Shubha Mudgal – Music Of The Mystics

Show: Music Of The Mystics
Artists:   Vocals By Shubha Mudgal 
Dr. Aneesh Pradhan on the Tabla
Sudhir Nayak on the Harmonium
Pratap Rath on Percussion
When:  9th September 2011
Where:   Linder Auditorium Wits – Johannesburg

Shubha Mudgal Live In Concert at the Linder Auditorium

Spring has dawned and with it a flourish of colours and season of enviable artistry, it is most rightly epitomised in the words of Anand Bakshi from the 1985 movie ‘Hero’ wherein Lata Mangeshkar exclaims ‘Neendiya Se Jaage Bahar, Aisa Mausam Dekha Pehli Baar…; We have Arts Alive to thank for this beautiful awakening. They have for five years in a row been bringing us artists and the tapestry of Indian dance, music and colour.

Shubha Mudgal is one such instance this year! It seems the rainbow covered the night sky in Johannesburg, all thanks to Shubhaji!

As stated in the pamphlet about the concert:

The Performance:

Centuries ago, some of the most powerful and ecstatic expressions of love, devotion and surrender to the ultimate were authored by the great saint saints from the Indian subcontinent. While some oif these verse are direct and forthright in their simplicity, others contain complex allegory and metaphor. Most of this great literary treasure was meant to be sung, and continues to inspire musicians across genres even today. Shubha Mudgal is one such artist whose study of music poetry of the sub-continent has greatly enriched her repertoire. She presents selections from the verses of Kabir, Amir Khusrao, Gorakhnath and others in a style that bears the hallmark of her training in Hindustani classical music. Accompanying her for this presentation are three accomplished musicians – Dr. Aneesh Pradhan (Tabla), Sudhir Nayak (Harmonium) and Pratab Rath (Percussion).

My first listening to the classical nightingale was ‘Aayo Re Mhaaro Dholna’ from the album Pyar Ke Geet, and I was hooked. There is such a veracity and authenticity to Shubha’s vocals that you cannot be mistaken when listening to her renditions.  After that, I learned more and more of this gracious artist and followed her film and classical songs till my dream came true last night (08/09/2011). I attended the opening of the Arts Alive festival watching the play by Mahesh Dattani ‘Dance Like A Man’. Halfway though, a friend mentioned that we turn around, when i turned, my heart skipped a beat. There she was: Shubha Mudgal, also watching the show!! After a few minutes I summed up the courage and went to greet Shubhaji. I asked if it ok to get an autograph and a pic. Shubhaji readily agreed and complied.  Shubha displayed so much humbleness and gladly allowed us and autograph and a photo.

The moments leading to the concert were restless for me, all I wanted to do was hear this nightingale at her craft and how to. Shubha presented the music of the mystics in style. The bandishes and thumri’s mesmorised the crowd. Opening with Kabir , Shubha had us gripped. Holding her tanpura and singing made me realised that we were in the company of an extra-ordinary artiste. Each presentation was met by an introduction by the soft-spoken Shubhaji. Her hold on English is very admirable and explained in detail what we were listening to. It made the entire experience so much more overwhelming. The accompanists were brilliant in their respective crafts as well. They had supported this robust vocalist perfectly.

It was a night that has been etched into my heart and memory, full of spring, and new awakenings.

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