Music

The maestro’s musical odyssey...

IN FLOW Pandit Jasraj  

This past week Pandit Jasraj regaled the audience at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, when Navarasa Duende celebrated his 87th birthday in a big way.

The concert titled ‘My Journey’ : An Intimate Evening with Pandit Jasraj’ was conceived like an interactive session with the maestro, interspersed with his inimitable music. Pandit Jasraj was there with his full orchestra with vocal support by Ratan Mohan Sharma, his son Swara and Tripti Mukherjee, harmonium by Mukund Petkar, tabla by Ram Kumar Mishra and mridangam by Sridhar Parthasarathi. There was also Durga Jasraj to help Sadhna Shrivastav , the official anchor of the evening, prefacing each and every composition with the anecdotes that the particular piece was connected with.

Pandit Jasraj welcomed the audience with “Atma so Parmatma...we on stage, bow to the Ansh of Parmatma that exists in each one of you”; and opened with raga Bihag. Initially his voice sounded somewhat shaky but sure enough it soon reached its original sturdy, robust form. Opening up the raga with the initial auchar across the melodic canvas, he started the bandish “dekho mori rang mein bhingoyi dari…” showering multiple colours with short spurts of taans while catching the mukhda to establish the meaning and the fervour of the composition. The fullness and amplitude of his ground shadja in a steady melodious voice was imposing.

Sadhna introduced the audience to the origin and especial features of the Mewati gharana, that Pandit Jasraj belongs to; before he presented a rare Sargan bandish in raga Yaman composed by Ustad Ghagghe Nazir Khan, the founder of this gharana. Ghagghe Nazir Khan had taught this gaayki to Natthu Lal, who passed it on to his nephew Motiram, the father of Pandit Jasraj. Both his father Motiram and uncle Jyotiram used to sing jugalbandis too. This information preceded the compositions of Motiram in raga Jaijaiwanti of Desh Ang, set to Jhaptala and Teentala.

Bunking school

Durga resumed the musical journey of her father Pandit Jasraj thereafter and told how he bunked his school to listen to “Deewana banana hai to deewana bana de…” a record of Begum Akhtar being played at a tea shop, when he was in class VI.

The only certificate from that school is the Principal’s telegram to congratulate him when he received the Padma Shri in 1975.

In fact, Pandit Jasraj started his musical journey with tabla. After his father’s demise, when he went to Sanand in patronage of Raja Jaswant Singh, he started learning vocal music under his elder brother Pandit Maniram.

Once Pandit Maniram lost his voice and all the medicines failed to cure him. Raja Jaswant Singh asked him to sing in the temple in front of the Devi at midnight and on his behest trying to sing, Maniram miraculously retrieved his voice.

To express his gratitude to the Goddess, Pandit Maniram composed and rendered the invoking “Mata Kalika….” penned by Raja Jaswant Singh. This incident left a lasting impact on young Jasraj and not only his bent of mind became devotional but gradually his music also attained a spiritual aura.

This anecdote paved the path of his popular number “Mata Kalka…..” that inspired a jugalbandi between Ram Kumar on tabla and Sridhar Parthasarathy on mridangam towards its last leg like a Carnatic Tani Avartanam. This was followed by a Hanuman Vandana written and composed by Pandit Jasraj.

The nicely packaged recital reached its climax with “Govindam Gokulanandam…..” the keertan style group devotional offering as usual, but before that Durga also introduced her mother Madhura Jasraj, who shared her experience of being the wife of Pandit Jasraj.

Durga also shared how his bandish “Mero Allah Meherban…” became “Mero Allah Om…” while he was rendering it in Pakistan, and the huge crowd gave him standing ovation.

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 2:48:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/The-maestro%E2%80%99s-musical-odyssey.../article17177563.ece

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