Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Memories of the Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan of the early Fifties

Dear Friends,

During our visit to Washington DC, I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Prasad, a renowned

research scientist on cancer and genetics. Dr Prasad hails from Nurmahal, a small town

near Jalandhar and had migrated to USA in the late sixties. The memories of Harballabh

Sangeet Sammelan were still very fresh in his mind.

During our conversation, with the mention that I belong to Jalandhar, came a straight

question, "Do they still hold Harballabh in Jalandhar?"

"Yes of course! We celebrated the 132nd Sangeet Sammelan last year", I replied.

And there started a trail of his fond memories about Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan. He is

the privileged one who has had the opportunity to hear great maestros like Pt. Vishnu

Digambar Puluskar, Pt. D.V. Puluskar, Pt. Vinayak Rao Patwardhan, Pt. Omkar Nath

Thakur, and other veterans of the era perform on the Harballabh stage during the years

upto 1954.

He recalled that the audience used to sit on the stairs of Devi Talab and hear the artists

with pin drop silence. There used to be no microphones or sound systems in those days

but there was so much power in the notes that the audience could hear the artists with

ease. Each artist used to perform for about three hours.

I asked him about the memorable performances he had heard.

"Although each artist with his own and unique style used to mesmerize the audience, yet

there were two things we used to wait for - one the "Taal Tarang" - a performance where

the tabla player used to play Raags using seven tablas each tuned to play one of the

seven swars of the sargam and the second was the "Aarti" composed in classical style by

Pt. Vinayak Rao Patwardhan that he used to sing as a concluding part of his

performance", he replied.

I asked Dr. Prasad about his interest in classical music, how and since when he

developed a liking for classical music.

"Right from school days, I was inclined towards classical music and used to go to

Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan with my father. I used to play violin till the time I got so

engrossed in my research work that I did not get time to pursue my hobby; but I still miss

it", was his reply.

He acceded to my request to sing a stanza of the Aarti, which is still ringing in my ears. (I

wish you would also have been there my friend to hear that).

Before I took leave from Dr. Prasad, I extended an invitation for the forthcoming

Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan, and thanked him for sharing his memories with me.

Rakesh Dada
Shree Baba Harballabh Sangeet Mahasabha

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

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Sunday, June 22, 2008



"Shree Baba Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan" is the oldest festival of Indian Classical Music in the world. The sangeet sammelan is held annually on the last weekend of every year. This festival has been going on for the last 132 years without a break.

All well known music maestros of Hindustani Classical music have performed at this sacred seat at one time or the other.

We are proud that this festival has patronized the upcoming artists and has provided their careers in classical music - a launching pad.

In addition to the annual Sammelan, three more mini festivals namely - "Vasant Utsav", "Malhar Utsav" and "Hemant Utsav" are held every year in the months of February, July and October respectively.

Shree Baba Harballabh Sangeet Music and Research Academy is taking shape and should start functioning in the future.

Music enthusiasts can become life members of Shree Baba Harballabh Sangeet Mahasabha by paying a one time subscription of Rs. 10,000.

A Music competition is organized every year prior to the annual festival in the age groups of 13 to 19 yrs. and 19+ to 25 yrs. in 3 categories - Vocal, Non-percussion and Percussion.

Check our website for lots more information.

Stay tuned to this blog for updates on events.