Music

When melody meets rhythm...

IN SUBLIME FORM: Sulochana Brihaspati

IN SUBLIME FORM: Sulochana Brihaspati  

Performing at ‘Subah-e-Naghmaa-o-Ahang’, Vidushi Sulochana Brihaspati shared the significant features of Rampur Sadarang tradition where sahitya and sangeet are given equal importance

The Urdu Service of All India Radio (AIR) External Service Division organised ‘Subah-e-Naghmaa-o-Ahang’, a melodious morning of morning ragas, at the India International Centre in New Delhi this past Sunday. The well attended programme had a sarod recital by Pt. Biswajit Roy Chowdhury and Hindustani vocal by Vidushi Sulochana Brihaspati, who has cherished a long association with the AIR right from the 1950s when she received first prize at the AIR Music Competition by Dr. Rajendra Prasad and straight away became a graded artiste of the AIR.

Velvety and variation

When melody meets rhythm...

The morning took off with Bilaskhani Todi on sarod. This pathos filled velvety variation of raga Todi is said to be created by Bilas Khan, the son of Miyan Tansen, on his father’s death in a grief stricken state. The teevra or sharp madhyam of Todi becomes komal here, with the tenderness that was evident in the elaborate alap-jod jhala and the slow and fast compositions on sarod presented by Pt. Biswajit Roy Choudhury. The contrasting Kakubh Bilawal next, was a rare variety of raga Bilawal with a combination of ragas Jhinjhoti and Jaijaiwanti. He concluded with Rupak and a Teentala compositions in raga Desi, popularised by the song, “Äaj gaavat man mero jhoom ke” sung as a jugalbandi by Ustad Amir Khan and Pt. D. B. Paluskar for the film “Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje”. Ud. Rafiuddin Sabri accompanied him on tabla with much understanding and restrain.

Vidushi Sulochana Brihaspati, the authentic representative of Rampur Sadarang parampara, took the stage thereafter along with her accompanying artistes Pt. Bharat Bhushan Goswami on sarangi and Sudhir Pande on tabla and opened her scholarly vocal recital with raga Yamani Bilawal, a significant variety of raga Bilawal, redolent with the fragrance of Yaman, with its teevra madhyam. The introductory aalap, auchar, was followed by the bada khayal, “Äaj anand bhayo Nand ghar...” set to slow paced Chatushk Ektal and the chhota khayal; but neither the seasoned voice of the vocalist nor the sarangi or tabla were audible due to some technical problem, which could be mended only after the first raga.

A postgraduate in English literature from Allahabad University, Sulochana started training under Pt. Balwant Rai Bhatt in Allahabad and later under Ud. Mushtaq Hussain Khan of Rampur Sahaswan gharana. She was properly trained in the Sadarang Parampara of Rampur after coming under the tutelage of Acharya K.C. Deva Brihaspati, who later became her husband. She learnt the raga rahasya, the secret of ragas, under him and also authored the book ‘Ŕaga Rahasya’ along with him, practically discussing these secrets with proper examples of compositions or bandishes the Acharya composed with the pseudonym Anangrang.

The Indira Gandhi National Centre of Arts (IGNCA) is publishing these compositions of Rampur Sadarang Parampara under her latest ongoing project.

Delineating Sadrang style

The SNA Awardee shared the significant features of Rampur Sadarang Parampara . This style, she explained, is greatly influenced by the tradition of been in Dhrupad, which is especially evident in alap and badhat or elaboration of the raga. Rampur durbar had a host of dhrupadia (Dhrupad singers), pakhawaji (pakhawaj players) and beenkars (Veena players) like Ud. Bahadur Husain Khan. The great grandfather of Acharya Brihaspati, Pt. Dutta Ram, a great scholar of jyotish and tantra-shastra, was a contemporary of Bahadur Hussain Khan. There used to be lot of give and take between the scholars of different fields that adorned the Rampur durbar.

Coming back to the salient features of this gayaki, she reiterates that the Rampur Sadarang tradition, first of all, emphasises on the purity of ragas. Then comes the sahitya, which is given due importance, say equal to sangeet. The balance of sur and laya, melody and rhythm, the combination of sahitya and sangeet, these are indispensable features of the Sadarang Parampara. When you mention the name of Sadarang remember that he was a real ´Vak-Geya-Kar´, a composer who had profound knowledge of Sahitya and Sangeet both.

These days sometimes we come across wrongly worded compositions of Sadarang because of illiterate musicians who replaced the correct words with the wrong ones because they did not know the meaning. Take for instance the Bilawal bandish, “Daiya kahan gaye...”, where in the antara (the second half of the composition) one hears, “Na more pankh na payal pasu¨”. Payal, the anklet makes no sense here. It was payas that meant messenger. The line would thus mean “neither I have wings to fly and come to you, nor have a messenger to send you the message.” This is the reason why Sulochana sings mostly the compositions composed by the learned composer or vakgeykar Ánagarang.

One could notice all these features when the concert resumed after the sound system was properly attended. The rich and varied exploration of raga Hindol in the been ang aalap and the composition “Garab nahin keeje...” set to Jhaptala, saw Sulochana ji in her elements. The Dhrupad ang treatment of the Sadra composition, this tradition is known for, and the well conceived variety of taans were mirrored in the sarangi of Pt. Bharat Bhushan Goswami.

The rhythmic play of bol-baant and variety of tihais inspired Sudhir Pande to revel in rhythm while providing support on his broad faced tabla that sounded like a pakhawaj.

She also presented a drut Ektala bandish in this raga, before winding off her eloquent concert with a bhajan of Tulsidas in raga Mishra Bhairavi. Her two worthy disciples especially Sarita Pathak, provided her support as and when required.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 4:26:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/when-melody-meets-rhythm/article22295516.ece

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