Mesmerizing Nadaswaram Recital by Shri. Sheik Mahaboob Subhani and Smt. Kaleeshabi Mahaboob

The Skanda Shasti Music Festival at the Shri Subha Siddhi Vinayaka mandhir came to a very happy conclusion with a scintillating and mesmerizing Nadaswaram recital by Shri. Sheik Mahaboob Subhani and Smt. Kaleeshabi Mahaboob on the 05th of Nov.08.

In India the nadaswaram is considered to be very auspicious, and it is the key instrument which is played in almost all Hindu marriages and temples in South India. The instrument is usually played in pairs, and accompanied by a pair of drums called thavil. "Mangala Vadya" i.e. "mangala" means auspicious, vadya – instrument. Now over the past two decades this nadaswaram has evolved to the concert level and become a welcome instrumental concert to be looked forward to.

The Mahaboob Couple left no doubt on this aspect right from the start. The concert started off with a brisk varnam in raga Darbar setting the tempo. The sweet melody flowing in unison from the twin instruments drew a massive response and kept the audience spell bound. There on followed the traditional invocation to the reigning deity Lord Vinayaka with ‘Vathapi ganapathim’ in raga hamsadwani, the thematic invocation to lord Saravana Guha in rag ‘Kannada’. A relaxed delineation of raga Riti Gowla was very lilting and touching and the kriti ‘Raga rathna mallika’ was well received.

The Shubanis are a happily married couple and now team up in perfect harmony in their concerts. Nadaswaram being a very demanding instrument calling for constant tough lung power it’s quite an amazement how Lady Kaleeshabi Mahaboob handles this instrument with perfect ease and nonchalance. Oh God, hats off to today’s Women emancipation!! Any way it’s meant to be a compliment of high order with awe and wonder and used for loss of words for apt description.

These artists belong to a family of musicians. Sheik Mahabbob Subhanis hail from the Prakasm District of Andhra Pradesh. His grand parents were also famous Nadaswara Vidhwans. His father is late Kothapalli Sheik Meera Sahib and his maternal grandfather is late Nadhabrahma, Nadaswara Ganakala Prapoorna Janab Sheik Chinna Peer Sahib It is said that seven generations ago their forefathers were blessed with ‘Bijakshara’ on their tongue by a local deity ‘Munimandhamma’ at mid night. Thereafter seven successive generations carried on the legacy of Nadaswaram playing with devotion. Sheik Mahaboob Subhani belongs to the 8th generation.

Similarly, Smt. Kaleeshabi Mahaboob also hail from a musically endowed family from Chekurapadu, Praksasm District, Andhra Pradesh and learnt from her uncle Sheik John Sahib. Her father and uncle were renowned Nadaswara vidhwans.

At the age of seven, Sheik Mahaboob Subhani attained profieciency in Nadaswaram under the tutelage of his father Sheik Meera Sahib while Smt. Kaleeshabi learnt the same from her paternal uncle Sheik John Sahib. Later, both received training under Sheik John Sahib. They also received vocal training for five years under Shri K. Chandramouli. Further, with a view to getting acquainted with the celebrated Thanjavur Bani, they have undergone training under Nadaswara Gana Kala Prapoorna Padmasri Late Dr. Sheik Chinna Moulana Sahib.

This wonderful nadaswaram couple carried on with a sparkling rendering of raga Kamoji with the kriti ‘O Rangasai’ and meandered through exquisite raga alapana, then on to the kriti culminating with a crisp Tani avarthanam on the thavil, wherein the Thavil vidwans showed their expertise with excellence.

Well all good things are necessarily to wind up, and like a cruising aircraft makes preparations for its happy landing at destination, the artists enthralled the audience with some short lighters pieces like ‘jagadodarana’ in rag Kapi and Tirupugal selections in raga Hamsanandi.

Some elite discerning members of the audience like Shri Kalaimamani Prem Kumar commended the good mike and sound system which added value to the enjoyment of the concert.

Shri. S. Jayaraman – Member- CERC who was the Chief Guest felicitated the artists. He also complimented the music society ‘Issai Kudumbam’ ( issaikudumbam@gmail.com) who in cooperation with the Subha Sidhivinayaka mandhir Society have been doing a good job in the promotion and sustaining of carnatic classical music in Delhi. He also mentioned the importance of the audience interactive participation.

The two artists have toured extensively all over India and have performed in most of the Sabhas. They have given innumerable number of performances in Abudhabi, Dubai, Sri Lanka, Canada, UK, USA, France and Japan. They have also represented India in the Festival of India abroad in Belgium sponsored by ICCR. They have been conferred with ‘Kalaimamani’ award by the Govt. of Tamil Nadu.

On the advice of the (former) Hon’ble President Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, they have been giving musical concerts, free of cost for the mentally challenged children as medical therapy. In an attempt to popularize this art form they are training students in Nadaswaram. May their tribe increase!

Incidentally, some members of the audience were heard to talk with excitement that, true to its time honored tradition, With Nadaswaram Renderings – Good and Happy Things Happen and that at this time something good is happening the USA – a major global event – Barack Obama – wins the Presidential election which augurs the blossoming of good happy bonding in our relationship between India & USA. Mubarak Ho. (Mubarak means Happy Cheers in the local language here).

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