Yashaswi Sirpotdar and Ram Deshpande’s vocal performances for Rajguru Smruti was lively and alluring

The annual Sangeet Samaroh organised by Rajguru Smriti began with a Hindustani classical vocal recital by Yashaswi Sirpotdar, a disciple of Padma Talwalkar.

Yashaswi’s improvisations in the avartans of vilambit khayal ‘Jiya Nahi Maane’ in raga Gavati also known as Bheem in ektaal, a rhythmic cycle of 12 beats bore a resemblance to the sensuously romantic approach of her guru, Padma Talwalkar. Through her raagvistar she demonstrated her stylistic width and scrupulously explored the melodic possibilities of this beautiful, relatively aprachalit raga. In her delineation of the chota khayal bandish “Hamare Par Karo Saayi”, a creation of the great composer Pandit Ramashray Jha in the faster drut teental, a cycle of 16 beats, Yashaswi presented fast, cyclical taans with delicately nuanced flourishes. Her performance was enlivened by the harmonium accompaniment of Ashwin Walwalkar. Gurumurthy Vaidya accompanied her on the tabla with elan and gusto. Gavati was followed by Raga Durga, a late night melody of Bilawal thaat. Yashaswi embellished her rendition of the traditional bandish “Sakhi mori rum-jhum badal barse garaje” in madhyalaya, medium tempo jhaptal, a rhythmic cycle of 10 beats with pleasing sangathis, sculpting the emotional ambience of this raga with confidence. Her judicious deployment of heavy gamaks and bol-taans was commendable. However, her rendition of the ‘tarana’ composition in this pentatonic raga was rather tepid in comparison with the vitality that characterised her exposition of the madhyalaya khayal.

The second concert of the evening was a vocal recital by Dr. Ram Deshpande, an exponent of Gwalior and Jaipur gayaki. Trained by stalwarts like Pandit Yashwant Bua Joshi, Pandit Baban Rao Haldankar and Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar, Ram Deshpande’s erudition was clearly discernible in his delineation of the late evening melody raga Chayanat of Kalyan Thaat. The traditional vilambit khayal composition, “E karata ho mose neha ki jhooti batiya” in the rarely used jhoomra tal, was an engaging rendition, characterised by gliding melodic movements in this raga, showing its great affinity to other ragas like Gaud Sarang, Kedar and Kamod, yet at the same time preserving its grammatical chasteness. As the raga unfolded, Ram Deshpande used appropriate and structured note combinations and built up the aesthetic edifice of this raga meticulously. The rendition of the drut teen tal bandish “Eri malaniya gunde lavori” was marked by brisk taankari. This was followed by a lilting tarana composition in the same raga. Another interesting feature of Ram Deshpande’s concert was his rendition of the ‘jod’ or ‘misra’ raga Rageshri Bahar, an alluring combination of the two ragas Rageshree and Bahar. Known for his large repertoire of rare ragas and his doctoral dissertation on mishra ragas, Ram Deshpande’s choice of Rageshree Bahar did come as a surprise. He handled the complexities of this raga with admirable aplomb. Rajendra Nakod on the tabla mesmerised the listeners with his scintillating ‘tihais’. The aesthetic subtleties of the ragas Chayanat and Ragaeshree Bahar acquired a chiselled luminosity in the harmonium accompaniment of Dr. Ravindra Katoti.