Thumri, dadra, bhajans and shlokas — Pandit Channulal Mishra served them all with flair at Yaksha
The slight nip in the air, the flickering diyas, the flower bedecked stage — the setting for a concert couldn't be better. The evening's performer at Isha Yoga Foundation's Yaksha was Pandit Channulal Mishra of the kirana gharana, an artiste known to take his listeners straight to Banaras with his music.
He told stories as he sang— of Shiva and Krishna. Of Durga and of a gopika who begs Krishna to not play the flute as it casts her in a trance. He concluded with a piece describing Shivji playing Holi.
The stage was set in front of the Devi temple, and Panditji fittingly started off with an invocation to Durga. He followed it up with Tum Ho Aadhaar, an ode to Shiva. Somewhere in the middle of the piece, the infectious singing saw the audience, including the children, keep beat.
Next, he rendered an old favourite, Vaatapi Ganapathim, in the Carnatic style. “I love Carnatic music,” he said, endearing himself to the audience. Jaya Durge Jagadambe Bhavani, in the same raga, Hamsadhwani, followed this.
Channulalji rendered a sample each of thumri and dadra and chaiti, explaining their significance. Basuriya Na Bajao Shyam, pleaded the gopika in the thumri — “Don't play the flute O Krishna…” For the dadra, he chose Tore Naina.
Channulalji sang of Krishna playing Holi, full of colours and mirth, and then of Shiva playing Holi (Khele Mashaan Mein Holi), dancing with his companions — the bhooth-pisach —amid the burning pyres of Manikarnika ghat.
Channulalji's voice made you feel one with his music and Banaras.
(The singer was accompanied by Pandit Ravikumar Mishra on the tabla and Indresh Mishra on the harmonium)