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Auckland singers shine bright at Shukra Tara

The Indian Weekender, April 4, 2019


Last Sunday’s Shukra Tara concert has been described by many in the audience as one of the more memorable musical events in recent times.


In memory of one of the great composers of yesteryear, Padmabhushan Srinvas Khale, Shukra Tara was named after one of his most well known compositions.


Singers, musicians and organisers of Shikra Tara pose for an end-of-concert picture. Shukra Tara was jointly hosted by music school Swar Sadhana Academy and Mohan Nadkarni Foundation

Auckland’s very own vocal and instrumental talent put in months of practice to perfect the maestro’s complex compositions that were made famous by legends like Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and Suman Kalyanpur, to name a few.


The musicians prepared under the able guidance and direction of respected Auckland-based singer and music educator Sandhya Rao of Swar Sadhana Academy.


Swar Sadhana Academy and Mohan Nadkarni Foundation hosted the event, which was free to attend.


Despite the postponement following the events in Christchurch and a change in venue, music lovers thronged the new venue filling it to capacity, with many squatting on the floor, having run out of chairs.


Every singer excelled, inviting lusty applause after every number, with about half a dozen requests for encores, which were graciously accepted and delivered to even more applause.


Though many singers were familiar with many of the popular songs, some were new to them because of their diverse backgrounds. Presenting the Marathi numbers were singers not necessarily familiar with the language owing to their origins from other parts of India.


The venue was chock-a-block with many listeners squatting on the floor.

But their dedication was so complete that under the expert guidance of Sandhya Rao, their pronunciation and intonation was perfect, whether they hailed from Punjab, Gujarat or Tamil Nadu. Remarking on some of Khaleji’s compositions, ace keyboard musician Hemant Thaker said they were uniquely complex yet extremely elegant.


Presenting Khaleji’s delightfully complex and equally memorable compositions were Auckland’s own talented singers and instrumentalists: Arun Khotkar, Hemant Shirsat, Pramod Niphadkar, Vidya Teke, Guncha Singh, Mayuri Bhole, Srishaa Iyer, Siddhi Nigudkar, Ekta Kumar, Maitreyee Pande, Prajakta Pande, Shikha Shetia, Nivedita Giridharan and Sandhya Rao. Dr Nilima Upadhyay and Kaustubh Pethe compered the show with great finesse.

The Shukra Tara concert has been hailed as a major success with dozens of laudatory comments on the event’s social media pages.

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