Festival witnessed unique attempt by Guru Hem Hazarika to perform 70 Raags
Musicians and music aficionados of Assam, bypassing different genres like classical and rock, joined the students and well-wishers of Guru Hem Hazarika on March 1, 2019 to celebrate his 70th birthday. The musical concert, Ragor Xondhya, was presented by Guru Hazarika’s Talim School of Music with the support of Eastern Beats Music Society – a premier non-governmental organization dedicated towards preservation and promotion of Northeast Indian music, cultural, literary and sporting traditions.
The music concert was held at Tirtha Nath Bhawan, Chandmari last Friday from 6 pm, said Golok Chandra Bora, a member of Talim and an artist who performed in the program. The program also included performances by students of Talim, Hem Hazarika’s wife Sapna Hazarika and their daughter-in-law Debottama Bagchi.
Organized to celebrate the 70th birthday of Guru Hem Hazarika, ‘Ragor Xondhya’ featured a number of performances. And in order to celebrate his 70 years of existence on this planet, Guru Hem Hazarika performed a unique feat by performing and demonstration of playing techniques of 70 Hindustani Classical Ragas in a span of one and half hour. A live performance of 70 ragas in one and half hour has not been witnessed before in East India, and in all probability, the entire country.
Talking about the performance, Subhankar Hazarika, son of the maestro, alumni of ITC Sangeet Research Academy and a noted Sitarist himself, said, “The program is a humble way of expression of the students and wellwishers of my father to celebrate his 70th birthday. Since my father has devoted his entire life in the pursuit of music through the Gurushishya parampara, he demonstrated and played 70 Ragas. As far as I am aware of, such a feat has not been attempted so far. I performed alongside with him in this presentation.”
Eastern Beats Music Society President Peter Todd Baruah said, “Many people in the Northeast are unaware of the path-breaking initiatives of Guru Hem Hazarika. After more than 50 years of constant practice and association with the Sitar, Hem Hazarika had last year developed and released his own new musical instrument – the Hem Veena. An electric version of the Sitar which resembles the Zitar, the Hem Veena is unique in the sense that the bars or ridges are based in a semi-circular pattern. He has also composed his own Raag i.e. Raag KolaMohini. We are privileged to be associated with Guru Hem Hazarika for the past eight years through our property GUWAHATI INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL in which he has presented a unique symphony of 100 and 50 Suitars in 2012 and 2019 respectively.”
Aiyushman Dutta further said, “In the galaxy of Assamese musicians and performers, there are but only a handful of personalities who have managed to attained eternal brilliance through their musical prowess and compositions. One such eminent virtuoso in our midst is none other than Hem Hazarika, a Sitar maestro who has spent his entire lifetime in the pursuit of promotion of excellence in music. A respected name in the classical musical as well as the modern musical fraternity, his life is an embodiment of an individual’s pursuit for excellence.”
A perfectionist at heart, Hem Hazarika’s entire life journey has been bound together by a single thread and that is the thread of music. An artist who had always gone against the established norms to attain perfection in the field of music, his life been a continuous struggle to attain perfection and also, at the same time, establish himself in the social firmament and also as a family man. A disciple of Sitar legend Pt. Manilal Nag, Hazarika spent a number of years in Kolkata under the tutelage of the eminent Sitarist and this stint, further helped in nurturing his latent musical prowess. Over the last 50 years, Hem Hazarika has developed a distinctive style of his own and has strived to pass on all that he has learned to countless students spread across entire Eastern India.