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Catch the greats in action, at the Swaranjali music festival in Mumbai

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The three-day event is held annually in honour of the late Pandits Suresh Haldankar, Jitendra Abhisheki and CR Vyas.

Mumbai: “This tradition of paying homage to my gurus for the past 15 years has been a humbling one,” says classical vocalist Pandit Prabhakar Karekar, ahead of the annual Indian classical music festival, Swaranjali. “Every year we’ve had some of the best musicians be part of this festival. We also get a diverse audience and I believe it’s one of the best ways to promote classical music in the city.”

Karekar, as chairman of the Swaraprabha Charitable Trust, organises the three-day festival each year, in honour of his three late gurus, Pandits Suresh Haldankar, Jitendra Abhisheki and CR Vyas. The 2019 edition is being held from January 3 to 5, at Nehru Centre Auditorium in Worli.

This year’s line-up includes vocalist Begum Parveen Sultana, santoor legend Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, Grammy-winning classical percussionist TH Vinayakram, classical Carnatic percussionist V Selvaganesh, percussionist extraordinaire Taufiq Qureshi, Hindustani vocalist Venkatesh Kumar and classical vocalists Devaki Pandit and Arati Ankalikar-Tikekar. “The festival is even more special for me because Prabhakarji is from the same gharana as me and so are our gurus,” Tikekar says. “Since I perform regularly in Mumbai, it’s also a challenge. The audience knows my capacity and has seen my growth. That makes for a real test.”

For Devaki Pandit, the festival also marks a beautiful celebration of the guru-shishya (teacher-student) relationship. “In Indian classical music, musical knowledge is an inter-personal endeavour. It’s passed on from Gurus to Shishya, often orally and across two or three generations. Though my mother, Usha Pandit, was my first guru, I’ve also trained under Abhishekiji. Even my mother was his disciple,” Pandit says. “These people have blessed me and taught me and I’m happy to honour their legacy and memory through music.”

 

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