Imitation versus inspiration

Vocalist Harish Tiwari performing at Naad Aura's event.  

Pandit Amarnath was one of the senior disciples of Ustad Amir Khan and was known for having imbibed the style of his guru very well. He was also an excellent teacher. A two-day Miturang Festival was organised last week at India International Centre by Pandit Amarnath Memorial Foundation to mark his 17th death anniversary. The festival concluded with a flute recital by Ronu Majumdar who chose Abhogi for the evening. Himself aware that it was a little too early to play this raga, he said he had thought of some other raga but suddenly felt a strong urge to play Abhogi.

Ronu Majumdar keeps mainly to the style of what has come to be known as the Maihar school. Abhogi is a Carnatic raga that acquired wide acceptance in the Hindustani system in the last century. It was a favourite of Ustad Amir Khan as well. Abhogi gives wide berth to Nishad and Pancham. Due to the special use of Komal Gandhar, it has close affinity with the Kanhada group of ragas and is often referred to as Abhogi Kanhada. Ronu Majumdar played a Maihar style alap and accorded due importance to the mandra saptak movements. However, just before the jod began, one could discern occasional intrusion of Bageshree-like phrases. However, they did not disturb the integrity of the raga or diminish its overall impact. He came into his element when he played two compositions — one in Rupak and the other in Teen tala. He gave a good account of himself while displaying layakari and his flute did not sound too unmusical in the fast passages in upper octave. Sudhir Pande and Kalpesh accompanied him on tabla and flute respectively.

On Tuesday, Naad Aura organised a concert at India Habitat Centre to pay tribute to the memory of tabla wizard Pandit Anokhe Lal Mishra. The evening opened with a violin recital by Vijay Choubey who was accompanied on tabla by Govind Shukla. Choubey’s choice of Des was rather intriguing as Des is generally treated as a major raga during the rainy season. This Khamaj-thaat raga has a folksy character and has its roots in an older raga Sorath that has now become almost extinct. What distinguishes Des from Sorath is the explicit use of Gandhar. Choubey brought out the character of the raga quite well in the gats that he played although his violin did occasionally produce a screeching sound, especially in the fast passages and taans. He concluded his recital with a dhun.

Harish Tiwari, whose last guru was none other than Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, opened his vocal recital with Puriya Dhanashree and sang a Vilambit Ek tala khayal followed by a Drut Teen tala composition. He has modelled his gayaki completely on the style of his last guru and developed a voice that is reminiscent of the late maestro. There was nothing wrong with his performance that offered an authentic exposition of the raga, giving due prominence to Pancham. Still, one did not feel musically satiated as one kept waiting for that magical moment when the artiste’s own creativity comes forth and the listener is transported into a higher realm of experience. Tiwari was accompanied by Kumar Rishitosh on tabla and Vinay Mishra on harmonium.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2022 10:56:59 PM |

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