Celebrating the works of Puttaraj Gawai

Chandana Bala Kalyan

Chandana Bala Kalyan

The 106th birth anniversary of Pt. Puttaraj Gawai was celebrated by Gigue, which harnesses talent and takes musical training to remote villages, and venue partner, Mysore Association, Matunga, with musical tribute by Chandana Bala Kalyan.

The evening started with chanting of Rudram and Chamakam by the students of Sankara Matam.

Post this, a brief note on Veereshwara Punyashrama’s activities and of Pt. Panchakshara Gawai and Puttaraj Gawai were shared.

Pt. Puttaraj Gawai, author, composer and singer, who turned blind in infancy, could play many instruments, was one of the pioneers of Veereshwara Punyashrama music school dedicated to the differently-abled, especially the blind.

Pt. Panchakshara Gawai founded this Ashram for feeding and educating children born blind, the poor and the orphans, free of cost.

Chandana included many compositions of Gawai in her repertoire as a mark of tribute.

In the very opening Vachana , she played around with Panchakshari, the signature of the composer. ‘Guruvige tanuvannu’ in Mohanam, ‘Maadi Maadi Kettenayya’ seeking spiritual guidance, were selected to bring out the creativity of the stalwart.

Folk flavour

‘Vandisuvudaadiyali,’ Purandaradasa ganastuti was a sequel to the opening number. ‘Guruvina gulama,’ Dasa sahitya in Pantuvarali highlighted the devotion to guru outlining the oxymoron content. In ‘Bettada melondu,’ vachana of Akka Mahadevi, Chandana conveyed, through her highly charged emotive voice, the equanimity of the philosophic lines with a folksy flavour.

In ‘Kaagada bandide’ the main piece, Chandana forayed into high octaves with ease. A cascade of swara korvais and kuraippu, reproduced by guitar strings enhanced by resounding rhythmic patterns on the tabla.

Appreciating the creative energies of Jazz and Blues, Chandana sang ‘Neelavarnane Krishna,’ tuned by her. She associated with Blue as the colour of Krishna who left women feeling blue, she opined. His consorts were listed: Rukmini vallabha, Radha Manohara, Prananatha of Gopis etc. She stepped back to familiar territory with Gee Gee peppy dasa sahitya. Her ‘Tamboori meetidava,’ in Ad lib musical format, had the audience joining her.

On audience request she sang impromptu Basavanna vachana ‘Kalla naagara’ in Hindolam, bringing out the contradiction of worshipping the stone snake as divine but killing a live one, offering sumptuous ‘naivedya’ to God but driving away a hungry alms seeker. ‘Bhagyada Lakshmi’ was a fitting finale to the soulful evening.

Chandana explained the literal meaning and deeper disposition of every composition in English as the compositions were all in Kannada. She acknowledged her team of accompanists with generous inputs.

“I have experienced various musical influences.” She thanked Vinayak Netke, the tabla artiste, her musical producer and mentor in understanding Hindustani tala system. “He works under incredible pressure,” she said. “Me and guitarist Abhay Nayampalli share similar mindset in experimenting different genres that come our way.” As regards the harmonium player Abhinay Ravande, she said he was “essentially a Hindustani player who has crossed the line with me.”

Chandana said it was a special day for her and her team, to present dasa and vachana sahitya of various Kannada composers.

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Printable version | Oct 6, 2022 4:24:38 pm |