Source: standard.co.uk; Author: Jane Cornwell; Photo Courtesy: Marvin Joseph

Two pioneering female Indian musicians, Anupama Bhagwat and the great Sudha Ragunathan, performed in this stunning double bill, the centerpiece of the weekend’s Darbar Festival. Sitar maestro Anupama Bhagwat turned in a stunning UK debut with a gorgeous set of ragas; microtones were explored and notes bent with closed eyes and shakes of the sitar’s fretted neck, drawing appreciation from the crowd. Then there was the great Sudha Ragunathan, the most eminent Carnatic singer working today. Sitting cross-legged in the middle of musicians on violin, percussion and tambura drone, Ragunathan began by quoting Plato — “Music gives a soul to the universe” —  then went on to sing devotional odes in a voice that did, indeed, feel heaven-sent.

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