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Elevating & captivating monsoon ragas

Tuesday, August 08, 2017
By Amarendra Dhaneshwar

Hindustani music has several unique features. One of them is the seasonal ragas like 'Megh’, 'Miyan Ki Malhar' and other varieties of 'Malhar'. These ragas are sung or played in the rainy season and they offer additional listening pleasure when heard in the right environment. "In the West, the rains are looked upon as an unwelcome nuisance. In India, they are seen as a boon from the nature Gods. Therefore, the rains are an occasion for celebration which is reflected in the ragas meant to be performed particularly in this season," said the celebrated sitar maestro Ravi Shankar in his autobiography.  

The late Kumar Gandharva was respected for his many path breaking innovations in the field of Hindustani music. He not only composed 12 new ragas, but also made hundreds of compositions in the existing ragas and offered a fresh perspective on them. It was Kumar Gandharva, who designed a full fledged monsoon special performance comprising ragas, raginis and semi classical forms like thumri and tappa as well as folk songs showing traces of raga music. This year's edition of 'Barkha Ritu' hosted by 'Banyan Tree Events' and sponsored by 'Larsen & Toubro Financial Services' was rightly dedicated to Kumar Gadharva. It began  with a performance by his senior pupil  and studious musician Satyasheel Deshpande. He sang the  famous Kumar composition 'Ritu Aayee Bole Mora Re' which is a lovely compound of 'Gaud Malhar' and 'Des'.Deshpande whose singing is interspersed  with some extempore commentary also sang two Agra gharana compositions in 'Gaud Malhar'. Shaunak Abhisheki, leading classical vocalist of the new generation sang a spirited ''Miyan Ki Sarang' which is again is a type of 'Malhar' called 'Vrindavani Malhar'.There was some light weight singing by  the composer/singer Salil Kulkarni. Niranjan Lele on the harmonium and Prasad Padhye on the tabla lent superb instrumental support.  The programme concluded with a sitar recital by Shujat Khan, son and heir of maestro Vilayat Khan.

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