This is a very special recording. Maestro Chaudhuri performs raga Kedara. This evening mode is a specialty of the Senia Gharana, the school of music linked to Miya Tansen, Emperor Akbar’s court musician in the 16th century. Maestro Chaudhuri draws out the deep plaintive elements of the raga. The introductory alap, solo slow passage, is marked by serenity and an understanding of the contours of the raga. Not a single note is wasted. The two gat compositions, that’s when the tabla joins in are equally brilliant with the speedier gat marked by fast and clear runs in a virtuoso display of the maestro’s command of his instrument. Kedara is followed by a marvelously evocative and haunting rendition of raga Piloo. Shyamal Bose of the Farakkabad gharana of tabla, provides excellent and spirited accompaniment.
Winner of the Padma Bhushan, one of India’s most prestigious awards, Pandit Debu Chaudhuri, was a legendary figure in Indian classical music. He was born in 1935 in what is now Bangladesh. He took up sitar at an early age. He was a disciple of the great sitar maestro, Ustad Mushtaq Ali Khan of the Senia Gharana, the traditional school of Indian classical music named after Tansen, the father of Indian music. Debuji’s playing was noted for its sweetness and sensitivity. He was the long-time Dean of Fine Arts and Head of the Department of Music at Delhi University. He was the beloved guru of AR’s David Barsamian. Debuji and his son Prateek, also a noted sitar virtuoso, both passed away in New Delhi during the Covid-19 pandemic in May 2021.