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Carrying Forward A Legacy

Wednesday, March 06, 2019
By Amarendra Dhaneshwar

The Agra gharana is one of the main gharanas of Hindustani khyal music. It has its roots in the Dhrupad Dhamar tradition. Singers of the Agra gharana have not only entertained generations of music lovers, but have also been dedicated teachers who have generously transfered 'Vidya' to deserving pupils. One such venerable singer was the late Khadim Hussain Khan. He lived in South Bombay which was once the veritable citadel of Hindustani music. Khadim Hussain Khan whose nom de plume was 'Sajanpiya' wrote and composed many attractive 'bandishes' in  some known and some unknown ragas which are still sung by musicians trained in the Agra tradition.

One of his well known disciples is Ms Lalith Rao, the Banglore based Vidushi. Rao herself has trained scores of young musicians. Some of them have already made a name for themselves. The most prominent among them is Bharathi Prathap who was featured at the memorial programme organized by the Dadar Matunga Cultural Centre.

Singing in a crystal clear voice, Bharathi began with the raga 'Poorva' which not much heard on the concert platform. It is a challenge to maintain the identity of the raga and keep it away from 'Poorvi' or 'Puriya Dhanashri'. Bharathi could maintain the delicate balance. The melodic element in the raga was very appealing. Even in the post intermission 'Gaud Malhar' as well as in the alap section of 'Tilak Kamod' her music had a compelling pull. The Agra gharana gives a certain emphasis on 'layakari' which was evident in Bharathi Prathap's singing too. There is some extremely genuine modesty in her which is very transparent and worthy of admiration. Abhay Datar on the tabla and Niranjan Lele on the harmonium lent superb support to Bharathi Prathap.

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