Music

A night of melodies

In full flow: Carnatic vocal recital by Ranjani Gayatri

In full flow: Carnatic vocal recital by Ranjani Gayatri  

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The IGNCA’s All-Night Classical Music Festival saw some stimulating recitals that kept the young audience swooning

In its third edition, the All-Night Classical Music Festival, organised by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts IGNCA, kicked off to a glorious start with the Carnatic vocal recital by Ranjani Gayatri, accompanied by L Ramakrishnan and Delhi Sairam. The ‘pandal’ was bursting at the seams with excited listeners and the sisters, as usual, did not disappoint, weaving in popular requests with a cerebrally challenging elaborate raagam thanam pallavi.

The tone of the concert started on a high note in raga Kedaram, with Tyagaraja’s Ramaneepaitanaku. The next composition by Muthuswami Dikshitar, Sri Ranga puravihara in Raga Brindavani Sarang, in all its solemn grandeur was calculated to appeal to the North Indians in the audience with its slow vilambit gat, so unusual in Carnatic compositions. In Khamas, they sang a masterly longer than usual elaboration of the raga before the lyrical composition of Mysore Vasudevacharya “Brocheva”. The main piece was in Raga Hansanandi, in which Gayatri with her usual expertise brought in Hindolam through “greha bhedam” in the aalap, and again during the complex composition set in tisra jaati, triputa taal (seven beats) sang Brindavan Sarang by “greha bhedam” in raga Jog.

The duo ended with a popular abhang, demonstrating with ease their control of the style. One was left reeling with the magnificence of the concert with musicality, laya control and intellectual stimulation. Ranjani said after the concert, “Carnatic music has a global appeal. It can connect with the lowest common denominator with ease as it was designed to appeal to any type of listener, in a temple. This music was not developed in a closed durbar like atmosphere.”

Welcome exception

The next concert was by Pt Basant Kabra, a rare disciple of the slightly different musical traditions of siblings Ustad Ali Akbar Khan and Guru Ma Annapurna Devi. The focus of the former musically was in giving rein to his creativity, the latter on preserving every element of a rich taalim. Basant Kabra having absorbed both, played raga Bihag with the lyricism developed by strict adherence to the grammar of the raga. After aalap and jor, he moved on to the compositions. The North Indian instrumental tradition is very rich, with different stroke work and elaborate compositions distinguishing it from the instrumental tradition in Carnatic music. However, with the introduction of newer instruments like flute santoor and violin, the “baaj” of the “saaz” is getting less importance and is less heard. Pt Basant Kabra was a welcome exception to this trend.

Crispy percussion

He ended with raga Manjh Khamaj which he said, “I played in its lighter “swaroop”, though I have learnt it as a serious raga too”. On the tabla was the redoubtable Pt Ram Kumar Mishra.

The next concert was by Tripura-based academician singer Prof Rajendra Bharali, followed by a well-paced, crisply presented percussion ensemble by Manohar Balatchandirane on mridangam, Salman Khan on pakhawaj, Zaheen Khan on tabla, Varun Rajasekharan on ghatam, accompanied by Mudassir on sarangi.

Adnaan Khan on the sitar accompanied by Ustad Rafiuddin Sabri laudably chose Raga Malkauns to showcase in an hour-long presentation. He handled the sombre raga with maturity, keeping his “meends” note to note languorous, maintaining the mood of the raga. He then played four compositions, showing his “tayyari” in the clearly executed fast taans. Ustad Rafiuddin Sabri, with his crisp strokes and elegant tabla “baaj”, was as always a delight.

Pravin Godkhindi on the flute played the less-heard raga Ahir Lalit. His mastery was visible from the first note.

Pt. Sanjeev Abhyankar in performance

Pt. Sanjeev Abhyankar in performance  

The festival ended with Pt Sanjeev Abhyankar who understood the fatigue of the audience that had been up for 11 hours and responded with a concise presentation of raga Mian Todi. With swiftly executed strokes, he established the raga, then took his audience through the facets of the raga with an astounding profusion of superb “taans”. The next two devotional pieces in raga Bhatiyar saw the sunrise in an aura of spirituality, before he ended, on request with a Haveli Sangeet in Sarang, “Mero man”.

The bulk of the audience was youngsters who savoured the varied music on offer with equal appreciation.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 5:49:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/a-night-of-melodies/article30115281.ece

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