Mother-daughter duo weave magic
One is a symbol of experienced maturity while the other portrays youthful exuberance. And when these two join hands together, the result is bound to captivate anyone in the immediate vicinity. And so it happened when pioneer Assamese violinist Minoti Khaund and daughter Sunita Khaund took the stage at Rabindra Bhavan recently in a show held to pay tribute to Minoti Khaund as she completes 50 years of her tryst with the violin.
Minoti, a disciple of Late Pandit V.G. jog has been the foremost violinist of Assam for the last five decades. Her story has been a single-minded pursuit of music despite being thoroughly entrenched in traditional family life. A gold medallist from Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad with a Master’s degree in Music, Minoti has been playing the violin in prestigious concerts and festivals in India and abroad. Minoti went through a traditional ‘guru-sishya parampara’ with Pandit Jog and has carried on the tradition by grooming her daughter into a fine fiddler, who absorbed the finer nuances of the violin literally at her mother’s knee. Sunita, on the other hand, is a recipient of the Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini Award for excellence in music, besides a Masters’ degree in music. She likes to experiment with light classical and folk fusion to reach out to a diverse spectrum of audiences.
The show began with ‘Guru-e-Namah’ by Minoti’s disciples, who had gathered at Rabindra Bhavan to offer her the customary guru-dakshina. Pranati Khaund then kicked off the musical proceedings with a ‘Devi Bhajan’. She was accompanied by Dibyajyoti Changmai on the Tabla, Nitul Bhagabati and Pankaj Sarma with the guitar. The Bhajan was followed by a violin recital of Swar Sadhana by Minoti’s younger disciples.
Anjumala and Sanjana Phukan then put the evening’s proceedings in fourth gear by a beautiful rendition of ‘Shyam tumi nokoriba hridoy horon’. They, along with Mitra Phukan, gave the audience a glimpse of what to expect later in the evening, with their beautiful performances. A popular writer and a very professional vocalist, Mitra Phukan gave a perfect rendition of Raag Khamaj, based on the Dadra taal, along with the Assamese Raag Pradhan. Known more for her prolific writings, Phukan showed the audience that she excels in music, as well as she does with her writings.
The highlight of the evening, however, was a jugalbandi by the mother and daughter duo of Minoti and Sunita Khaund. It was sheer pleasure watching both of them on stage, complimenting each other and at the same time, keeping the audience spellbound. The duo performed the Raag-e-Bandish based on the Rupak taal. What brought the audience to its feet, however, was their performance of ‘Bharat Darshan’. Bharat Darshan was composed by their guru Pt. V.G. Jog on the 40th anniversary of the country’s independence; it is special for it assimilates all the regional and folk tunes of the country. Minoti and Sunita played with special emphasis on our very own Bihu that evening which brought rounds of applause from the audience. They were accompanied by tablist, Dibyajyoti Changmai who added to the mesmerising effect with his playing and on-stage presence.
Minoti and Sunita Khaund have carved a niche for themselves in the field of classical music in India. The duo’s performance was notable for their performing with uninhibited mannerisms and utmost truthfulness. The recital was marked for the total involvement of their musical insight and the profound handling of their instruments. However, I got the impression that the whole show was more of a family affair than a classical music show which calls for a certain degree of sobriety and decorum. And as I said before as well, Minoti Khaund is a frontrunner of the violin in Assam and her daughter too, is an accomplished musician. As such, it is very sad to note that none of these pioneering violinists have tried and experimented with our rich regional musical heritage, something which would have put them in an entirely different league altogether.
All in all, a great show which showed that the state has quite a few talented upcoming musicians. Special mention must be made of Mitra Phukan and Dibyojyoti Changmai who added life to the evening. Minoti Khaund has ensured that her legacy is left in safe hands in the state.