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Light Classical Concert - Mohan Deshpande/Mitali Bhawmik

  • Residence of Mr. Haresh & Dr. Lekha Gopal 10 Geiger Lane Warren, NJ, 07059 United States (map)

Vocal - Mohan Deshpande
Vocal - Mitali Banerjee Bhawmik
Tabla - Samir Chatterjee
Harmonium - Kedar Naphade

Aaye Na Balam -  Thumri & Dhun from Benares and Punjab

In this concert, you will enjoy light-classical “Thumri” and “Dhun” from Banaras and Punjab.  Thumri is a highly emotive, beautiful and important genre in Indian semi-classical music.  It has influenced many film songs, as well as other genres (e.g. Bhajan, Marathi Natyasangeet) from different parts of the country.  Many classical singers often sing a Thumri as a second or third piece in the concert. The lyrical content of a thumri has both romantic and spiritual connotations.
Indian classical and semi-classical music is not fully pre-composed and there is a lot of improvisation during the performance. Thumri is semi-classical,  so it does not necessarily need to be constrained by all the rules and restrictions that are imposed in classical music (such as the rendition of a raag).
Paradoxically, this liberty makes improvisation in a thumri more difficult for the performer, rather than making it easier.  The artist can take license with the melody, however departing too much from the original theme can detrimentally dilute the overall impact of the performance. The boundaries are blurred.  An intangible artistic sense dictates where one takes the melody, and whether the recital will have impact.  

In addition to performing wonderful folk songs and tunes, the artists will also speak about their thoughts and approach to improvisation during Thumri.


Mohan Deshpande

Dr. Mohan Deshpande is a well-known musician / musicologist born in an illustrious family of musicians tracing their connection back to Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar. Although he was steeped in the tradition of Hindustani Classical music virtually from birth, he approaches his continuing musical explorations from a novel perspective, characterized by a refreshing willingness to experiment with new forms of presentation and explore the limits of various genres.

Mohan learned his music from his father, a noted musical singer and educator, Maha Mahopadhyay Pandit S.B. Deshpande, of Hyderabad, India. Although educated in the Gwalior Gharana style, Mohan grew up immersed in a musical household and exposed to all the top musicians and ‘Ustads’ of the 50’s and 60’s such as Pandit Kumar Gandharva and Ustad Bade Gulam Ali Khan, that influenced the development of his unique musical style. While in medical school, in 1961, Mohan received the Presidential medal in that year's All-India Radio Musical Competition.

He has given numerous performances in vocal raagdari style in India, the US and Canada. Aiming to cultivate a love for Indian Classical tradition, he approaches his musical work with recognition of the needs of listeners in America and experiments with new ideas to increase the exposure of the Indian Classical style to both Indian and American audiences in the US. Thus, he has conducted a variety of discussions and demonstrations.  He designed and collaborated with several prominent NJ musicians to present several programs such as Kalyan darshan, Music of India etc.

Dr. Deshpande has been teaching vocal classical music to children and adults at Vivekananda Vidyapith for over 25 years. After a private practice in New Jersey for over 33 years as an Internist and Cardiologist, he retired in 2015. Now he continues his riaz, concerts and teaching of music.

Mitali Banerjee Bhawmik

Mitali Banerjee Bhawmik, an artiste of Hindustani Classical vocal music, was born in Nogaon, Assan, where she started her initial lessons in music at a very early age from Sri Ajit Dutta.  Later she had the privilege of receiving extensive training in the different styles of Hindustani Classical vocal music from Sri Biren Phukan in Guahati, Assam.  For further training, Mitali came to Calcutta in 1983 where she initially received lessons from Srimati Meera Banerjee, the noted vocalist.  Since 1984 Mitali is under the tutelage of Padmabhushan Pandit V. G. Jog the famous violin maestro. Pandit Jog's vast and extensive experience in the different musical styles and traditions have helped Mitali to blend the best of few styles (Gharanas) in her music in contrast to sticking to a single traditional Gharana style.  This has been the essence of Pandit Jog's philosophy in music and training methodology.Mitali also received training in semi-classical (thumri, dadra, hori etc) music from Smt. Dahlia Rahut, a senior disciple of Smt. Girija Devi.

Mitali has performed in several concerts both in India and USA.  To name a few, in USA, she has performed at the Ali Akbar College of Music in California, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Yale University in Connecticut, Princeton University, Rutgers University in New Jersey, Chhandayan All Night Concert,  other universities in US and also at several locations in New York and New Jersey area. In India Mitali has performed at the Sangeet Research Academy, Salt Lake Music Festival, Bhawanipur Sangeet Samaj, Dover Lane Music Conference periodicals, Calcutta School of Music, World Bengali Conference, SPIC-MACAY concerts, West Bengal State Music conference in Kolkata, Delhi habitat center, IIC Delhi, NCPA Mumbai, Varanasi, Rajkot & Surat & several others. She has also performed at the Nehru Centre and Stratford in London UK.

Her melodious voice and perfect rendition of the "raga's" have won her numerous acclaims and appreciation from the listeners.  Besides Khayals, Mitali also specializes in semi-classical music like Thumris and Bhajans.

Mitali has two CDs “Vandana”, where her Guru Pandit V. G. Jog has accompanied her on the violin. She has another album, named “Rasiya” where she has been accompanied by Pt Ramesh Mishra on Sarengi and Pt Samir Chatterjee on tabla.

Mitali is the director of Ethnomedia Music Studio where she teaches Hindustani Classical Music to several students in the area.  Mitali along with her students has won the prestigious New Jersey Council of the Arts grant for four years.

Samir Chatterjee

Samir Chatterjee is a virtuoso Tabla player from India. He travels widely across the world throughout the year performing in numerous festivals as a soloist or with other outstanding musicians from both Indian and non-Indian musical traditions. Samir performed at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway in 2007. He also performed a few times at the United Nations General Assembly. His compositions are widely acclaimed as well as his writings. Samir is a firm believer in the transforming effect of music on the society and all aspects of his work reflects this conviction.    

Samir  Chatterjee began his studies early with Pandit Bankim Ghosh, Pt. Balaram Mukherjee, Pt. Rathin Dhar and Mohammad Salim. His later formation as a musician occurred under the guidance of Pt. Amalesh Chatterjee (since 1966) and Pt. Shyamal Bose (since 1984). All of Samir's teachers have been from the Farrukhabad Gharana (school) of Tabla-playing, which he now represents.
Samir is rated ‘A’ as an artiste of Indian national radio and television. He can be heard on numerous recordings featuring as soloist, accompanying many of India's greatest musicians and in collaboration with western musicians of outstanding caliber. In concert Samir has accompanied many of India's greatest musicians including Pt. Ravi Shankar, Ud. Vilayat Khan, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, Pt. Jasraj, Pt. Nikhil Banerjee, Pt. V.G. Jog, Pt . Shivkumar Sharma, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, M. S. Gopalakrishnan, Ud. Amjad Ali Khan, Ud. Salamat Ali Khan, Smt. Lakshmi Shankar, Ud. Aashis Khan, Dr. L. Subramanium, Ud. Shujat Khan, Pt. Ajoy Chakraborty, Ud. Rashid Khan, Pt. Tejendra N. Mazumdar, Pt. Debashish Bhattacharya, to name only a few.
Samir Chatterjee lives in the New York-New Jersey area, and has been a catalyst in the fusion of Indian and Non-Indian music, in his own creations and others as well. He performs with Pauline Oliveros, William Parker, Branford Marsalis, Ravi Coltrane, Dave Douglas, Steve Gorn, Glen Velez, Boby Sanabria, Ben Verdery, Dance Theater of Harlem, Boston Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Ethos Percussion group, Da Capo Chamber Orchestra, Boston Musica Viva and other jazz, classical and avant guard musicians and ensembles. He is member of jazz trio SYNC with Ned Rothenberg and Jerome Harris and quintet Inner Diaspora together with Mark Feldman and Eric Friedlander. He also collaborates with Sufi-Rock singer Salman Ahmad of Junoon from Pakistan. He is also the composer and director of Indo-Flame and Nacho Nacho - both blends of Indian and Flamenco dance and music, Chhand-Anand - a world percussion ensemble and Dawn to Dusk and Beyond – on the effect of music on humans and nature. He performs with Sanjay Mishra on his CD "Blue Incantation" featuring Jerry Garcia as guest artist.
Samir Chatterjee has been teaching for the last 35 years and many of his students are established performers. He is the Founder-Director of CHHANDAYAN, an organization dedicated to promoting and preserving Indian music and culture. He has authored a comprehensive 654-page book entitled ‘A Study of Tabla’ and a guide book to Indian music titled ‘Music of India’. He is on the faculty at Yale University, Manhattan School of Music, University of Pittsburgh, New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and University of Bridgeport in CT. He also contributes to several newspapers and periodicals. He won gold medal for his proficiency in a musical examination and has two master degrees, in English and History.

Since June, 2008 Samir has been working relentlessly towards the musical revival of Afghanistan. He has made several trips to the country working with different levels of the society and administration and within a very short period of time he has been able to make a remarkable difference in the cultural life of the country.

Kedar Naphade

Born on January 10, 1972, Kedar Naphade received preliminary training in Hindustani Classical Music from his grandfather, Shri Dadasaheb Naphade and from Shri Arvind Gajendragadkar.

Since he was 10 years of age, Kedar has had the great good fortune of training under the loving and expert guidance of Pt. Tulsidas Borkar, one of the topmost harmonium players in India today. Under his nurturing guidance, Kedar has imbibed the unique style of solo harmonium performance developed by Pt. Borkarji’s guru, Madhukar Pednekar or P. Madhukar.  P. Madhukar was a genius with tremendous mastery over the instrument that is to date unsurpassed. His glorious tradition, which utilizes the strengths of the harmonium to the extreme, is presented to the connoisseur today by his stalwart disciples like Pt. Tulsidas Borkar and Pt. Anant Kemkar and the next generation of disciples consisting of Sudhir Nayak, Seema Mestri-Shirodkar, Kedar Naphade and others.   

Kedar has also had the privilege of training under Smt. Padmavati Shaligram-Gokhale, a veteran singer of the Atrauli-Jaipur gharana. She played a pivotal role in his musical development and sowed in him the seed that developed into a passionate love for the vocal art form. As such, Kedar’s music derives inspiration from the stylistic genius and dexterous wizardry of P. Madhukar as well as the character of the traditional Hindustani vocal art form, especially of the Gwalior  and Jaipur gharanas. In addition to classical music, Kedar also plays the semi-classical forms of Marathi Natyasangeet (Stage Music), Bhajans, Thumri, Dhun etc.

Kedar has performed harmonium solo and has accompanied vocalists at numerous concerts in India, Europe and in the U.S. including prestigious festivals and venues such as the Alladiya Khan Smruti Samaroha, Dadar Matunga Cultural Center, Lincoln Center, Symphony Space etc. He has accompanied artists of high caliber such as his guru Smt. Padmavati Shaligram-Gokhale, Pt. Phiroz Dastur, Pt. Jasraj, Smt. Veena Sahasrabuddhe, Pt. Ulhas Kashalkar, Smt. Laxmi Shankar and others. Kedar continues to train from Pt. Tulsidas Borkar and maintains an active concert schedule in the U.S.

Later Event: April 14
Vocal Concert - Samarth Nagarkar