The SIXTH edition of Banyan Tree’s Splendor of Masters festival offers the rare chance to see Pandit Shivkumar Sharma in concert with his son and musical prodigy Rahul Shivkumar. Organised to celebrate masters of Indian classical music, the pair will be accompanied by Vidwan Vikku Vinayakram on the ghatam, and Anindo Chatterjee and Ramkumar Mishra on the tabla.
Passing the baton
“Rahul has done fantastic work with international musicians. So playing together after nearly a decade is definitely going to be mesmerising,” begins Shivkumar. While he explains that his wife was initially reluctant for their youngest son to pursue music, he discovered that Rahul had a ‘natural inclination’, and since he began studying and composing at the age of nine, there has been ‘no looking back’. The family tradition in fact stretches back another generation, with Shivkumar learning from his father Pandit Umadutt Sharma, who was a well-known vocalist and dilruba player.
Making their mark
Best-known for his work on the santoor, Shivkumar has been credited with bringing the instrument into mainstream Indian classical music. “Santoor is a very ancient instrument, but it was always associated with sufi music from the Valley of Kashmir,” says Shivkumar, adding that, “I have been performing for more than 60 years and have been playing santoor for even longer so, you can say that it is different from other string instruments. It creates a soothing atmosphere throughout the performance.” Over the years, he explains, he has experimented with the instrument, improving its tonal quality, playing technique and repertoire. Explaining that every concert in his career has helped him to develop as a musician, he is keen to encourage those with no background in Indian classical music to attend. “As far as I’m aware, 95 per cent of any given audience doesn’t know the details of the kind of music or instruments we are playing,” he says. “But a good audience is simply full of people who are open and receptive to different forms of music,” he concludes.
— Maegan Dobson Sippy
More on Rahul Sharma
My father, Pundit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Sting
My collaborative CDs with pianist Richard Clayderman and Grammy award-winning saxophonist Kenny G and electronica group Deep Forest.
I’ve just finished composing for Vivek Agnihotri’s film Freedom, which is my second, the first being Yash Chopra’s Mujhse Dosti Karoge
January 23, 7 pm. At Chowdiah Memorial Hall, Vyalikaval. Tickets (Rs.350 upwards) on bookmyshow.com
One man stand
Described as ‘Shakespeare meets stand-up comedy’, King’s Player sees actor Tref Gare wear many hats. Combining song, movement and even mime, the Australian performer has captivated audiences worldwide. We catch up with him as he makes his Indian debut.
How did the idea come about?
I was researching a play about a medieval touring performer and people pointed me towards the court performance at the heart of Hamlet. I started to think – what would it be like if this was the guy who had done the gig for Hamlet and from that seed sprang the King’s Player.
Tell us about the characters.
I get to play a vagabond minstrel, a prince, a king, an old retainer, a village square, a castle, a recalcitrant barman, a grumpy old witch, a blacksmith, a big gawky chicken, a palace guard, a dead king’s ghost and three naked hand puppets.
On performing alone.
One thing that nags at you is the guilty sense of the arrogance of it all. Do you really believe that you can hold an audience’s attention with nothing but you? People ask whether it’s lonely, but I find the opposite to be true – when you’re working solo, you have to engage with the audience more.
A bit on your background.
I started as a musician, moved into straight theatre, then musical theatre, did a stint as a puppeteer, some film, and then trained in mime. I found myself in the situation of really enjoying each of those styles but generally not being allowed to use more than one of them for any one particular show.
Until January 25. At Jagriti, Whitefield. Tickets (`300) on