Reed, wind and melody

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Event Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia held a select crowd at Rashtrapati Bhawan in thrall the other day. C.S. PANCHAMAKESAN

The hallowed precincts of what was once Lutyens’ Viceroy House, now the President’s House or Rashtrapati Bhawan in Delhi, reverberated with the melody of the wind when Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia performed in front of the President of India and other distinguished invitees recently. This was part of the efforts of Indradhanush, the cultural body of Rashtrapati Bhawan, to celebrate the timeless cultural heritage of India. This programme was facilitated by the on going collaboration with SPIC MACAY, which continues in its service to the youth of India by providing them glimpses of our composite heritage.

Seeing Panditji walk to the stage and effortlessly slide into the world of music, picking up the flute and producing instant melody, reminds us that the flute is perhaps the only musical instrument that does not require tuning, and a maestro like Hariprasadji has tuned himself to play this divine instrument by years and years of hard work. He can produce music that enters the soul of the listener.

Choosing raga Yaman, he played a brief alap that was very meditative and set the mood for the evening. An evening raga and oft played in concerts by eminent musicians all over, Yaman is believed to be therapeutic in its impact and is also increasingly used in music therapy.

Although this raga is frequently heard, it offers tremendous scope for musicians to innovate and bring out all its colours in various textures and make the listener crave for more. There is no scope for satiation in this raga — a sampoorna raga (heptatonic or one with all seven notes). It excludes Pancham in the arohan (ascent) and uses all seven swaras in the avarohan (descent). The Carnatic equivalent of this raga is Kalyani which is also often heard in Carnatic music concerts as the piece de resistance. From the meditative alap, Panditji glided into the bandish in Roopak tala and then played drut in Teen tala, leaving the audience transfixed.

He concluded the programme with a melodious Bengali folk song “Aajo Gaurong” which had traces of raga Desh and the impact of a boat slowly meandering on the Ganga.

Panditji was accompanied on the tabla by Ustad Rashid Khan who complemented him admirably. One of the greatest contributions of Panditji is his ability to nurture talent and bring in a number of next generation disciples, which was amply evident from the bansuri support provided by his disciple Suchismita Acharya, who is evidently destined to carry on the legacy.

The artistes were felicitated by the President at the end of the concert



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