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Hariprasad Chaurasia.Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

Hariprasad Chaurasia.Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The new season of Music in the Park got off to a blazing start in New Delhi.

When Spic-Macay resumed its “Music in the Park” series last Sunday, music lovers flocked to the Capital's Nehru Park in droves as the concert featured two star performers — vocalist Ustad Rashid Khan and flute maestro Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia. The event was dedicated to the memory of the shehnai wizard, the late Ustad Bismillah Khan, and a short documentary on him and his city Banaras was also shown in between the two performances.

Rashid Khan was groomed by the late Ustad Nisar Husain Khan, a stalwart of the Rampur-Sahaswan gharana, and was considered a child prodigy. He has come a long way from those days and imbibed influences from other styles as well. He very appropriately chose Puriya Dhanashree to commence his recital and rendered a vilambit khayal “Ab To Rut Aayee”. In elaborating the raga, he employed the Kirana-like badhat. In contrast with Puriya that skips the note Pancham altogether, Puriya Dhanashree blossoms in the use of Pancham. Many a time, Rashid stayed on this note for a while and established the raga's beauty with the reiteration of the phrase Ga Ma Re Ga. His deep, resonant voice was most suited for this serene raga and he approached it with due seriousness. His taans reminded one of the late Pandit Bhimsen Joshi in their force and structure, and his over indulgence towards the use of sargam was a little intriguing. So was the practice where he would sing a brisk sargam and his vocal accompanists — Nadeem Khan and Krishna Gongne — would pick up the refrain or the mukhda. He sang a drut khayal “Payaliya Jhankar” and went on to render raga Kaushik Dhwani, also known as Bhinna Shadaj. He sang this Madhyam-pradhan raga very well, eschewing the use of even murkis or khatkas. He was ably accompanied by Shubhankar Banerjee on tabla and Jyoti Guho on harmonium.

Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia has reached a stage in his evolution as an artiste where he does not have to prove anything to anybody. Several decades ago, he would try to impress his audiences by his consummate artistry and amazing skills but all that is a thing of the past. He showed another facet of his artistic personality when he chose a seemingly lilting raga Maru Bihag and treated it with utmost seriousness, almost giving the impression as if he was offering a prayer to it. His flute whispered, coaxed and cajoled at the same time and dazzled the listeners with its myriad hues. He offered a detailed exposition of the raga in the alap and jod sections and played an enchanting gat in Matta tala. After Maru Bihag, he made another apt choice by rendering Durga. It was a most satisfying performance although one failed to understand what artistic purpose the clichéd sawal-jawab exercise was meant to serve. He concluded his recital with a sweet Pahadi dhun. Vijay Ghate provided excellent accompaniment on tabla.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 11:00:16 PM |

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