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Updated: December 31, 2009 15:47 IST

Firm faith in melody

V. BALASUBRAMANIAN
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Kalaapini Komkali.
Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar
The Hindu Kalaapini Komkali. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Kalaapini Komkali will present a Hindustani vocal recital on 31 Dec, 7 p.m. at The Music Academy, Madras.

The Music Academy has been presenting a Hindustani music concert as part of its 18-day music festival. Over the years there has not been a single Hindustani Music exponent who has not performed here on this day. And this year Kalaapini Komkali, Hindustani vocalist, will be featured on December 31 at 7 p.m. at the TTK Auditorium. In a telephonic interview she talked about her parents and her outlook to music.

“My parents, Padmavibhushan Pt. Kumar Gandharv and Padmasri Vidhushi Vasundhara Komkali, both great exponents of Hindustani music belonged to the Gwalior gharana. Yet my father never had the Gharana bias and wanted to blend all the gharanas into one and present his music,” started Kalaapini.

“Having settled down in the small city of Dewas in the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh, my father specialised in the folk music unique to the region,” she expanded. Having completed Library Science, Kalaapini never thought of taking to music full time. But, music came naturally to her and her mother was her first guru and later she received training from her father. “Kumarji, as we all call him was of the firm opinion that a musician should evolve on his own and nothing should be thrust upon him. His concert presenting all the rithus or the seasons of India was a sensation in those days. By playing the tanpura alongside my parents during their concerts it was an on the job training for me. It was only after Kumarji's passing away in 1992 did I start performing as a solo artist,” said Kalaapini.

Gifted with a husky voice, her music is a combination of her parents' style and her own inputs. There has not been a prestigious music festival where Kalaapini has not performed as a torch-bearer of Kumarji's tradition. Is the audience for Hindustani music on the decline? Kalaapini firmly denies and asserts that the response to Hindustani music in smaller towns and cities all over India has in fact been overwhelming. “Stress on melody to make it more mellifluous is one way to attract audience. Melody reigned in the music of MS, MLV, Balasaraswathy, M.D. Ramanathan, Pt. Mallikarjun Mansur, Pt. Ravishankar and Pt. Bhimsen Joshi and no wonder they were successful,” she summed up.


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