The first ever ‘Samaagam’ concert, a seamless mesh of fine music between the Chicago Philharmonic and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and his sons Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash was held on Sept. 16, at Stanley Field Hall in the famed Field Museum.
The IAHM’s vision of celebrating the cultural heritage of the Indian diaspora culminated in one of the most memorable recent performances reflecting the moving words of French poet, novelist and dramatist Victor Hugo, that “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.”
Umang Patel, Birinder Marwah and Prem Rupani organized the program where Channel 7 news anchor Ravi Baichwal was master of ceremonies and Congressman Raja Krishnamoorti, D-Illinois, was the chief guest. Both stressed the importance of the Indian diaspora and the significance of documenting their contributions to the nation.
Smithsonian’s groundbreaking exhibition, Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation, was on exhibit, a co-presentation by IAHM and the Field Museum, which runs through Jan. 7 at the Field. Chicagoland Indian-Americans participated in the exhibit by offering historical artifacts including photographs and videos projecting the significance of the community in America.
“Breathtaking, beautiful ” said Shruti Sharma of Naperville, about the performance. “The significance of the Indian-American community in Chicagoland is unfathomable as it provides a platform for the children of today to see, feel and touch their living heritage through such programs.”
The musical performances began after a lavish dinner. Separate performances by the Chicago Philharmonic, Ayaan and Amaan set the stage for the evening. Then Ustad Ali Khan enraptured the audience opening with a Rabindra Sangeet piece, followed by two of Mahatma Gandhi’s favorite melodies. The sarod, tabla and the Philharmonic merged into one, building to a rousing crescendo, and receiving a thunderous standing ovation at the end.