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Elevating Raga Rendering

Wednesday, October 17, 2018
By Amarendra Dhaneshwar

Sarangi maestro Ramnarayan is one of the truly world class musicians of our country. Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan, Vilayat Khan, Halim Jaffer Khan and Ramnarayan rose to great heights during the prime of their careers. The sarangi has always fascinated the music aficionados in the West. During the British times too, we come across the descriptions of sahibs and memsahibs completely bowled over by the sound of the sarangi. In recent times, it was the genius of the players like Ramnarayan which extended the appeal of the sarangi beyond the shores of the sub continent.

Ramnarayan set up a foundation  for propagating music and for felicitating worthy musicians. Among those who he honoured were Gangubai Hangal, Phiroze Dastur and Halim Jaffer Khan. His foundation also gives encouragement to young talent by providing them a platform. Last week, a similar evening concert was organised by the Ramnarayan Foundation at the plush Veer Savarkar Auditorium.

The programme began with a vocal recital by young Viraj Shrinivas Bhimsen Joshi who is a grandson of the celebrated vocalist. Viraj sang the raga 'Maru Bihag'.This raga has the typical Kirana gharana stamp on it and Viraj sang it in the way his grandfather would have approached the raga. His voice is slowly maturing. His slow khyal 'Rasiya Aavo Na' and the medium tempo 'Pari Mori Naav' had flashes of the Bhimsen sparkle.He was accompanied on the tabla by young Tarun Lala and on the harmonium by Abhimanyu Ravande.Both were brilliant.

Brijnarayan, the eminent sarodiya played absorbing alaps in the raga 'Shankara'. It is a raga which is oriented towards the upper octave. That sounds particularly sweet on the sarod. Brijnarayan's jod alaap was power packed. He did a wise thing by switching to a different raga .'Gavati' for playing the gat composition. Kalinath Mishra was excellent on the tabla as usual. The programme concluded with serene alaps and jod in the raga 'Jhinjhoti' by the ace dhrupad singer Uday Bhawalkar. His voice, full of depth and emotion and perfectly aligned to the sur of the tanpura transported us to an altogether different world. Manik Mundhe offered support on the pakhavaj.

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