Afternoon performance with Dr Sarita McHarg

Sharing some photos of yesterday afternoon’s performance with Dr Sarita McHarg, eminent sitar player and folk singer from Ujjain. My friend Mrs Pratima Shankar was recruited at the eleventh hour to provide harmonium accompaniment. Performance was held at the Open Studio in Northcote, an intimate venue which turned out to be a pretty ideal setting for this type of music. 

Sarita-ji started the performance with a rendition of Raga Charukeshi. Alap, Vilambit and Madhya-laya gat in Teentaal. Following which she switched gears to her folk repertoire and sang a bhajan composed by the medieval saint-poet Kabir. This bhajan was also based on Charukeshi. We then heard an uplifting folk melody known as a Kajri, with myself attempting to provide suitably high energy laggi-style accompaniment in Keherwa taal, unfortunately this is really not my area! Having been more inclined to the classical idiom till date … nevertheless being good at laggi is an important part of a tabla player’s skill set and my guruji has pressed me on this point a few times … 

We followed with a lovely Khayal in Raga Madhuwanti sung by Pratima-ji (I switched to my A# tabla for this). I am a big fan of Khayal vocal and Pratima-ji did a fantastic rendition which left me and I hope the listeners spellbound. When I myself become lost in the music then tabla accompaniment seems to just be happening by itself in the background. This is a lovely feeling. There was a moment when Sarita-ji joined in and the two of them sang the bandish together as a duet, it’s hard to put the resulting feeling into words. 

Sarita-ji concluded the afternoon by performing the same raga Madhuwanti on sitar, giving the listeners a taste of both a vocal and instrumental rendition of the same raga. I really enjoyed this rendition too, especially the drut and jhalla portion which Sarita-ji maintained for a good length of time. That was real “trance music”… ! 

Enjoyed the performance and look forward to more opportunities to perform with such wonderful musicians in future. 

Some photos:



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