Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 54, Tuesday February 10, 2009




Evening with the Samrat

It was a momentous night for classical music enthusiasts as Anup Jalota, known as the Bhajan Samrat (Emperor of Bhajans), was in concert at the Dhaka Club on Thursday, February 5. The concert was held at the tennis court of the club from 8 pm till late at night.

On a beautifully decorated stage with a prop of an old fashioned Indian house as a backdrop, the Emperor of Bhajans performed famous numbers. The crowd, with a steady stream coming in during the show to make a full house, were rapt in attention and awe of the famous singer.

Jalota, who mesmerized the audience with his virtuoso vocals while singing from his wide collection of Ghazal and Bhajan songs, also provided entertainment by relating amusing anecdotes in the middle of songs, in keeping with the tradition of Bhajans. Backed by santoor, rhythm guitar and tabla, the evening with Jalota had an enchanting, rhythmic not to it. Additional attractions of the evening were Chanchal Bhatcharja and Shanga Mitra, who sang some songs in between Jalota's performances.

Most people in the crowd bore expressions of familiarity with the songs being performed, and was thoroughly engaged with Jalota, laughing at his funny stories, and tapping their feet to the rhythm.

“It is not just another concert for us, it is an opportunity to see a legend in person,” said a delighted audience member. “Ghazals and Bhajans are not popular among youngsters these days, but we grew up knowing that they require exceptional vocal talent, which you can see in Anup Jalota. Also, the music is very catchy and fun,” she said.

Born and educated in Lucknow, Bhajan runs in Jalota's blood as his father was also a renowned exponent of the Bhajan. By 1989, he had 58 gold and platinum certified albums. In all, the evening had a flavour of old world charm that sat pretty well with the audience members.




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