A Graduation Party to Remember

By Samar Saha, Irwin, PA                   e-mail:  samar_k_saha@yahoo.com

The invitation was for the Graduation Party of Ayan Rivu Sinha at the Fox Chapel Area High School on June 17, 2017.  But it was not an ordinary graduation gala. Instead of a plain old-fashioned party, where the graduating child’s resume is mechanically recited, Ayan decided to entertain his well-wishers with a solo vocal concert. Those who knew Ayan, like most lovers of Hindustani classical music in Pittsburgh, were aware of this 17-year-old’s talent.  His talents were on full display with considerable flair, seldom seen even among professional singers.

Ayan started learning Hindustani music from his mother, Nidrita Mitra Sinha, when he was five. He continued to learn from Padmasri Pandita Tripti Mukherjee of Pandit Jasraj Instiute of Music (PJIM).  On many occasions he was blessed with training and guidance from Sangeet Martand  Pt. Jasraj-ji himself.  Academically, graduating from Fox Chapel High School, Ayan is going to Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH.

Part 1 of the concert started, almost on time, with a Khayal in raga Puriya Kalyan—Vilambit Ektal Muraliya Baaji, followed by Dina Raina in Drut Teental, and ending in a chaturang tarana with Tana Dhi-re Na. Chaturang is a variety of tarana with 4 elements: tarana bol, pakhwaj bol, words and sargam. Ayan composed this tarana himself. Next was a Haveli Sangeet (a combination of kirtan and bhajan in worshipping Krishna), a semi classical piece—Laal Gopal Gulaal, in raga Margi Vasant in Deepchandi tal, popular in UP/Haryana/Rajasthan areas.

After a break, Part 2 started with a Chhota Khayal Laj Rakho Banwari in raga Saraswati in Drut Ektal and ended with Tarana style in Drut Teental. Next, Ayan chose a Dhrupad piece, Jagadamba Jagadamba in raga Vasant in Chautal. It was somewhat daring for a young artist to attempt Dhrupad in which there is no taan and paltas; instead it has digun/trigun/chaugun, bol-taan and bol-baat. As the time moved on, the scene changed to soft, romantic and tender version of Khayal, Jiya Mein Laagi Aan Baan, a Dadra piece in raga Pilu followed by a Bengali semi-classical Jhanana Jhanana Baaje in raga Kalavati composed by Salil Chowdhuri in Drut Teental. Ayan finished his concert with a bhajan, Maayi Savare Ranga Raachi in raga Bhairavi, a straight, simple piece without much ornamentation of the notes.

Ayan was accompanied on tabla by his father, Asish Sinha and on the harmonium by Neelesh Nadkarni, both providing commendable support for this young artist.

Nandini Mandal aptly handled the emcee’s job making all feel at home.  The concert ended with dinner and each family received Ayan’s first CD recorded in 2017 by our own Rishi Nigam.  We all wish this young talent of many success in life – both academic and musical.  Let our good Lord bless you in your journey.    ♣


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