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A fitting tribute to Kumar Gandharv

Wednesday, May 09, 2018
By Amarendra Dhaneshwar

Kumar Gandharv, the most creative classical singer of the 20th century passed away over 24 years ago. Yet the impact of his music still lives on. There are scores of musicians of the young generation who not only sing his evergreen compositions but also try to copy his mannerisms. Scholars try to analyse his musical ideas and overall contribution to music. His keen insight into the origin of classical ragas and their roots into folk music of Central and North India continues to impress music lovers and connoisseurs alike.

'Khayal Trust' took the initiative to organise a programme in his memory on the occasion of his birth anniversary at Dadar Matunga Cultural Centre. The programme drew a huge response from the audience. The selection of artistes was indeed remarkable. There was not a single Kumar Gandharv clone or a performer from his line. All the three singers belonged to other schools of music. The most distinguished singer was the President's Award winner Ramesh Narayan. He is perhaps the only Malayalam speaking classical singer. A well-known name in Kerala, he is a busy artiste singing as well as scoring music for films. He has been a student of the Mewati gharana maestro, Jasraj for well over two decades. Unfortunately, he is not much heard in Bombay and the surrounding areas. Ramesh Narayan sang the raga 'Multani' with a good sense of melody and rhythm. He has command of the Mewati idiom and his daughter Madhushree turned out to be an excellent co-singer. He also sang 'Shudh Basant' in style. Ashwin Walavalkar on the harmonium and Amit Chaube on the tabla lent superb support.

Jyoti Iyer, who has trained under Bhattsaheb from Bhopal and Raghunandan Panashikar sang the raga 'Yaman' in a methodical manner. Her resting points and notes meant for expansion and elaboration were grammatically correct. She also sang a composition in the raga 'Abhogi'. Niranjan Lele on the harmonium and Shantanu Shukl on the tabla lent good support. Milind Chittal, the senior Kirana gharana singer was there to wrap up the evening recital with his 'Darbari'. Chittal has a deep voice and the lower octave oriented 'Darbari' sounded very sweet and sonorous in his voice. Chittal also sang 'Jo Bhaje Hariko Sada', the Bhairavi bhajan immortalised by the late Bhimsen Joshi which was much appreciated. It was indeed a moving tribute to the great singer.

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