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A Soulful Ahir Bhairav

Tuesday, May 28, 2019
By Amarendra Dhaneshwar

Dawn concerts have become an in thing for the enlightened metropolitan audience. The trend was started by some Delhi organizers who invited leading artistes like Kishori Amonkar during winter months at beautiful venues like the Nehru Park for early morning concerts

It was replicated by enthusiastic Diwali Pahat organizers in this city and the formulae met with ready success. One wistfully recalls the unforgettable rendition by Amonkar of the raga 'Bibhas' at Dadar Matunga Cultural Centre over three decades ago. An imginative event management outfit like 'Pancham Nishad Creatives Limited' latched on to the concept and began the 'Pratahswar' series at the Ravindra Natya Mandir which has an expansive open air foyer. Once a month, on a Sunday morning the concert begins at 6.30 am and goes on till 8.30 am when sitting in the hot sun becomes slowly unbearable.

This month the performer was Dhananjay Hegde who hails from Banglore and is now settled here in Mumbai. Hegde, a former childhood prodigy has trained under his mother Geetha and later on from the well known singer Vinayak Torvi. Vinayak Torvi's orginal grooming was under the late Gururao Deshpande who was a Gwalior gharana singer.

Torvi, like singers from his peer group, has been deeply influenced by the singing style of the great Bhimmsen Joshi. Hence, one finds a blend of Gwalior and Kirana styles in his music which Dhanjanjay has inherited. He began with the raga 'Ahir Bhairav'. 'Rasiya Mhara', a traditional khyal composition set to slow ek taal was sung with due care. 'Ahir Bhairav' uses the note komal rishabh (r) as well as shuddh dhaivat (d).It is, in a way, a wonderful combination of the raga 'Bhairav' and 'Kafi'.

Hegde sings in a steady voice and has good command of melody and rhythm. His handling of the raga was competent as expected He also sang the raga 'Nat Bhairav'. The composition, an ode to the Lord Siva, is by the famour singer Dr Ashwini Bhide. This too was rendered with complete sense of integrity. Hegde concluded with a devotional Kannada number which could reach across transcending the language barrier.

Hegde was accompanied on the tabla by Vishwanath Shirodkar who was enegetic as usual. On the harmomiun was Seema Shirodkar who was quietly and unobtrusively efficient.

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