Friday Review

A melange of genres

TRADITIONAL TOUCH A scene from the event  

Rangayan, the pioneering institute of music, dance and theatre in Guwahati, presented Rang-Sangam, a festival of music and dance, at Shri Madhava Deva auditorium of Shrimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra in Guwahati recently. What made it different from the run-of-the-mill cultural events was the bringing together of the three streams of Sattriya, Hindustani and Carnatic musical styles along with different classical dance forms on one stage. The two-day festival was thoughtfully conceived and efficiently executed by the SNA awardee Sharodi Saikia, the founder director Rangayan.

Inspired by the Vaishnava Bhakti movement, the Sattriya music and dance are an integral part of the daily rituals of the Vaishnava Sattras (monasteries) of Assam. Shrimanta Shankara Deva and his principle apostle Madhava Deva and some of their senior disciples had composed the large corpus of lyrics in praise of Lord Krishna and Rama, based on a distinct raga and tala patterns. The Gayan Bayan is mostly performed with accompaniment of khol or mridang, the pati tal, bhor tal khuti tal. It was a kind of spiritual experience to watch these artistes, who sang and played khol and cymbals in the ecstatic dance movements when the festival opened with the devotional fervour of ‘Gayan-Bayan’ in Sattriya style, presented by the artistes of Uttar Kamalabari Sattra, Majuli Island.

‘Tridhara’ was a unique presentation of the three streams of music conceived by Prof. Krishna Roy Chaudhury in the tuneful voices of Mitali Dey and Tarali Sharma next evening. The talented duo opened with Sattriya music singing a ‘Borgeet’, the devotional song composed by Shrimanta Shankar Deva in a unique Sattriya raga that had close resemblance to Hindustani Bhupali or the Carnatic Mohanam. There was a lot of scope of Vistara, Sargam and Taan patterns in Sattriya raga also it was delineated alternately by both the vocalists.

This was followed with the Hindustani Bhoop along with a lovely composition of Vidushi Ashwini Bhide “Ragan ke darbar biraje…” symbolising raga Bhoop as the supreme emperor amongst all the Hindustani ragas. The bandish was adorned with Sargam, Aakar and Bol-taans in varied patterns. This was followed by the Carnatic raga Mohanam with an impressive composition of Dr. L. Subramaniam along with a Tillana, set to Aditalam.

Tridhara in rhythm was presented through the important percussions instruments of the three systems with Guru Ghanakanta Bora on Sattriya Khol, Mannarkoil G. Balaji on Carnatic Mridangam and Ankit Parikh on Hindustani Pakhawaj. The introductory solo rounds by all three ace percussionists were followed by the Tisra, Chatusra, Khand, Misra rhythmic combinations in 3,4,5,7 et al beats cycles respectively reaching the climax of the Sawal-Jawab sequence between the mridangam and pakhawaj concluding with an elaborate Gopuchchh Yati Tihai, gradually receding in 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 to the ultimate ‘Sam’ inviting a resounding applause.

There was also a Hindustani flute recital by Chetan Joshi on the inaugural evening, who played raga Bhupali for his main raga, concluding with a melodious Dhun. The variety of dance showcased Nangiar Koothu from Kerala, by Dr. Indu G. Nair on the inaugural evening and ‘Vande Mataram’, a multi-style dance choreography with Pratibha Prahlad-Bharatanatyam, Ranjana Gauhar-Odissi, Vanashree Ro-Kuchipudi, Rajendran Pillai- Kathakali, Harish Gangani -Katha, Meernanda-Sattriya, Jayaprabha Menon-Mohiniyattam, S. Nandita Devi -Mohiniyattam, Yogesh Kuleshwar-Chhau and Sharodi Saikia- Sattriya underlined the unity in the rich cultural diversity of India.

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2020 10:32:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/A-melange-of-genres/article16091759.ece

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