The strumming of the sitar, the mellifluous flute, the riffs of the saxophone, the beats of the tabla and power-packed vocals -- a jugaldbandi of classical, folk, sufi and jazz set the tone for the maiden MTV India Music Summit here. Under the night sky, with the fort-like silhoutte of the Fairmont Jaipur serving as the backdrop, musicians Ustad Shujaat Khan, saxophonist George Brooks, flautist Ajay Prasanna, tabla player Amit Choubey and vocalists Hariharan and Kaushiki Chakraborty, gave a taste of how the classical music art form has stood the test of time.
The crowd, a mix of old and young, warmed up to the magic of Indian music as the nip in the air gave them goosebumps here at the poolside of the property on Friday night. The ensemble performed Odyssey, a production by composer Lesle Lewis, with Hariharan setting the pace with a rendition of the Rajasthani folk track Kesariya Balam.
What unleashed next was around two hours of pure musical bliss as the instrumentalists matched notes with one another. Khan, who kept giving vocals in between, said, "As an artiste, it's great to be able to come together with so many musicians and play together, talk, gossip. I'd like to thank the organizers and sponsors for supporting music, and for putting this together. "I am especially thankful to the audience because an artiste is nothing without its audience."
From the ghazal Yeh Inayaten Ghazab Ki to Behoshi, Nasha, Kkhushbu, Kya Kya Na Hamaari Saanson Mein to verses by Amir Khusro, Chhaap Tilak and Vaishnava Jana To, Khan, a Grammy nominated artiste, who has a musical pedigree that runs into decades, regaled the audience. A vocal jugalbandi by Hariharan and Chakraborty led to a crescendo which received a standing ovation from the audience.
This was just one of the many soul-stirring performances slated as part of the MTV India Music Summit, a three-day gala by Musiconcepts around music and musicality. The opening concert was by iconic vocalist Pandit Jasraj, who at 87, performed for over an hour for an audience mesmerised by his enthusiasm and intermittent humor. Late at night, Assamese singer Papon took the stage, giving a sense of music from different parts of India, followed by a jazz performance by the Vasundhara Vee quartet.