Delhi celebrated the monsoon with a number of concerts recently
For a country like India, nothing matters more than the monsoon. Little wonder that the rainy season happens to be the only season that is celebrated with great fanfare by people from all walks of life and in all kinds of literary as well as musical forms. Countless folksongs express the joy at the advent of the monsoon as also the pain of the lover who is away from the beloved. The rainy season is the only season to which an entire group of ragas — the Malhars — has been devoted. In view of this, it is but natural that Delhi too celebrated the onset of the season with great enthusiasm and frequent music concerts.
Sarita Pathak Yajurvedi, a senior disciple as well as daughter-in-law of the well-known vocalist Sulochna Brahaspati, performed at the India International Centre auditorium recently. Equipped with a tuneful and strong voice, she chose Miyan Ki Malhar as the first raga of the evening and presented two compositions of the late Acharya KCD Brahaspati who was an acclaimed musicologist as well as a composer. The vilambit bandish “Garje ghata ghanghor” was set to Chatushkali tala while the drut bandish “Umadi ghamadi ghanghora garje” was presented in Teen tala. Sarita sang it with commendable poise, savouring each note and elaborating the raga in a systematic progression. She avoided certain masculine flourishes of her guru and seemed aware of her strengths and limitations. She made judicious and occasional use of sargam but her taans, though well-formed, did not rise beyond the level of competence.
Sarita moved on to Gaud Malhar and offered two bandishes in vilambit Jhap tala and drut Teen tala. All the four bandishes in Miyan Ki Malhar and Gaud Malhar were the creations of Acharya Brahaspati. One felt that she could have included at least one traditional — taksaali in music world parlance — composition in her recital. She also sang a kajri and a jhoola. She was accompanied by Kamaal Ahmed on the sarangi and Jaishankar Mishra on the tabla.
Next day at the India Habitat Centre, film music expert Pran Neville organised an evening to celebrate the rains with film and folk music. After delivering a short speech on the importance of the rainy season in the life of an Indian, he showed video clips from Hindi films like Tansen, Barsat Ki Raat and Sawan Aya Jhoom Ke. This was followed by a vocal recital by Rashmi Agarwal, a disciple of Kamala Bose, Ramashraya Jha and Savita Devi. She dedicated her recital to the memory of her first guru Kamala Bose who had passed away recently in Allahabad. Rashmi began her recital with a Mishra Tilak Kamod kajri and went on to sing Jhoola, Hindola as well as Hindi film songs. Endowed with a good, tuneful but not very flexible voice, she sang the compositions without spending much time on bol-banao or other musical devices. This was perhaps because she was interested in presenting as many songs as possible. Badlu Khan on the harmonium was quite good.