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Magic of the santoor

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Therapeutic: The music from Alankode Haridas’ santoor.
Therapeutic: The music from Alankode Haridas’ santoor.

K. PRADEEP

Alankode Haridas wove a melodic spell on his santoor by focussing on melody and attempting to balance it with rhythm.

Music is not all about grammar or technique. It needs to create an emotional impact. Alankode Haridas wove a melodic spell on his santoor by focussing on melody and attempting to balance it with rhythm.

The concert held under the aegis of the Sree Poornathrayeesa Sangeetha Sabha, Thripunithura, may not have been technically precise but it certainly stood out for its strong emotional flavour.

The instrumental format, or the (Thanthra Kari Ang) of the North differs from the Gayaki Ang (vocal format). The North Indian instrumentalist has more flexibility in the manner in which he delineates a raga. This was evident in the Shanmukhapriya that Haridas explored.

A different shade

Although he travelled the specified routes of alaap, jhod-jhala and gath in the vilambit, madhyalay and druth taal, the raga somehow acquired a different shade. Haridas let the walnut strikers go free on the strings; the raga moved from the Carnatic shade with which it began and leaned firmly on the Hindustani roots, very often experimenting.

All through the delineation Haridas was firmly in control. There were occasions when he did struggle to achieve the meend, trying to find a way to sustain a phrase without breaking it.

Haridas followed this with a short sketch of Abheri (Bhimplas). A madhyalay gath in teen taal too flowed into folk tune in Dadra. In between there were flashes of Kharaharapriya as the strings warmed up to the regular beats of the strikers.

There is a spiritual quality to the music of the santoor. And this perhaps comes out best in a truly folk dhun.

The basic pattern of the dhun was in Madyamavathi but it touched Sivaranjini, Bageswari and Bhimplas on the way. Based on a poem by Alamkode Leelakrishnan, it told of a young girl’s pining. Haridas, with precise strokes, created a haunting, nostalgic feel.

At the end of the two-hour concert the audience was left with a therapeutic effect – the magic of the santoor. Deen Mohan accompanied Haridas on the tabla.


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