The legend lives on
Shounak Abhisheki, the son and disciple of the legendary maestro, Pt Jitendra Abhisheki keeps his father’s legacy and memories alive by organising the Pt Jitendra Abhisheki Sangeet Mahotsav every year. Café finds out more about the festival and the person behind it
Last weekend, the 2017 edition of the annual Pt. Jitendra Abhisheki Sangeet Mahotsav was held at Kala Academy, and the festival, in a way kick started the string of cultural activities that will keep the calendar busy and ticking for the remainder of the year, post the lull of inactivity in the monsoon months. The festival, held in collaboration with Tarangini Saunskrutik Pratisthan, enthralled Hindustani classical music lovers from the state on September 9 and 10. Akin to every year, the festival held in commemoration of the legendary vocalist Late Pt Jitendra Abhisheki, saw renowned artistes from across the country share the stage with Goan artistes, to perform in front of a Goan audience. The artiste roster included the likes of Mohan Darekar, Ustad Usman Khan, Arati Ankalikar Tikekar, Anuja Zokarkar, Sanjay Garud, Vidya Deshpande, Abhijeet Pohankar, Manjiri Asnare Kelkar, Vijay Ghate, the legendary Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, and Goan artistes such as Shilpa Duble and Sonik Velingkar. Needless to say, the performance by flute maestro Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia was one of the major highlights of the festival. In what may be recognised as a commendable effort, Shounak Abhisheki, the son and disciple of Pt Jitendra Abhisheki is the key person behind organising the two-day annual festival as a tribute to his father, year after year without a dip in the seriousness or the overall quality of the festival. While speaking to Café in the past, Shounak had said, “This festival is organised from a non-commercial perspective and is organised in eight different cities in India, all year round. But doing it in Goa is special for me, and I feel privileged. The bigger objective behind having this festival is to spread awareness about classical music, and give a platform for young artists to perform. The festival is a healthy mix of veteran and young artists, including Goans. I want these talented Goan artists to go outside Goa and show their talent to the world and make a name for themselves.” For those unfamiliar with the Pt Jitendra Abhisheki sangeet mahotsav, this year too, the organisers continued the tradition of keeping the schedule under the wraps intentionally. The reason for this, according to Shounak, is that “Audiences have the tendency to hunt for known names in the schedule and attend only those performances. We do not want that. We want the audiences to come and listen to the talented young artistes too, and support them.” That the Abhisheki family has roots from Mangeshi is a well-known fact and Shounak recollects spending his vacations at their ancestral home there during his childhood. While speaking to Café in the past, Shounak had said, “Memories of performing the puja in the temples and hanging out with local friends and cousins, are still afresh. My father moved to Mumbai to follow classical music, and then we settled in Mumbai. But I have perhaps sung in every major classical music festival in Goa; not only that but, in nearly all the temples across Goa. We are blessed, encouraged and loved in Goa, not only because we are Goans, but because of my father’s popular compositions.”
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