Arohi, a two-day Hindustani classical music festival, was a real treat for music lovers

Arohi, a unique two-day festival of Hindustani classical music featuring the rising stars of Indian classical music was organised by Pancham Nishad in Bangalore recently.

The festival commenced with a Hindustani vocal recital by Sumedha Desai, a disciple of Manik Bhide. Sumedha began with the popular evening melody raga Purya Dhanashri which is often heard in evening concerts. The bada khayal in vilambit teental, “Kaise din katina viraha lagyo, araj suno sakhi mohe” was embellished with a meditative and melodious alaap that unfolded through cyclic avartans. Sumedha's taans and sargams clearly demonstrated her commendable poise and aplomb. Although Sumedha made a laudatory attempt to invest her delineation of the khayal bandish in Purya- Dhanashri with the depth of feeling, it was a tepid rendition. However, her pleasing rendition of the chota khayal in drut teen tal “Kahe Karat Jhuto Jagar Preetam moso” was noteworthy for some crisp taans and sargams. The impressive range of Sumedha's melodious voice was clearly discernible in her imaginative exposition of the Dadra composition “Piya bina mora, Kaise jiya tarsat ho” in raga Mishra Kirwani. Pt Vyasmurthy Katti who accompanied her on the harmonium captivated the audience with haunting and evocative flashes in his inimitable style. Mayuresh Vast accompanied her on the tabla.

Purbayan Chatterjee was accompanied by the tabla maestro Pt. Suresh Talwalkar's son and disciple Satyajit Talwalkar. One of the finest sitarists of the Senia–Maihar gharana, Purbayan Chatterjee rendered Surdasi Malhar of the Malhar family of ragas which are played during the monsoon season. He meticulously explored the dulcet sweetness of this raga, note by note, kindling memories of the immortal bandishes in this raga such as “Garjat Ayi” and “Badarwa barsan ko aye” popularised by the great masters. He handled the challenges posed by this difficult raga in an ingenious manner. His improvisations in the customary alap-jod-jhala were marked by alluring sensitivity and aesthetic appeal.

In the vibrant drut teental gat composition in the same raga, Purbayan Chatterjee was ably supported by Satyajit Talwalkar who was applauded by the audience for his exuberant tabla accompaniment.

Bansuri recital by young prodigy S. Akash enthralled his listeners with a majestic exposition of the monsoon melody “Megh”. The confidence with which Akash approached the raaga was truly astonishing. Akash's delineation of this raga was characterised by remarkable maturity, imaginative brilliance and agility. This was followed by some impressive taankari in high velocity in his rendition of the drut ektal composition in Megh. Akash's grand tihais and the fluidity of his meends signifying the imperceptibly smooth gliding movements from one note to another note elicited great applause from the audience.

Listening to Akash's soulful rendition of the Marathi abhang in Bhimpalasi set to a vibrant Keherwa and his euphonious presentation of Purandara Dasa composition “Krishna Ni Begane Baro” in Yaman Kalyani was a sublime experience. The tabla accompaniment by Vivek Mishra was commendable for its mellowness.

Adept in both Agra and Gwalior gayaki styles, Manjusha has carved a niche for herself as a khayal singer par excellence. Connoisseurs were spellbound by the exquisite melody and erudition that marked her vocal recital. She began her recital with Barwa, a rarely heard ancient raga. Manjusha surprised the cognoscenti with her choice and her serious exploration of this uncommon raga was indeed awe-inspiring. As her sonorous, mellifluous voice traversed the three octaves with ease, Manjusha was able to highlight the filial association of Barwa with ragas Kafi and Sindhura in her alap.

In her enchanting delineation of the vilambit ektal khayal bandish “Birama rahe man mora”, Manjusha successfully communicated the richly evocative shringar bhava of the bandish, also delicately indicating the fleeting dalliance of raga Barwa with Desi in its purvanga. Her rendition of the famous drut teental bandish in the same raga composed by the legendary Faiyyaz Khan of agra gharana, “Baje mori payaliya” was the piece de resistance of the evening. Manjusha's bedazzling “taans” and her impeccable layakari, ably highlighted by Uday Raj Karpur on the tabla, bore ample testimony to her mastery and erudition. Ravindra Katoti's harmonium accompaniment sensitively emphasised the improvisational versatility of the vocalist. Manjusha concluded her recital with an immensely moving, popular Marathi Natyageet Abhang “Johar Mai Baap” in Bibhas of Marwa That.