Pune: The prestigious Sawai Gandharva music festival 2011 has been rechristened the Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav from its 59th edition which begins from December 7 until December 11.
The festival was initiated by Kirana Gharana maestro Pt Bhimsen Joshi in memory of his guru Sawai Gandharva aka Rambhau Kundgolkar. The announcement about the name change came from the maestro's son, Shrinivas Joshi, who is also the executive president of the Arya Sangeet Prasarak Mandal, the organiser of the festival, during a news conference on Friday. Pt Bhimsen Joshi, a Bharat Ratna awardee who was legendary for his khayal gayaki, passed away earlier this year at the age of 89. Joshi said that this is the first time that the festival is being organised without his father's presence. "But the legend is still with us, though not in his physical form. My father had initiated this festival to pay homage to his teacher. Similarly, it is our wish to pay tribute to the musical virtuoso who left us this year by adding his name to the fest. This festival is now dedicated to both the maestros of Hindustani classical music," said Joshi.
Previously, the festival was spread over four days comprising five sessions with four sessions in the evening and a morning session on the concluding day. However, this year the morning session on the concluding day has been canceled and instead, one more day has been added.
"Artistes are more comfortable with this timetable, as are members of the audience. This may be repeated next year too if it suits everyone," added Joshi.
The Sawai fest is scheduled to start on December 7 this year, and will continue till December 11. The event has been scheduled between 4 pm and 10pm, except the 1st and 4th day, when it will start at 3:30pm.
New English School Ramanbaug grounds is the venue for the festival this year too.
As many as 26 artistes from the world of Indian classical music will present their art before a seasoned audience. Among them are eight first timers in the festival, including singer Shankar Mahadevan.
On December 7, the festival will begin with performances by 'shehnai' maestro Tukaram Daithankar, vocalist Sanjay Garud, Pandit Satish Vyas on 'santoor', vocalists Ashwini Bhide Deshpande and Pt Ajay Pohankar.
The second day of the festival - December 8 - will have performances by vocalists Mahesh Kale, followed by Shaila Datar. "There will be an eclectic jugalbandi by Pt Ronu Majumdar on the flute and Kadri Gopalnath on the saxophone. Both the musicians will deliver both Hindustani and Carnatic rendition. This performance is one of the highlights of the fest this year.
At the day's close, the audience will get to listen to veteran vocalist Balmuralikrishna who will be performing after a considerable length of time, added Joshi.
The third day - December 9 -will showcase artistes like vocalist Kumar Mardur, sitarist Kartik Seshadri, Shankar Mahadevan with Carnatic classical renditions, and Pt Jasraj.
Vocalists Yojana Shivanand, Shrinivas Joshi and Malini Rajurkar will enthral the audience on the fourth day of the festival - December 10. This day also boasts of unique dance performances by dancers from the traditional Bharatnatyam school, Nritya Niketan in Udipi and a Kathak rendition by danseuse Shama Bhate's Nad Roop. These performances will be an attempt to pay tribute to Pt Bhimsen Joshi. This will be followed by 'sarod' maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan's rendition.
The final day of the festival - December 11 - will feature vocalist Omkar Dadarkar, Padma Deshpande, Nagaraj Rao Hawaldar and violinist N Rajam with her daughter Sangeeta Shankar and two grand daughters. This will be followed by a vocal performance by Pt Venkatesh Kumar.
Staying true to its tradition, the 59th edition of Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav will conclude with the performances of veteran vocalist from Kirana Gharana, Prabha Atre.
Source: The Times of India - Nov 19 2011 (http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-11-19/pune/30418905_1_kirana-gharana-pt-bhimsen-joshi-festival)