The tradition of Baithak in Hindustani Classical music involves the artists and the listeners coming together in an informal setting in a relatively small closed space. It is considered the purest form of musical performance as per the traditions of Hindustani Classical music. The idea is that the listeners get an unadulterated and untempered taste of music, from close quarters.
Many great performances by legendary artists have taken place in such baithaks over the centuries where listeners were treated to great music. The setting is rewarding for the artists as well as they can interact directly with the audience. When spontaneous and unbridled aahs and waahs emanate from the audience as the artist reaches the sam or strikes an interesting note, it leaves a very fulfilling and inspiring effect on the artist as well.
But this tradition of Baithaks, once the soul of Hindustani Classical music, has been on a definite downswing for the last few decades. The ever-busy and fast-paced city life, ever-increasing travelling distances within the city, and the new threat of COVID meant that such baithaks have become rarer.
Recently, one such baithak was organsied at Seema Apartments, Sector 11, Dwarka on April 3, 2022. It was an afternoon filled with some raag based bandish (Raag Kalyan, Chhota Khayal), chaiti and ghazals. The musical baithak was organised by Asawari, an informal group of classical musicians and music lovers, which aims to revive the almost-lost culture of baithaks and generate interest in Hindustani Classical music.
The performing artist on the day was Govind Saraswati (vocals and harmonium) and Pranab Chatterjee on tabla.