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A rare treat Sudha Mathur.
A rare treat Sudha Mathur.

MANJARI SINHA

Sudha Mathur’s concert of rare ragas was a big draw, while Shubho Chakravarti showed Delhiites he is a sitar player to watch out for.

The India International Centre recently presented a concert of rare ragas by Sudha Mathur, a senior disciple of B. N. Dutta of the Kirana gharana and the late Sumati Mutatkar of the Agra gharana. She received further training in thumri-dadra from Naina Devi. A graded artiste of All India Radio and Doordarshan, Sudha is passionately involved with her research work on rare ragas and has authored a book titled Hindustani Sangeet Ki Raga Sampada. A gold medallist of Delhi University and a Ph.D. in Hindustani Music, she has been teaching the subject for almost four decades. It is to be appreciated that Sudha chose to commence the recital with a rare raga, Khem Kalyan, which is popular only in the Agra and Jaipur gharanas. It had notable features of ragas Hem (Kalyan) and Hamsadhwani. The bada khayal “Piharava main kahi deho bataay…”, set to vilambit (slow) Ek tala, was replete with charming phrasings in alap-badhat and behlawa, while the chhota khayal “Hath na kar…”, set to Teen tala, was adorned with a variety of taans.

The next raga Nand (Anandi) offered two popular compositions — “Sees sehra banara…” set to Ek tala and “Paayalia mori baaje…” in Teen tala. But firstly the raga is not all that rare and secondly, it did not provide the desired contrast. In fact, the first phrase “Ga Ma Re Sa” sounded just like the previous raga. It was the sarangi that mended the situation while following the vocalist, with Ga Ma Pa Re Sa.

This was followed by raga Marg Bihag, a creation of Pandit Ratanjhankar. It was set to a Teen tala composition of Sumati Mutatkar, who had also taught Sudha this raga. But unfortunately this raga was quite close to Maru Bihag, which is one of the most common ragas heard at concerts. The traditional tarana in raga Jhinjhoti was next. It was sung with the vibrant vigour of Agra gayaki but this again was not a rare raga. The thumri Khamaj that followed could have had a little more of ‘bol-banaav’. Sudha concluded her concert with a bhajan-like bandish in raga Bhairavi.

With a sturdy musical voice of appreciable range, gravity of swaras and the impeccable training she has received for proper and systematic treatment of ragas, Sudha Mathur’s concert was a big draw, but the performance would have appealed better if she had restricted herself to fewer ragas and rendered the pieces at desirable length. Bharat Bhushan Goswami’s sonorous sarangi enhanced the vocal recital, while Satish Kumar ably accompanied her on the tabla.

Sitar recital

Raga Ranjani celebrated its 13th annual function with performances of vocal, instrumental and dance at the India Habitat Centre this past week. They also honoured vocalist Krishna Bisht on this occasion.

The sitar recital of Shubho Chakravarti from Kolkata proved that he has the potential to become a musician to reckon with. A disciple of D. P. Chattopadhyay, Shubho chose to play raga Desh with a detailed alap-jod followed by a slow Masitkhani and a medium tempo Razakhani gat composition set to Teen tala. Accompanying him on the tabla was Subhash Kanti Das, a disciple of Samar Saha.

A lukewarm rendition of bhajans by Kanchan Sarkar, a mediocre disciple of Kumar Chatterjee, flagged off the event, while it ended with a pleasing Kathak performance by students of Guru Rajendra Gangani.


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