It was a particularly scorching day outside, but, inside the auditorium of the Bangalore International Centre in Domlur, it was as if the monsoons had arrived. Through Baadarwa Barasana Ko Aaye, a Hindustani vocal recital, Bharathi Prathap rendered an exceptional musical simulation of the July showers.

Sheer downpour

She began the evening with three compositions set in raga Megh Malhar. In the first ‘bandish’ (initiation of a composition), Are ko ho jaye kaho set in Vilambit Ektaal, Bharathi attempted a step-by-step exploration of the raga, giving a taste of her potential to render as well as interpret Megh Malhar. It was followed by Garaj ghataa ghana set in Madhyalay Jhaptaal which showcased her talent as a vocalist. The first set ended with Aaye ath dhoom dhaam set in Drut Ektaal depicting the beauty of a full-fledged downpour.

The loud applause at the end of these three bandishes was only an extension of the appreciation from the packed auditorium at the TERI Complex. Members of the audience actively engaged with her performance making it a point to appreciate the subtle ‘harkats’ (nuances) and the refined ‘aalap’ (rendition without words) with a ‘wah’ as and when Bharathi attempted them.

Emotions in a raga

She transitioned from Malhar to Misra Pilu rendering the second main composition chosen for the evening, which was a ‘thumri’ (light classical song), Kaare badraare tu hi mere shaam samaan. After the portrayal of physical rain, with the thumri, Bharathi explored rain through moods such as melancholy, longing and reminiscence. This piece evoked visuals of a heroine standing by a window reminiscing about her hero as it rained outside.

The musical equation Bharathi shared with the accompanists, Keshav Joshi on tabla and Ashwin Walawalkar on harmonium enhanced the concert.

The final piece changed the mood to a playful tease and captured love during the monsoons. And what better raga than Desh to do that. Bharathi chose a ‘kajri’ (romantic light song), Sohagin barsat kaahe nahi re, set in raga Desh and concluded with a ‘tarana’ (a varying verse) set in the same raga.

This was a powerful rendition replete with all the variations that Desh could offer. And Bharathi’s voice embellished the composition making it a celebration of the rains.

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