Music

Pleading hands, whispering fingers

True to the gharana: Ashwini Bhide Deshpande

True to the gharana: Ashwini Bhide Deshpande  

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An unusual and rare spectrum of Taal-Vadyas provided a distinct flavour to the Surashree Kesarbai Kerkar Sangeet Samaroh

The 39th edition of Surashree Kesarbai Kerkar Sangeet Samaroh, organised by Kala Academy Goa left its mark right from its curtain raiser symposium on the contribution of Jaipur Atrauli Gharana to Indian Music. The scholarly deliberation of Prof. Shruti Sadolikar, Vice Chancellor Bhatkhande Deemed University, Lucknow and the daughter and disciple of Pt. Wamanrao Sadolikar, himself a direct disciple of Ud. Alladiya Khan, provided authentic information about the gharana and its gaayaki. Sadolikar substantiated her points with accurate demonstrations too. Dr. Vasanti Tembe and Sulabha Pishwikar also sang a couple of compositions responding to the queries of moderator Keshav Dattatray Paranjape.

The venue, Rajiv Gandhi Kala Mandir, Ponda, signified that it was here in the Keri village of Ponda, that Kesarbai was born and inherited her surname. Dr. Ashwini Bhide Deshpande chose Bihagada, the most popular raga of this gharana, and gave it a befitting treatment with the famous compositions, “Pyari pag haule dhariye...” and “Rain dina…” set to vilambit and medium tempo Teentala respectively. Her self-composed Bageshri Bandish “Manmohan Shyam Sundar…” framed in the nine-and-a-half beat tala cycle, fitted perfectly in the tabla theka by Pt. Omkar Gulwadi. The drut Teentala bandish was equally brilliant.

The Senia-Shahjahani nuances of sarod in Pt. Narendranath Dhar’s Miyan Ki Todi, the Jhumra Bandish of Khadim Hussain Khan in Vidushi Shubhda Paradkar’s Shuddha Sarang preceded with the typical Nom-Tom Alapchari of Agra Gharana, the self-composed Bhupali dhrupad of Prof. Ritwik Sanyal enumerating the significant features of Dagar-Bani, Khayal Desi by Shahwati Mandal, especially her rare Tappa in Miyan ki Todi, beseeching Bhimpalasi by Omkar Dadarkar contrasted with a melancholic Marwa, Mohan Veena by Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and shehnai by Sanjeev and Ashwini Shankar were some of the high points of the festival.

The three-day festival offered platform to the upcoming talents too, but repetitions of ragas like Shuddha Sarang by Mahendra Toke or Gauti rendered by Kaivalya Kumar repeated by Rahul Sharma on santoor, could have been avoided if the organisers took care.

What gave the festival a different flavour, was the unusual and rare spectrum of Taal-Vadyas. The language of tala is not rhythm. It is concerned by the silences of language, the quiet gaps and the space where language takes its breath. This is why one can not learn a language with dictionary where you learn just the meanings of the words, not this silence. In actual fact, a keen ear for the linguistic inheritance of a people, is basic to tala. This is one reason why Indian percussionists belong to the soil, to the brogue and the dialect of a place.

This could be felt during the unique jugalbandi of mridangam and tabla between the two stalwarts, vidwan Dr. Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman and Pt. Anindo Chatterjee. Opening with “Vatapi…” in Aadi-talam, corresponding to Teentala, they had an interesting tete-a-tete where Sivaraman rarely ever beat the drum. His pleading hands on mridangam and the whispering fingers of Anindo on tabla enchanted music lovers.

The other exclusive was the ‘Stree Taal -Tarang’ of Panch-Kanyas (five female artists) negotiated by Sukanya Ramgopal, the first female ghatam player. Sukanya was on ghatam, ghata-tarang and konnakol, the mnemonic recitations. The four other Kanyas comprised Lakshmi Pillai on mridangam, Bhagyalakshmi on morching, Saumya Ramchandran on violin and Vani Manjunath on flute. The ‘Laya-Raga Samarpanam’ had both intricate rhythmic and melodic patterns especially on Sukanya’s ghata-taranga, with differently pitched ghatams meandering through the aaroh-avroh of ragas. The audience rose to applause at the sheer virtuosity, in both the cases.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 6:26:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/pleading-hands-whispering-fingers/article30115320.ece

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