Amrit Varsha Utsav and Malhar fest on digital platform

Pt. Vidhyadhar Vyas  

The Amrit Varsha Utsav streamed from New Delhi’s Triveni Sabhagar was organised to celebrate the 75th birthday (September 8)of veteran vocalist Pt. Vidyadhar Vyas. Featuring concerts, workshops and lec-dems, the two-day event presented by Dr. Suneera Kasliwal concluded with Pt. Vidyadhar Vyas’ performance.

Groomed in guru-sishya parampara by his father Pt. Narayan Rao Vyas and uncle Pt. Shankar Rao Vyas — who were the direct disciples of Pt. Vishnu Digambar Paluskar — Pt. Vidyadhar Vyas belongs to the Paluskar Parampara of Gwalior Gharana. Opening with Bageshri Kanada, one of the significant raags of his Gharana, Pt. Vyas rendered it in a way that established his credentials as a worthy inheritor of an illustrious legacy.

This was followed by rare elements such as the Trivat, a three-fold composition in Bhupali, culminating in impressive pakhawaj bols. He concluded with the timeless ‘Chaturang’ in raga Sindhura. A four-part composition comprising the lyric, sargam, tarana and a Sanskrit sloka, composed by Pt. Vishnu Digambar Paluskar, was presented by Vyas with grace and striking virtuosity.

Malhar festival

Dr. Deepti Bhalla, Dean, Faculty of Music and Fine Arts, Delhi University, organised the annual Malhar Festival online. With a fine mix of vocal and instrumental, Hindustani and Carnatic, the two-day event featured well-known artistes and opened with a group rendition by the students of the music department. Carnatic vocalists Kanchana S. Sriranjani and Kanchana S. Shruthi Ranjani, known as the Kanchana Sisters, selected ragas such as Amrita Vahini, Amrita Varshini, Varuna Priya and Megh-Malhar for the Malhar festival, focusing on monsoon ragas.

The Kanchana Sisters are known for their ‘Avadhana Pallavis’, rendering complex compositions while maintaining different talas in different nadais (tempo) on both hands simultaneously. Initiated into music by their violinist-father Kanchana V. Subbarathnam, the sisters were able to bring out different shades of the ragas besides highlighting minute details about the ragas and lyrics they presented.

Citing Valmiki’s ‘Kaale varshatu parjanyah’, for instance, before opening with ‘Maha Ganapatim’ in raga Amrit-Vahini, they explained that the composer Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar thought of raga Amrita Vahini and the Bhairavi janya-raga kriti because he was a Srividya devotee.

They also narrated the story of how Muthuswami Dikshitar created the raga Amritavarshini before presenting his famous composition ‘Anandamritakarshini’. Their well-planned swaraprastaras appealed as much for their rendering as for their phrasing.

Similarly they narrated how Mysore Vasudevachar, a devotee of Lord Venkateswara, composed a kriti in raga Varunapriya to please the rain God as his hometown was reeling under drought. His singing brought heavy rains.

The sisters were in perfect sync. They also impressed the audience with the use of Western chords and counterpoints with one singing from shadja and the other from gandhara or panchamam at the same time, before concluding their concert with a composition in Megh Malhar.

Pune-based Shashank Maktedar, a senior disciple of Pt. Ulhas Kashalkar, opened his vocal recital with the traditional Bada Khayal ‘Maan na kariye…’ in Gaud Malhar, leisurely exploring the contours of the raga, maintaining the slow tempo of Vilambit Teental.

The popular Chhota Khayal ‘Saiyan mora re…’ had refreshing spurts of aakar and bol-taans. The concluding Kafi bandish set to addha theka ‘Kaisi bijuri chamak rahi’ described the clouds, lightning and the rains.

The Carnatic veena recital by Shivani Yella, Head of the Veena Department, Tirupati University, eschewed the concept of monsoon and played raga Subhapantuvarali equivalent to Hindustani Todi. The full-fledged Ragam-Tanam created the sombre ambience of the raga. Pt. Vinod Lele’s tabla solo, with a rich repertoire Benarasi Baaj, especially his ‘Megh Paran’ was exquisite, but Pt. Vinay Mishra could have chosen a different variety of Malhar for the lehera (musical refrain) on the harmonium, instead of Miyan Malhar, which was rendered on the sitar by Ustad Sayeed Zafar Khan just before their performance.

The author is a Hindustani

music critic.

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Printable version | Nov 1, 2020 1:13:27 AM |

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