Colombo, January 25 (newsin.asia): A thrilling concert by India’s renowned fusion combo “Divine Quartet” heralded the celebration of India’s 71 st., Republic Day here in the Sri Lankan capital on Saturday.
The combo, comprising two “Mohan” Veenas, Tabla and Western drums, had the audience in raptures with an unusual repertoire of Indian classical ragas, American jazz, a Nazm and a drums solo.
Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, ably led the team of expert musicians with his masterly handling of the “Mohan” Veena, his own adaptation of the Hawaiian guitar. The Mohan Veena, named after himself, is a combination of the Hawaiian guitar, the sitar, the sarod and the veena. It is thus an extremely versatile instrument, which in the hands of a maestro like Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, can do wonders.
Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, who is a Grammy award winner, was ably assisted by his son, Pandit Salil Bhat, whose virtuosity matched his father’s. The duo excelled in rendering soulful as well as fast passages and grand finales.
The tabla was in the hands of another maestro and Grammy nominee, Pandit Subhen Chatterji. His son Sambit Chatterji won the hearts of the young in the audience with his masterly solo on the drums.
Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhat, sprang a surprise on the audience by bursting into the famous Nazm: “Aaj Jaane ki zid naa karo” popularized by Pakistani Ghazal singers Farida Khannum and Abida Parveen. The complete musician that he is, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt sang the Nazm with feeling, weaving intricate classical patterns without slipping anywhere.
True to his name – Mohan – Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt was a winner of hearts in as much as he quite easily got the audience to participate in singing a song on India-Sri Lanka friendship which he had specially composed for the occasion. The audience rose to the occasion and sang tunefully to win kudos from Panditji who had no hesitation in declaring “This is the best audience I have had”.
The Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa and Mrs. Shiranthi Rajapaksa were the Chief Guests. They stayed through the recital.
The concert was, in a way, a fitting farewell to the Indian High Commissioner, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, who is leaving for Washington shortly to be Indian Ambassador in the US, after putting India-Sri Lanka relations on an even keel and winning the hearts of Sri Lankans.