Kerala

Ghazal makes a steady climb at Kerala school fete

Asna S.T. of St. Joseph’s HSS, Alappuzha, rendering a ghazal.

Asna S.T. of St. Joseph’s HSS, Alappuzha, rendering a ghazal.  

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Quality of contest has improved vastly after a low-key debut in 2013

A soft female voice singing Dil ki baat labon par laa kar..., accompanied by the sounds of harmonium and tabla, greets one at the Little Flower Girls School on Saturday morning. Yes, it is Mehdi Hassan’s popular ghazal, but now it is being rendered by Nithya Sabu, a student of Sacred Heart GHSS, Muthalakodam (Idukki). She has done a good job too, competing in the HS section of Ghazal on the third day of the State School Arts Festival.

A little later, K. Gayathri of Rani Jai HSS, Nirmalagiri, Kannur, also impresses with Dil e nadan tujhe hua kya hai.., the celebrated ghazal written by Mirza Ghalib. Her voice sounds more mature than her years, and her base in classical music shines through. And several others too floor the crowd – like Yumna Ajin, who already has a fan-following after her performance on Zee TV’s popular music competition ‘Saregamapa.’

Heavy on poetry

Make no mistake. Ghazal, with its heavy accent on poetry and melody, is gaining in popularity at the school festival. It had begun on a low key note at the 2013 edition in Malappuram, but has covered considerable distance since.

The art form, the origin of which dates back to the seventh century, is bound to flourish in the State once it hogs limelight at the school festival. Already quite a few accompanying musicians are engaged by the contestants and the singers, who otherwise get few stages, are in big demand.

Acclaimed singers

Though ghazal has its admirers in places like Kozhikode and other parts of Malabar, it is not among the most popular forms of music in the State. But, Kerala has already produced performers like Gayatri Asokan and Jitesh Sundaram, who have impressed before the discerning, demanding audience north of the Vindhya.

Of course, ghazal maestros such as Jagjit Singh, Ghulam Ali and Pankaj Udhas have their own die-hard fans in Kerala. Now, more youngsters could very well start discovering this soft, soothing kind of music featuring deeply romantic as well as highly philosophic lines.

Not-so-easy Urdu

One has seen the young competitors at the festival getting better with each passing year; the diction – it never is easy to get it right in Urdu – of many of the students these days are pretty good.

The quality of judging has become better too, after the authorities did the right thing by tilting the balance of the panel towards music than the pure knowledge of Urdu. Earlier, there was just one musician but two language pundits.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 6:48:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/ghazal-makes-a-steady-climb-at-kerala-school-fete/article30126306.ece

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