Clarity, lyricism and emotive appeal were the hallmarks of Rekha Bhat Kotemane's vocal recital

One of the recent cultural programmes as part of the Every Friday Cultural Evening series was the Hindustani classical vocal concert of Rekha Bhat Kotemane of Yellapur, Uttara Kannada district, a disciple of Pandit Ganapathi Bhat Hasanagi.

Rekha commenced her recital with a vilambit khayal in the beautiful evening melody Raga Marubihag. This much loved raga is of recent vintage and Maru Bihag in currency is widely acknowledged to be a product of the progenitor of Athrauli- Jaipur Gharana Ustad Alladiya Khan's prodigious imagination. Hailing from the Kalyan That, the raga also incorporates the features of Bihag from Bilawal family. Departing from the conventional and rather predictable choice of the famous khayal bandish “Rasiya na javo” in this raga, Rekha Bhat took up a “Ramrang” composition composed by the late Pt. Ramashray Jha in her vilambit rendition. Rekha could have invested her delineation of this composition with more emotive feeling. Her ‘alap' avartans in the khayal brought out the mellifluous aspect of her ‘gayaki' commendably. The clarity and ease with which she embellished her rendition with ‘sargams' was noteworthy. Over the years and in the course of its journey across regions, the raga Marubihag has acquired quaint touches and flavours often reflecting the idiosyncrasies of a creative artiste and this was clearly discernible in Rekha's exploration of the raga. The “taankari” in the drut teen tal chota khayal rendition “Naina Basi Chabi Tore” was ably compensated by redemptive flashes of lyrical “sargam” taans.

In celebration of the monsoon season, Rekha presented two compositions in Raga Soor Malhar. The madhyalaya teental composition “Garjat Ghana Kare” was also surprisingly a Pt. Ramashray Jha composition. This was followed by a lively rendition of the brisk and sprightly composition “Badarwa barsan lagi”, a signature composition in this raga.

However, the rich emotive appeal of Rekha's gayaki and its lyricism were unmistakably seen in her rendition of the bhavageete “Ella Maretiruvaga” by the Kannada poet Nisar Ahmed. It was an unusual choice for a khayal artiste, nevertheless Rekha's sensitive handling of this bhavageete in raga Bhagashree was impressive and showcased her potentialities as a highly accomplished artiste in light classical genres. Madhusudan Bhat and Keshav Joshi accompanied Rekha Bhat on the harmonium and tabla respectively. Rekha Bhat concluded her recital with the rendition of “Bansiwale ne man moha”, a composition of vidwan Swati Tirunal in raga Bhairavi.

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