Another feather was added to Caesurae’s cap in July, 2016, when a group of budding musicians and dancers (part of the Gangtok-based group Shantih) came together for a musical performance that soon turned into a free-flowing adda session. The evening also witnessed the formal release of Caesurae’s first CD, Meghbalika (Cloud-girl), a musical transcreation of Joy Goswami’s narrative poem by Caesurae Collective, in India. Prof. Sanjukta Dasgupta of Calcutta University honoured us with her presence and presided over the launching ceremony along with Dr. Ramkumar Mukhopadhyay, the Vice-President of the Caesurae Collective. Meghbalika was officially first released, during the SARI (Société d'activités et de Recherches sur le Monde Indien) colloquium in May this year at the University of Paris, 13. Only a year and a half old, Caesurae Collective, an organization with a peer reviewed international e-journal (www.caesurae.org), has been holding events on literature and other arts across the nation now. This is our third collaboration with Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad as Dr. Ramkumar Mukhopadhyay, the President of Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad, inaugurated the event thanking both the organizations. Dr. Mukhopadhyay welcomed all and expressed his well wishes for Caesurae and its various ventures. He ended his address with a short personal testimony on his long-standing friendship with the north-eastern parts of India and described it his “almost second home.” This was followed by a short felicitation ceremony where each of the distinguished personalities, musicians and organizers alike, was presented with a khada (traditional ceremonial scarf in Tibetan culture).
Sannidhi Sengupta, a tiny tot of only nine years, performed the inaugural dance to a Rabindrasangeet (Eso go jwele diye jao pradeepkhani) sung by Smt. Snehsree Thapa with Shri Kinshuk Mukhopadhyay on tabla and Shri Sagar Routh on violin. Sannidhi’s expressions belied her tender age as she moved with a grace unmatched. Next came Pawan Rai with his soulful rendition of raga Sur Malhar, accompanied by two other members of Shantih, viz., Shri Routh on violin and Shri Nishaant Singh on tabla. With an ambience of classical music seeping through every corner of the room, Shri Bhabani Shankar Dasgupta, the elder son and disciple of the eminent Sarode maestro Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta, played on his sarode ideations of Tagore, while Smt. Snehsree Thapa crooned the originals, viz., Aaji jato tara tabo akashe, Aamar kantho hote gaan ke nilo, Ei lobhinu songo tobo, Ebar abagunthan kholo, and Shedin dujane. Gora’da, as Dasgupta is fondly addressed by his acquaintances, shared the story behind this experiment that dates back to his father; almost twenty-five years ago when Shri Buddhadev Dasgupta performed a few of his own ideations with stalwarts like Suchitra Mitra and Subinoy Ray at the Mahajati Sadan. With rapt attention, everyone listened closely to the bandishes while Dasgupta spontaneously shifted from one taal to another as the similarities with the corresponding Rabindrasangeet unfolded. The excitement and vigour continued as Anjali Rai, student of Rabindra Bharati University studying M.Mus. Kathak and a member of Shantih, performed her solo Kathak recital with Shri Nishaant Singh on pakhwaj and Shri Routh on violin. With her bare feet beating along with the music against
the floor, the rhythm and melody became more tactile to the audience. The vibrant bol entrapped all as Shri Kinshuk Mukhopadhyay drew the tabla to himself and joined the celebration impromptu. The conclusion to such a mellifluous evening struck the perfect chord when Shri Nishaant Singh presented his pakhwaj presentation with Shri Routh on the violin. Before the
performance, Nishaant paid homage to his Guru’ji, the renowned pakhawaj maestro Pt. Chanchal Kr. Bhattacharya, and reminisced about his journey as a solo pakhawaj player in recent times. Nishaant began with some traditional pieces, continued with a few improvisations of Swami Vivekananda (from Sangeet Kalpataru) and ended his recital with an original composition. In their unassuming enthusiasm Nishaant with his fellow members of Shantih not only bestowed upon us a memorable evening but also created a space of a true cultural translation; a space where language difference was hardly a barrier as the universal medium of music connected the hills with the plains.