The auditorium at Sanatan Dharma Temple in Norwalk, Calif., May 19 was the venue for the annual signature concert organized by Cerritos Music Circle.
The program commenced with a guru vandana, offered by the students of Cerritos Music Circle. This was followed by a veena recital by Suman Laha, music director of CMC. He was accompanied on the tabla by Pandit Samir Chatterjee. Their performance of Raga Multani in the traditional style of alap was followed by jod and jhala in the Dhrupad style. It was succeeded by vilambit, building up to Drut gat, and followed by a rousing sawaal-jawaab and jhala.
CMC is a non-profit organization that provides classes in Indian classical music, both vocal and instrumental.
“Sumanji’s performance today demonstrates the depth of perfection of his art,” said Pinakin Pathak, president of CMC. ‘I am so pleased that, thanks to Sumanji, CMC has been promoting and teaching Indian classical music to students in the Los Angeles area. The students perform in student concerts and several other community concerts.”
After a short break, the audience reassembled for the performance of Banaras gharana virtuosos Pandit Rajan and Sajan Misra, who are on a world tour of their meditative series, “Bhairav Se Bhairavi Tak.”
The duo was accompanied on tabla by Shantilal Shah and on the harmonium by Sumit Mishra. Their renditions included Raga Bihagra, followed by Raga Hamir.
The delighted audience kept asking for more, and the singers duly acceded, performing thumri and bhajans.
The artists were felicitated with plaques, shawls and flower bouquets by B.U. Patel, Uka Solanki and Pathak.
“This annual concert is an example of the outstanding caliber of classical music that is available in the Greater Los Angeles area today,” said Laha. “It has taken many patient years of nurturing the audience through offering regular performances. I believe we are at a point of take-off.”
Pathak added: “We at CMC have ambitions to progress from our present status as an organization promoting Indian classical music in the Los Angeles area through classes and performances to having our own cultural center with its own auditorium and teaching facilities at a convenient location in the area.”
Pathak stated that he was very pleased to announce a website ‘Institute of Indian Culture’ (iicla.org) for connecting worldwide organizations with Indian artists who foster and strengthen Indian culture relationships via classical music and traditional classical dances.
“Together we create Indian cultural harmony. Artists who promote Indian culture are welcome to join free of charge. We are very pleased and thankful to Pandit Rajan and Pandit Sajan Misra for blessing us with divine performance and accepting the invitation for IICLA advisory board members,” he said.