The four-day 69th annual session of Dover Lane Music Conference started today at Nazrul Mancha in South Kolkata following SOP norms laid down by the state and central governments. The Ministry of Culture and the state government are active sponsors and supporters of this conference.
This year the conference is dedicated to the memory of legendary bhajan singer Pandit Jasraj. The Conference felicitated the legendary classical vocalist and Padma Bhushan Pandit Ajay Chakraborty with the Sangeet Samman Award of 2021. He lighted the inaugural lamp along with Swami Suparnananda, Secretary Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Golpark and KMC MIC Debasis Kumar. Although invited Kolkata’s former Mayor Bobby Hakim could not participate because of his other pre-occupations. Around 21 country-famed vocalists, instrumental artists, dance performers and tabla players will perform for four days from 13th February to 16th February.
Former treasurer and governing body member of Dover Lane Music Conference Deepak Dasgupta said “initially we were heart-broken that we might not be able to hold the conference in pandemic times and our tradition and heritage will be broken after 69 years. However, with the collective efforts of our office bearers and support from the governments we were successful in holding it. Our journey began in 1952 at Singhi Park and then it shifted to Vivekananda Park in the 80s. From 1991-92 we are holding the conference at Nazrul Mancha’’.
This year the conference is held under exceptional conditions of pandemic following SOP norms. Since 1952 the music conference was a whole night programme from 8 pm to 6 am the following day. This year the organisers decided to hold the conference in day and evening time beginning from 11 am in the morning until 10 pm night. Dover Lane Music Conference has around 800 members. Only 200 donation cards of Rs 1200 and Rs 1500 were issued for public. Nazrul Mancha has a capacity of 2400 seats. The organisers decided to keep the hall half (50%) filled under present pandemic conditions. Masking, distancing and sanitizing are made mandatory for members and visitors. Moreover, the timing has also been pushed back by over a fortnight. Usually, the Conference is held between for 4 nights between 22 to 25 January each year.
Dover Lane Annual Music Conference is still considered as the prime venue and highest forum for upholding the rich culture and tradition of Indian Classical Music before the world. In 2020, Grammy awardee L Shankar had performed at the conference with his magical seven to nine string violin alongside another Grammy winner Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt on his Mohan Veena or slide quitar, the previous year.