Music

Expect the unexpected

Scaling heights: Vocalist Manjiri Alegaonkar.  

For several decades, Akashvani (All India Radio) has been organising the Sangeet Sammelan in many parts of the country and rendering great service to Indian classical music. These live concerts are subsequently broadcast over nearly two months through the medium wave across the country, delighting millions. The concerts for 2012 were held recently in 29 cities all over India. The schedule for the Delhi programme stated a vocal recital by Pandit Jasraj, and several people had come to listen to the legend. However, in a surprise move, there was a substitution at the last minute. Pune-based vocalist Manjiri Alegaonkar was selected to fill the slot that evening. It is a credit to the music lovers that, instead of going home knowing that Panditji was not performing, many stayed on to listen to Manjiri, and they were richly rewarded for their decision.

Being a Top Grade artiste of AIR, she did not disappoint, enthralling the audience with a scintillating performance. The best part of her recital was purity of music with traditional adherence to the classical style. She started with raga Bhoop, also known in Hindustani music as Bhoopali, which is the equivalent of Carnatic raga Mohanam. It is pentatonic — five notes each in ascending and descending scale — and considered an evening raga portraying Bhakti rasa. The khayal “Eri aaj bhailava” in vilambit Teen tala and “Sahelare aa meel gaye” in drut Teen tala were rendered with great feeling. Blessed with a clear diction and good voice range, Manjiri scaled great heights effortlessly. She followed this with a crisp Bihagada raga composition, “Raina bairan been piya” in vilambit Jhap tala and “Nithoor Piya” in drut Ek tala. The bhava of this rarely heard raga, which finds mention in many ancient texts, was well brought out with special emphasis on the Jaipur Atrauli gharana. As the performance was ultimately for broadcasting on the national network on the night of October 27, she had a full 90 minutes, and it helped her expand the repertoire to cover raga Bageshri, a madhya ratri (midnight) raga, and choose the hearty “Ab na rahoo mai” ( madhya laya Jhap tala) and “Piya na mile” (drut Ek tala).

She ended the concert with the Nirgun bhajan of Kabir, “Heerana samaja-bujha bana charana”, made famous by Pandit Kumar Gandharva. The philosophy of Kabir that salvation lies in detachment from the senses and submission to the guru was evocatively and emotionally portrayed by Manjiri, casting a spell on the appreciative audience.


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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 7:25:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/music/expect-the-unexpected/article4054506.ece

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