Pune: The Sawai Gandharva Mahotsav, started by late Bharat Ratna Pt Bhimsen Joshi in the memory of his guru late Pt Sawai Gandharva, would now onwards be called as 'Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav'.
The festival, starting from December 7, would be a tribute to Panditji who passed away on January 24 this year. It is for the first time that the organisers, Arya Sangeet Prasarak Mandal, will be holding the fest for five days instead of four. This is the 59th year of the festival.
This was announced by Arya Sangeet Prasarak Mandal executive president, Shrinivas Joshi. Tribute will also be paid to vocalists Shrikant Deshpande and Madhav Gudi, who too passed away this year.
Over 26 artistes from the world of Indian classical music will present their art. The first day (December 7) of the festival will have performances of Tukaram Daithankar (shehnai), Sanjay Garud (vocal), Pt Satish Vyas (santoor), Pandita Ashwini Bhide Deshpande (vocal) and Pt Ajay Pohankar (vocal).
Second day (December 8) will start with the performance of Mahesh Kale (vocal) followed by Shaila Datar (vocal). Pt Ronu Majumdar (flute) and Kadri Gopalnath (saxophone) performing Hindustani and Carnatic together is one of the important highlights of the Sawai fest this year.
At the end of the day, connoisseurs of music will get to hear veteran vocalist Dr Balmuralikrishna. He was a close friend of Panditji and will be performing at Sawai after a long gap. The third day (December 9) will showcase artistes like Kumar Mardur (vocal), Kartik Seshadri (sitar), Shankar Mahadevan (Carnatic classical) and Pt Jasraj (vocal).
The day 4 (December 10) would present artistes like Yojana Shivanand (vocal), Shrinivas Joshi (vocal) and Pandita Malini Rajurkar (vocal).
The day would then have unique dance performances by the organisation Nritya Niketan (Udipi) in Bharatnatyam style and the special Sakar-Nirakar Kathak performance by Shama Bhate's Nadroop, who will pay a tribute to Panditji. It will end with the performance of sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan.
The final day will feature Omkar Dadarkar (vocal), Padma Deshpande (vocal), Nagaraj Rao Hawaldar (vocal), Smt N Rajam (violin) with her daughter Sangeeta Shankar and two granddaughters followed by Pt Venkatesh Kumar (vocal).
As per the tradition, the fest will conclude with the performance of veteran vocalist from the Kirana Gharana Prabha Atre. Programme timings of all days would be between 4 pm and10 pm except the first and fourth day, when it will start at 3:30pm.