In collaboration with St Martin-in-the-Fields, Darbar brought of Indian classical arts to the heart of London, The St Martins church was built in 1726 next to Trafalgar Square. This lunchtime concert offered the audience a captivating immersion into the sublime music of sarod by Debasmita Bhattacharya and the tabla rhythms by Gurdain Rayatt.
Bhattacharya, an accomplished sarod virtuoso hails from the musically enriched family in West Bengal. She embarked on her remarkable journey under the tutelage of her father, the renowned sarod maestro Pandit Debasmita Bhattacharya who performed at Darbar Festival 2014, followed by the mentorship of the late sarod virtuoso and legendary Padma Bhushan awardee, Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta. She represents the illustrious musical tradition of the Senia Shahjahanpur Gharana and is one of the few dynamic young female sarod players from India. Bhattacharya was accompanied by the rhythmic mastery of Gurdain Rayatt on tabla. Gurdain Rayatt stands as one of the UK's foremost young tabla maestros, with a rich lineage of training that includes his early tutelage under his grandfather, Bhai Gurmit Singh Ji Virdee, his father Harkirat Rayatt, followed by advanced studies with Pandit Shankar Ghosh in India.
In the serene and sacred atmosphere of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Bhattacharya delighted the audience with her rendition of the raag Bhimpalasi. This afternoon raga is renowned for evoking emotions of attraction and romantic love. It draws its melodic essence from the Kafi thaat, offering a delicate musical experience.
Bhattacharya introduced her rare instrument, highlighting its distinctiveness in comparison to others. She eloquently conveyed its connection to the gayaki style, which was skilfully demonstrated throughout her entire performance. Commencing with alaap, Bhattacharya painted a vivid and delicate portrayal of Bhimpalasi, deeply resonating with its evocative charm. Improvising around the scale, Bhattacharya explored the tonality of sarod sustaining the notes in the lower octave crafting a truly sublime and immersive musical experience. She showcased her mastery over the strings, weaving intricate phrases and patterns that transitioned into the lively jor section, culminating in a dynamic and vibrant jhala. In perfect harmony, Rayatt complemented her performance, adding his unique flair to the 16-beat gat, where Bhattacharya exhibited her remarkable technical finesse. She flowed at ease into the intricacies of Bhimpalasi through a blend of elegance and intensity. Her performance during finer elements in the drut teental gat, enthralled the audience is by the musical conversations around the sum with Rayatt, interwoven with tihais amidst refreshing phrases adorned with gamaks and speed.
In the calming ambiance of St. Martin's, Bhattacharya and Rayatt crafted an unforgettable experience, leaving an indelible impression on the captivated audience.
Musicians: Debasmita Bhattacharya (sarod). Gurdain Rayatt (tabla).
Raag: Bhimpalasi, Thaat: Kafi, Samay: 12pm – 3 pm
Filmed on 22 September 2023.