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Notes of weddings past

DNMUM429397 | 1/6/2019 | Author : Dyuti Basu | WC :639

Once almost synonymous with weddings, the shehnai finds itself on the verge of extinction, Dyuti Basu reports
In erstwhile weddings the plaintive notes of the shehnai were as much a part of the ceremony as the red of the sari or jora, and the prayers of the pandit. So integral was this instrument that the first thing a newly-engaged woman’s family would look for wasn’t wedding jewellery or even the pandit but the shehnai player. Shehnai maestro Hassan Haider, son of Ustad Ali Ahmed Hussain, hailed as one of the greatest exponents of the instrument, recalls those days with perfect clarity. He, along with his accompanying artistes - who played the dukkad, surmandal, surpeti, sur shehnai and the tanpura - were asked to play at weddings across the country, even though they hail from Kolkata. “The shehnai is an important aspect at any wedding, bu
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