Music

Singing paeans to his guru

UPENDRA BHATT   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

At ‘Swaranjali,' a tribute to Bhimsen Joshi that was held in Kochi, Upendra Bhat, a senior disciple of the late maestro, presented a Hindustani classical music concert. It was an interactive musical experience, wherein the vocalist shared anecdotes of his guru and also talked about the unique aspects of his guru's gharana.

Although, through his lineage, Joshi belonged to the Kirana gharana, he had formed a gharana of his own with his unique style of singing and presentation. Upendra started the concert with a Konkani bhajan. He then moved on to the main piece in rag Puriya Dhanashri.

Melodious moments

‘Araj karo,' a bandish set to Vilambit teen tal, had many moments of scintillating melody and emotion. He demonstrated taans interspersed with explanations of Joshi's style of suffusing melody and gamaks into his taans to make them his own. The drut piece ‘Payaliya chankao' was sung with sargam. But for this item, sadly, the concert, which was billed as a full-fledged classical concert, lacked weight in content.

Nevertheless, the items that followed elicited thunderous applause from the audience. A thumri in Khamaj was followed by ‘Ninneno Ranganatheno,' a Kannada song in raga Desh. Joshi was perhaps the only Hindustani musician to have a repertoire of recordings and renditions in Kannada. Upendra recreated Joshi's celebrated Kannada number ‘Soubhagyada Lakshmi Baramma.'

Marathi Abhangs, sung at a fast pace to the soft beats of Kartaal, were rich in devotional fervour. Dinesh Shenoy and Ranga Pai gave wholesome rhythmic support on the tabla.

Primacy of voice culture

Kalashri, a raga developed by Joshi, along with a Bandish composed by the late maestro, was rendered with relish. The primacy of voice culture in Joshi's gharana was another point that the vocalist strove to convey. Upendra used different tonalities to convey the feel.

Marathi Bhavgeeth and popular bhajans such as ‘Payoji meine' enchanted the audience. Upendra's rendition of the popular Tulsi bhajan ‘Janakinaath sahay' was mellifluous.

The audience support was so generous that some of the listeners wrote down the lyrics of certain popular Tulsi bhajans such a ‘Janakinaath sahay' for the vocalist, who sang them mellifluously. Shankar Shenoy supported the vocalist well on the harmonium. Upendra brought the concert to a charming end with a two-line rendition of Joshi's version of the evergreen ‘Mile sur mera tumhara.' The programme at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Hall was organised by P.G. Kamath Foundation and Sangam Kala Group.


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Printable version | Jan 17, 2022 1:43:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/music/singing-paeans-to-his-guru/article2015533.ece

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