A complete musical experience



Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar treated the audience of Morning Ragas series to an insightful concert

The Habitat Centre and SpicMacay, in continuation with their Morning Ragas concerts series, hosted Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar, the unparalleled singer of the Gwalior, Jaipur/Atrauli and Agra gayeki. Not only does this give an opportunity to hear morning ragas, but it’s also an environmentally friendly initiative as the concerts are held amidst greenery without the use of lights and temperature control. The one jarring element is the distortion of the amplified sound in the open air.

Kashalkar today enjoys the unique position of not just being arguably the finest singer of his generation, but also a musician’s musician, with rare knowledge, and being today a prolific teacher with several performing disciples. He was as usual accompanied by ‘Taal Yogi’ Pandit Suresh Talwalkar on tabla, Vinay Mishra on harmonium and vocal support by Ojesh Pratap Singh.

Old bandishes are constructed with great care and usually open out the raga in its complete form; if they are rendered with exactitude and giving correct emphasis, they are immensely satisfying. Panditji’s first raga Ramkali was thoroughly explored in two bandishes, the first vilambit “Aaj Radha Tori”.

The second, a composition of his Guru Pandit Gajananrao Joshi was “Tu Hi Kartar”, in Teen taal. The type of ambience Kashalkar creates, a combination of raga knowledge, authentic gayeki, immense riyaaz, is uniquely his own.

His slow careful deconstruction of the raga in the vilambit portion was followed by a variety of taans, in different patterns, with speed variations, initially slow and without “daana” (grain) in the typical Jaipur Atrauli style which are immensely difficult to execute.

The second raga was Lalit Pancham, also known as Basant Pancham. A combination of Lalit and Pancham, the nomenclature of Basant Pancham was puzzling, until Panditji later explained that in an older, shudha type of Basant, there is a characteristic phrase used in the raga, hence the name of Basant Pancham. Again, he sang two bandishes, in Jhap taal and Teen taal. A beautifully executed poignant presentation.

The concluding item was in raga Gaud Sarang, in which the bandish was so unusual that later even his senior disciple Ojesh Pratap Singh confessed he had heard it for the first time!

It was beautifully constructed in format, the lyrics “Saiyaan Maroro Naahi Mori Baiyaan” were set in Teen taal. The unique empathy between the two doyens translated as usual into a truly magical musical experience; no wonder there was a spontaneous standing ovation!

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 12:00:20 PM |

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