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Hariharan performs at the Surtaal 2 concert in Dubai on 20th March, 2022. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

It is said that classical music often faces an uphill battle in these present times where the pomp and pageantry of Bollywood frequently takes precedence over the finesse of melody. Yet, there are moments that defy the odds, where an artist’s mastery over his craft overcomes such hurdles in a universal celebration of music.

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Bickram Ghosh performs at the Surtaal 2 concert in Dubai on 20th March, 2022. Photo Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Such was the magic that had an enraptured audience swaying in their seats when three music maestros took to the stage in an emotional experience where Hindustani classical music was fêted above all. ‘Surtaal 2’ saw notable vocalists Hariharan and Ustad Rashid Khan share the spotlight with ace tabla player Pandit Bickram Ghosh on a night where expressive overtones and melodic elaborations became an overpowering force of nature.

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Artists Bickram Ghosh, Ustad Rashid Khan and Hariharan perform at the Surtaal 2 concert in Dubai on 20th March, 2022. Photo Clint Egbert/Gulf News

These stalwarts, who performed on Sunday night at the Sheikh Rashid Auditorium, Indian High School, brought purity to the notes even when the modern deviations transgressed the authenticity of classical melodies.

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Ustad Rashid Khan performs at the Surtaal 2 concert in Dubai on 20th March, 2022. Photo Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Sunday night’s concert saw Ustad Rashid Khan take to the stage first, a voice that has also connected with the masses through his several collaborations with Bollywood projects, with his most popular being ‘Aaoge Jab Tum’ from ‘Jab We Met’. While an artiste can be tempted to deliver on the fuel provided by his audience, the ever purist stuck to his classical roots, reminding us of the famous story where Pandit Bhimsen Joshi once indicated and pointed out that Rashid Khan was the “confirmation for the future of Indian song music.”

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Visitors enjoy performances from Bickram Ghosh, Ustad Rashid Khan and Hariharan at the Surtaal 2 concert in Dubai on 20th March, 2022. Photo Clint Egbert/Gulf News

As the night progressed, Hariharan and Ghosh took to the stage, with each artist fusing with the other with such familiarity that it was unable to decipher where one left off and the other began. The dexterity of Ghosh’s fingers on the tabla rang out perfectly in sync with Hariharan’s powerful vocals, taking each high note in its stride.

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Hariharan performs at the Surtaal 2 concert in Dubai on 20th March, 2022. Photo Clint Egbert/Gulf News

While the concert itself was a treat for the connoisseur, classical music doesn’t have to be an elitist sound; after all, there’s a reason why music is called a universal language that transcends all boundaries and descriptions in a celebration of pure sound.