Music

Destination love

Kishori Amonkar. Photo: Bhagya Prakash K   | Photo Credit: Bhagya Prakash K

Kishori Amonkar, the uncrowned empress of Indian classical music, was recently in town for the Sangeet Natak Award ceremony where she was made an Akademi Ratna) Fellow. When I met her in the evening she was looking divinely peaceful.

Kishori Tai, as people call her fondly, is emphatic on her thoughts about gharana. She believes that the music is main, and not the gharana. Music should be such that touches your heart. Music should succeed in inducing a deep emotional pang. This is only possible, she says, through alap which should have the poetics of music, not only the dramatics.

Kishori Tai unambiguously expresses her dissatisfaction on today's trend of performers who believe more in dramatics. She says music is the sadhan or medium to reach the ultimate sadhya or destination. Every sadhan has its own purpose. Sometimes, it requires you to go above sadhan to reach the sadhya — the heart of the listeners — to become unified with the emotions.

Kishori Tai's advice to all aspirant performers and students of music: “First of all you have to believe in bhav (emotions) so that a sense of separation grows in the heart. The more you feel the pain of separation, the closer you come to the real emotion of the raga. People do not come to listen to the performer, they come to listen to the raga and imbibe it in their hearts. Any effort to show your own emotions or pangs while performing is undesirable.”

Asked about her preferences among ragas, she says all ragas are classical and there is nothing beyond it. Every individual raga has its own emotion.

With this single-minded approach to raga, how much importance does she ascribe to the bandish (composition)? The veteran explains, “Sur, tala and laya remain supreme. Bandish should not be the main focus area. It may hamper the effort to create a perfect ambiance.” She clarifies, “When one is singing bhajan or any devotional song, in that scenario, there is no point in doing gymnastics of sur. The murkiya, etc. shall mar the effect of divinity of the song.”

As to the trend of diluting ragas and creating fusion in the name of popularising classical music among the masses, her reply is short and crisp: “Love cannot be shared.” Kishori Tai says she simply wants to convey to every individual through her music her message that “I love you”. It is up to each individual performer how he or she expresses love.

She then makes another significant statement, saying she is now trying to eliminate Kishori Amonkar from the music and wishes only music remains.

It is clear Kishori Amonkar is slowly and gradually becoming music herself.


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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 1:03:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/music/Destination-love/article15795501.ece

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