Review of the World Music Unleashed -2012 – Annual Event of School of Indian Percussion and Music (SIPM)
by Sur Sadhak
The School of Indian Percussion and Music (SIPM) in Austin held its second annual function, World
Music Unleashed, on Nov. 17 at the Northwest Hills Church. The gala program which was supported
by a grant from the City of Austin, featured internationally renowned artists Indrajit Banerjee on the
Sitar, Gourisankar on the Tabla, Snehashish Mazumdar on the Mandolin, Paul Klemperer on the
Saxophone and Somnath on the Ghatam and drew a record audience of almost 200 attendees.
The first half of the program was a long piece in Raag Madhuvanti, an evening melody appropriate to
the time around sunset. After an introduction consisting of an exquisite and traditional Alaap, Jor and
Jhala the artists began elaborating a composition in slow tempo in 16 beats (Teentaal). The sum
on Tivra MA was designed to be haunting and had the desired effect. The sounds of the soulful Sitar
captivated the audience with its subtle Meends (glissandos). Maestro Gourisankar interspersed the
melody with brilliant Tabla solos that drew repeated applause.
The faster composition was exciting and here Snehashish showed his virtuosity and speed. There were
frequent rhythmic exchanges between Tabla and Ghatam which were perfectly executed and Sitar and
Mandolin also dialogued with brilliant riffs.
The second piece was a popular Bhajan (chant) in Raag Khamaj which the audience readily recognized
and thus enjoyed. It also included flashes of brilliant improvisation by all the artists.
The second half of the program featured shorter compositions by Indrajit, Paul and Snehashish in
Raagas Megh, Kirwani and Charukeshi respectively. The beautiful compositions allowed for plenty of
improvisation and virtuosity and rhythmic interplay and Charukeshi in particular ended in a crescendo
Maestro Gourisankar and SIPM are to be congratulated for their contribution to the cultural life
of Austin. Indeed Gourisankar’s and Indrajit’s presence in Austin has elevated it to the status of cities
like San Francisco and LA as far as Indian Classical Music goes. It is hoped that they and SIPM will
continue to thrive and receive the patronage and support they deserve.