtaking diversity of traditions, which yet blended beautifully in the Shilpgram auditorium. The second day was devoted to Mizo folk performances and a tribute to late Dr Bhupen Hazarika by Mitali De and Rupam Talukdar.
The third day provided a glittering display into the folk dance traditions of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Presented by the Asom Sanskritic Mancha, Assamese dancers performed Bihu, Barat, Hamzaar (Rabha folk dance), Lewa Tana (Mising Bihu), Kahi Naach, Japi Naach, Pepa Badan, Lorar Lahori Naach. Meanwhile, Adi dancers from Arunachal Pradesh presented different dances of the Adi Ponung tribe.
The last day was devoted for musical performances. Popular folk fusion band Northeast Breeze, led by Rupam Bhuyan, and funk experimentalists Bluetooth performed on the occasion.
Music workshop to mark poet’s birth anniversary celebrations
The 150th Birth Anniversary celebrations of Kabiguru Rabindranath Thakur continues throughout the country. A three-day workshop on classical instruments like Sitar, Violin was organized by pioneering classical music society, Talim, as part of the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of the legendary poet-cum-litterateur in Guwahati last week. The workshop was held at the New Guwahati Youth Club, New Guwahati, Noonmati.
The programme, which kicked off at New Guwahati Youth Club on the afternoon of July 27, 2012, was inaugurated by veteran Sitarist and Talim president Hem Hazarika. Altogether 30 practitioners of the Sitar and Violin participated in the workshop which was conducted by a host of personalities, including prolific Sitarist and ITC Sangeet Research Alumni Subhankar Hazarika.
Subhankar Hazarika, who is now based in Kolkata, is a disciple of legendary Sitarist Pt Manilal Nag. He started learning the Sitar at the age of 10 in Sangeet Research Academy, Kolkata and took talim from Pandit Manilal Nag for a long time. Within a very short span of time, Subhkanar has earned appreciation from all over for his music prowess.
Some of the titles conferred on him are the Surmani Award from Sur Singer Sansad, Mumbai(2009), National Scholarship from Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India, A Grade award from Kolkata Cine Musician Association(2001), Sur Seravan Award from Sur Seravan Samaroh(2003), Scholarship from ITC, Sangeet Research Academy(2005-2009), amongst others. So far he has performed as a solo artist in various functions in Kolkata, Bhopal, Indore, Pune, Delhi, Ranchi, Jamsedpur, Asansol, North Bengal, Kalyan.
Subhankar’s innovation spills into other genres as well. His project, Naad Brahma – a fusion of Hindustani music with other genres – blues, electronic, jazz, reggae – has performed to critical acclaim all over. The band has performed in the World Music Day celebrations in Dimapur (2011), Guwahati International Music Festival 2011 organized by Eastern Beats Music Society with ICCR, NEZCC and Government of Goa, Northeast Spring Festival in Dimapur (2012), North East Music Festival (2012) in Jorhat (2012) organized by NEZCC under Ministry of Culture, and various other shows all over Assam.
Besides live performances, Subhankar is also the youngest sitarist to play in the cine industry with a record 300 numbers of films, tele films and albums. Presently he is pursuing a fellowship of the Ministry of Human Resources and Development department under the Government of India.
Subhankar conceptualised and patterned the workshops by starting from the time concept of Ragas, the essence of different Ragas, Patterns of Ragas, Mathematical implication of Talas with Ragas, Gat, Tana and up to Layas. The workshop was supervised by Hem Hazarika, who was the first person to impart Sitar training in the State.
The workshop culminated on the evening of July 29 with a function dedicated to the 150th Birth Anniversary of Rabindranath Thakur. The function started with the lighting of a lamp in front of the portrait of the Kabiguru and ended with the performance of the National Anthem in Sitar and violin by all participants.
The other events of the function were Sitar recital (Ekla Salore) by Hem, Subhankar and Swapna Hazarika, Guiter recital (Rabindra Sangit) by noted artist Sanchal De, Rabindra Sangeet-based Dance performed by Swapna Hazarika, Kalpana Bora, Rangrupa and Pratyusha, Rabindra Sangeet performed by Golok Bora, Nandini Barua, Chetana Bora, Kalpana Bora, Chandana and Anjana maral, Banani Deuri, Lopa devi, Kabita and Bandana Bardaloi, Saptarshi and Nihar Nandana De and Rabindra poem recital by Anu Barua and Nandini Barua. Earlier the Function was addressed by Dr. Mamoni Barthakur and anchored by Dr. Ananta Madhav Dutta and Golok Bora.