From Sienne to Gandak For the Love of Music
A few years ago, Bettiah, which lies in the hinterland of the Gandak river, experienced a lyrical synergy in a melodious confluence when Carina Behar, a younger lady from Paris on the bank of the River Sienne, came calling just for the love of music. This Pandit Indra Kishore Mishra, the last maestro, of Bettiah gharana of Dhrupad singing, received his first ‘ shishya’ or disciple from overseas !
The is journey of the French girl surnamed Behar to Bihar is a lilting saga of destination Bihar, a home waiting to be visited, the experience a virtual symphony of old world charm and culture.
Behar is actually an old Jewish name for a child of the mountains, Carina had said soon after her arrival in Bihar. Describing music as a journey of self discovery, she said, “ I wanted to express my gratitude to everything … my very existence.. Through singing.”
He love for classical music since childhood made her as restless as the mountains breeze in the quest of sublime music, she said while describing her own flow from the banks of the Sienne to the Gandak.
On a visit to Bengal in 1994, Carina heard the Bails which kindled an interest in Classical Indian music. It was then that some friends told ger about the Dover Lane music festival. She promptly booked a seat. It was to change her life.
Accustomed to two to three hour music concert in Paris, Carina had not experienced anything like this fest. “I did not know that one could listen to a concert all night. I stayed awake for five consecutive nights, listening to an amazing array of exquisite classical music. The music touched me very deep. It was like listening to an old, old memory. It was speaking to me, like an echo within,” she said.
Hooked on to Indian classical music, she came back again and again, While attending a Pandit Jasraj concert at Shantiniketan, a French couple studing music there introduced her to a “Khayal” teacher. She took a ten-day class. “Then this couple told me of a French Dhrupad singer, Yuan Trunzler, a disciple of the Dagar brothers. Back in Paris, I attented one of his classes,” she recalled.
In 1999, Carina went to a concert by Nirmalaya Dey in Paris. She bought a tanpura and became his disciple. His hosts, Makar, the French music company churning out cassettes and CDs of classical Indian music, helped her. In October the same year, Carina came to Vrindavan on Makar’s recommendation and studied with Vidur Mallick, a disciple of Pandit Chatur Mallick of Dharbhanga’s Amita gharana.
In the spring of 2000, Carina came back to India yet again. To Varanasi, to attend the Dhrupad mela. “I heard and met Guruji (Pandit Indra Kishore Mishra of Beltiah gharana) there,“ she recalled. Back in Paris, she bought and listened to Mishra’s albums. “Then I decided to come to Bettiah and meet Guru ji again,”, she said, adding that Pandit Indra Kishore Mushra agreed to teach her on the recommendation of Federica of Makar.
Carina’s Joie de Vivre is not hers alone. Her guruji now has a steady stream of ‘Shishyas” from foreign shores. In 2004, a Spannish youth came to spend some days. He returned again with his girlfriend. Guruji got them married. Music was their honeymoon.
... Article by Bihar Tourism.