I last spoke to Ramashreya Jha “Ramrang” on Dec 28, 2008, when I called him from California. He was on his hospital bed in Kolkota, bracing for cardiac surgery scheduled a few hours later. He did not come out of it alive, and passed away on the morning of Jan 1, 2009, India time. Fittingly, our final conversation was mostly about music.
I got to know Ramrang in the last 12 years of his life and we quickly forged an intensely close bond. It was from him that I learnt the true meaning of raga, its structure, its aesthetic, and its place in musical experience (raganubhava).
So many memories flood the mind and by and by I may post some of these recollections. Ramrang‘s first-ever airplane ride was in 1999 when I invited him to Goa. I remember well how his face lit up as he stepped off the plane, and his animated account of what it felt like, told in his musical Bihari speech.
Attached below are video excerpts of Ramrang‘s recital given at Kala Academy in Panjim (Goa) on Aug 4, 2007. Harmonium support is provided by Sudhakar Karandikar and on the tabla is Tulsidas Navelkar.
Note: The videographer hired for the event inadvertently drove his audio into saturation rendering the sound quite unbearable. (I ran it through a low pass filter but it didn’t help.) Fortunately, I had a separate audio channel going and so the entire recital (audio-only) has been properly archived.
The video cuts are archived on YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/parrikar
For a better audio experience of these excerpts, go here.