Ken Zuckerman gives an immaculate performance at the Darbar Festival 2007. He performs a long piece in Raag Bhimpalasi and then concludes his recital with Durgeshwari, a favourite raga of his guru – Late Ustad Ali Akbar Khan.
With his extraordinary talent, tenacity and musicianship, Zuckerman has commanded respect for his commendable performances all over the world. He is one of the handful American disciples of Late Ustad Khan who has always received accolades from his guru for being one of the most proficient exponents of the sarod. In the world of Indian classical music, Zuckerman has set an impeccable example in terms of musicianship, grammar, soul and craftsmanship.
He opens his recital with Raag Bhimpalasi, introducing the melody expansively with serene phrases. He designs the jod with exquisite phrases, keeping the mood calm and the melody well-structured. The vilambit gat is set to Teental which then is built into a medium tempo. The drut gat, also in Teental, is executed with passionate melodic improvisations and laykari.
Partha Sarathi Mukherjee gives a pleasing support on the tabla, improvising over brisk tukdas and introducing short solos in between Zuckerman’s elaborations.
The concluding piece is set to Raag Durgeshwari which has been hailed by Ustad Ali Akbar Khan as a creation of his father, Baba Alauddin Khan. This raga draws flavours from ragas Durga, Jhinjhoti, Goud Malhar and Kukubh Bilawal in an exquisite blend that was popularised in this gat by the ustad himself in the 60’s. The first gat is set to sitarkhani, a variant of Teental and is performed with stunning elucidation by Zuckerman. The second one is set to a faster tempo in Teental.
In our repository, this is perhaps the only and the most stirring rendition of Raag Durgeshwari. A rare raga in itself, its beautiful strains and the scheme of the composition embody the very essence of the Maihar gharana instrumental baj.
Also, as a delineation of Raag Bhimpalasi, this concert is the finest example of Zuckerman’s delicacy and sensitivity as a musician who has harnessed a complex form of art, coming from a totally different cultural background.
Ken Zuckerman (sarod)
Partha Sarathi Mukherjee (tabla)
Debipriya Das (tanpura)
Raag Bhimpalasi, Thaat: Kafi, Samay: afternoon
Raag Durgeshwari, Thaat: Kaafi, Samay: early evening