Musicians bring out varied facets of India’s art forms at Teen Prahar

Intricate interpretations

Banyan Tree recently presented a series of vibrant music performances as a part of its annual festival Teen Prahar. True to its mission of preserving and promoting the diverse performing arts of India, the event covered not only classical music, but also living traditions from different parts of India.

Young talent, poetry through music, lesser-known instruments and forms, artistes-in-the-making as well as established masters shared a single platform, showcasing the rich variety of artistic communication enabled by music.

‘Young Blossom’ set a joyous and vibrant tone to the evening’s music. Flutist Dhruva Hanagal, grandson of Pt Sheshagiri Hanagal, tabla artiste Pradyumna Karpur, son of Pt Udayaraj Karpur and Chinmay Bharadwaj on harmonium stole the show with their proficient presentations.

Two compositions in Raga Hamsadhwani (ek-taal and drut-teen-taal) were executed by Dhruva with a mature finesse, ably accompanied by Pradyumna who is endowed with amazing percussive skills and sense of laya. A tabla solo by Pradyumna played to Chinmay’s harmonium lehra-saath had the audience spellbound. The narrative of percussion is certainly more complex and abstract than the flow of melody. Hence, Pradyumna’s intricate aesthetic delineation of the teentaal had a stunning impact. He played different compositions of Delhi, Ajarada and Farukhabad gharanas, while also reciting traditional tukras and farmayiesh chakradhars.

Classical music is truly blossoming in the hands of these little masters who are investing their best efforts into this genre.

’Folk India:Connecting the Rivers’, the next performance, was an ode to rivers, ‘which are not just the lifelines of our country but the nucleus of cultural activity’, silent witnesses to the journey of our civilization. Vibrant folk songs from Punjab, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and West Bengal celebrating our country’s rivers, rendered powerfully by eight brilliant performers made a huge impact. The vocalists Devendra Pal Singh from Punjab, Nazrul Islam from West Bengal and Deu Khan from Rajasthan were supported by Lubhanu Priy on keyboard, Abjijit Jadhav and Ratnadeep Jamsandekar from Maharashtra playing sambal and naal, Devu Khan on kadtal and Mehran Khan on the dholak.

Char Yaar, aka the Faqiri Quartet, is a unique band comprising vocalist and composer Madan Gopal Singh, guitarist and banjo player Deepak Castelino, sarodiya Pritam Ghosal and Amjad Khan, the talented percussionist. The committed group combines poetry and music to project their narrative of harmony and pluralism. Four musicians playing four different instruments speak a common language of love and amity.

Beginning with a Punjabi invocatory composition of the 16th century, addressed to marginalised beings with no might, the group took up Kabir’s anand mangal gaavo mori sajni, the song of joy, to celebrate the renewal of the cycle of life through the seasons. A mélange of different cultures journeying through different centuries followed, covering Sufi poets Rumi and Bulleh Shah, John Lennon and Kabir. The robust Sufi composition mast-qalandar marked the end of their session. The poetic compositions in various ragas including Des, Bhupali and Yaman drew energy from instrumental orchestration and percussive support.

Rakesh Chaurasia, nephew of Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, was the next performer. As he tuned into his initial phrases, a soulful alaap in Jog, a straightforward melodious raga, pervaded the hall. He rendered two compositions, a seven-beat gat in Rupak-taal followed by a fast paced composition in teen-taal. Two tablas onstage added to the rigour of his presentation, especially in the sawal-jawaab portion. Amit Choubey and Sapan Anjaria on the tabla added charm to the percussive aesthetics of the gats rendered on flute.

Ustad Shujath Khan who has been with Banyan Tree for the last two decades, put up the grand finale. Son of Ustad Vilayat Khan and a prime torchbearer of the Imdadkhani gharana, Shujath performs extensively around the world and is a highly creative collaborator, singer and articulate musician. As the melodic strains of the sitar poured in, the notes were transformed into an intricate and elaborate gayaki.

For a while, Raga Tilak Kamod seemed to become the medium for exploration of instrumental possibilities invoking sitar gayaki. But in fact, Tilak Kamod of the Khamaj thaat was chosen by Shujath Khan for a detailed exploration. After a brief alaap, he sang the springtime wedding folk-song Woh kaise gora. The same was rendered on the sitar distilling the gayaki with precision, while also interspersing the tantrakari elements in a spontaneous fashion. Progressing gradually, the sitarist concluded with a highly-charged jhala. The concluding piece in the meandering raag Pahadi on flute and sitar was an elegant intermingling with a fine sense of collaboration.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 7:15:02 PM |

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