Pure classical presentation marked Shriniwas Joshi's Hindustani vocal rendition.
After a hiatus of nearly five years, musician Shriniwas Joshi was presented on stage by Kannada Natya Ranga which has been hibernating of late. A musician gifted with a melodious tone and tenor, Shriniwas is a born classicist if his renditions are anything to go by. Though the concert was specifically dedicated to devotionals (semi/light classical style), with this vocalist, there is nothing called light singing. Whatever he takes up, it gets vested with a depth and dimension, uplifting the entire presentation to a level that is markedly classical in every nerve.
He makes no qualms about his classical bent of mind and as is his usual practice, he took up a bandish (by his guru Kishen Rao) in Maru Bihag. Rathiya na bheethi jaaye a piece that extolled Madhura bhakti that the gopikas are said to have felt for their little Krishna, was treated to a raag elaboration with the teevra madhyam dominating it with a judicious interlacing of the shuddh madhyam (of the Bihag), which lends the distinctive flavour of this raag which on the Maru in the descending order sounds close to Yaman. Going by the pulse of the audience, Joshi expanded on the lines, gin gin tare rein bitaya with the bhol taan, swar and akaar taans, the latter giving us a glimpse of his prowess over the medium. His tonal staying power is tremendous as testified by his resonant stress on one single syllable. The cultured voice made for an effortless, deep throated rendition. The spirituality underlying the bandish was nurtured and brought out carefully in this very romantic raag and herein lies Joshi's USP! Wrapping the Maru Bihag with a rippling tarana in ek taal was like a jewel in the crown.
The devotionals rendered like the invocatory song to Ganapathi in raagmalika — a mishram beginning with Pooryadhanashri, Lalith and Bhatiyar and back to the prime raag, the dasarrnama, Anji kin… on Hanuman, a musical recitation with a tempo, interspersed with swar taan and the elongation on ‘guru Madhvaraaya' were in strong classical baani. So were the other songs like the popular Bhagyada Lakshmi baaramma… in Vibhas and the Abhang, saayo karuna nidhe… tuned by Pandit Bhimsen Joshi in raag Bhairavi that formed the culminating point of this uplifting recital, staged at Sundarayya Kala Nilayam. Older musicians can take a leaf off Shriniwas Joshi who in the prime of his professional career was able to share stage space with his own pupils, be it the support singer Kaushik or harmonium player Praful Kumar. Tabla by Srinivas Haridas was just up to the mark.