Saturday, February 7, 2009
I have just come back form a really fulfilling trip to Shantiniketan and Kolkata. Shantiniketan is quaint and beautiful - though like all other cities and towns everywhere in the world it has become more crowded and as some of the regulars in the town say the cars have affected the charm and the look of the place - "pehle wahan ki laal mitti itni udti nahin thi". But for a first time it was very interesting. As part of senior and very well known artist K.G.Subramanyam's 85th birthday celebrations it was an honour to be there. Organised by the Seagull Foundation the event was a total creative treat with 3 days of music and an exhibition of KG's recent works. My special treat apart from just being there was meeting Sharbari Roy Chowdhary the famous sculptor who lives there. Sharbori Da was a special meeting for another reason - he is an avid record collector and has wonderful anecdotes and stories to tell about the artists, their patrons and other collectors. He has met greats like Kesarbai, Hirabai, Faiyyaz Khan and has fond memories of these meetings and also some very funny stories to tell. In moments like this I often think how crucial and central anecdotes are really to understand the greatness of the tradition itself. How can one integrate it into a more significant presence in music research?