The chatter inside the hall room of Satori Academy of Fine Arts, in Banani, suddenly came to a stop as the soothing melody of the sarangi took over. After one cycle on the sarangi, Zakir Hosen stepped in behind the tabla.
The hall was relatively full when the music began, but more and more people joined in as the evening continued. There were people of all ages, united under one roof for the love of classical music.
Organised by Satori Meditations, the evening contained performances on the tabla, sarangi, flute, sitar, violin and sarod, all of which kept the audience captivated.
The sarangi echoed in every corner of the hall and the tabla's changing beat fluttered the heart. The crowd erupted in the first applause of the evening 15 minutes into the performance. The tempo on the tabla kept going up, Zakir's fingers were flying as sweat poured down his face from the tremendous focus and energy. The venue began to feel like a Mughal Jalsaghar and the Jalsa had just begun.
Up next was Satyajit Chakraborty on the sitar. He began his recital with raga Darbari.
"Since it's a meditation centre, if you listen to my music as meditation, I'd be grateful," Satyajit said, while playing. The build up was slow, but that is the nature of Hindustani classical music. It needs its own space to grow. The sitar was later accompanied by the tabla as the music intensified.
"Utchangya Sangeet cannot reach its height anymore because of the lack of patronage," added Satyajit.
"This feels like music from Satyajit Ray's montage shots," said an audience member.
Raga Kafi enthralled audiences with the sitar next, followed by Shyamal Chakrabortty and his violin. The violin was playing low, like it was being heard from a cave in the heart.
The violin is better recognised as a Western classical instrument, but the Indian classical style gave it a different purpose. Accompanied by the tabla, the music had a distinct sound, almost as if the instrument was crying.
"This is heartful music. The audience is in a trance!" said actor Anondo Khaled.
The second performance on the violin was a well known bhajan – 'Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram', which had the audience spellbound.
The bamboo flute speaks more about our culture than we can speak with our words. Murtaza Kabir Murad was the flautist for the evening and began his recital with raga Chandrakauns.
The low notes from the flute felt like it almost had a physical presence. The music made the strings of the heart go wild with both joy and sorrow. At one point, both the flautist and tabla artist mirrored each other on their own instruments, and it was an experience unlike any other!
Murtaza presented raga Pahari on the flute next; a happy tune which pulled the audience up from almost drowning in melancholy from the previous performance.
The Sanyal father-son duo took the stage next. Sanjibon Sanyal sat down with a zither (a lap harp). His father and teacher, Sapan Sanyal, sat next to him with a harmonium.
"Indian classical music cannot be rushed. We have to wait patiently for our turn so that every performer can give their best," said Sanjibon and began performing, which went on for 25 minutes.
Sanjibon's vocal range was magnificent! The high, low and sustained notes were deeply admired by all. Eventually his vocal notes were mimicked on the tabla and it felt absolutely unreal.
The night concluded after the performance of another 'guru-shishya' duo – a sarod jugalbandi (fusion) by Guru Shamim Zahir and Manzur Al Matin.
The best act was definitely saved for last. Manzur al Matin is also a news presenter and an advocate. His penchant for finesse was both audible and visible from the way he infused his playing with his master's playing.
The raga Darbari was reiterated on the sarod and the fusion was all the extremely patient crowd needed to to call it a night, a beautiful night.