ANINDITA ACHARYA, Kolkata: We are already enjoying his twin ‘Out of the Box‘ percussion performances on Facebook, and on 50 years of Earth Day, tabla maestro Bickram Ghosh paid his tribute to Pandit Ravi Shankar by composing a piece based on his Guruji’s 50 matra taal. The musical rendition is based on raga Bhairavi.
“My tribute to my Guruji Pt. Ravi Shankar on the occasion of #EarthDay- a composition based on his 50 matra taal celebrating 50 years of #EarthDay – a uniquely complex inter-play of beats that I set to notes based on raga Bhairavi. Hint: follow the bell to identify the sum or the first beat of the cycle . I’ve played the theka in the beginning -3+4+5+6+7=25+7+6+5+4+3=25 Total=50,” world renowned percussionist posted on Facebook.
On April 7, i.e. Pandit Ravi Shankar’s 100 birth anniversary, Ghosh was supposed to be performing in Royal Festival Hall, London. However, much before that the major countries of the world went into lockdown due to coronavirus. On that day, Anoushka Shankar along with Ghosh and several others played the Sandhya raga from their respective houses in memory of Pt Ravi Shankar. “I did my 50 matra tabla solo based on Guruji’s 50 matra taal, which his wife, Sukanya Shankarji, had asked me to do. Having seen that the organizers of Earth Day approached me. Also, the ‘Out of the Box’ videos are going viral and they said if I could do the 50 matra taal rendition but as a full blown musical composition. So, I composed this piece as a 50 matra taal on raga Bhairavi,” he says.
In fact, Ghosh’s wife-danseuse Jaya Seal, has turned into his cinematographer during this lockdown period. And the Ghosh family uses three iphones to shoot the videos. While one is a static camera, Jaya uses a moving camera and the other is used to record the audio.
Ghosh, who will be composing the music for Arindam Sil’s Bengali film Mahananda, based on the life of Mahashweta Devi, says the lockdown has made one quite tech savvy. And the Ghosh household is busy creating songs, ad films and theme music during the quarantine. So, no, the tabla wizard is not getting bored, however, he is missing the open spaces and the fresh air. But on the creative front, there’s a lot on his plate.
The tabla virtuoso believes that life has changed after COVID-19. And till the vaccine arrives, we will have to accept that social distancing is here to stay. Also, we will have to find more and more ways to become creative under the lockdown as professions must continue. Of course, there’s a good thing about lockdown too. “There’s so little pollution… today when I stand on the balcony, I notice so many different varieties of birds I haven’t seen before. But there’s the huge looming fear of COVID-19 too. We will have to rethink how we treat Mother Earth and our relationship with this planet. We just cannot take things from the planet and not give it back,” he says.