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Taans That Resemble Fireworks

Wednesday, November 14, 2018
By Amarendra Dhaneshwar

Diwali mood has dominated the first fortnight of the month. Once this musician writer was in conversation with the legendary singer Kumar Gandharva. He said that the most joyous festival in our calendar was Diwali and surprisingly enough, there are hardly any ragas or compositions which depict the happy mood of Diwali in our repertoire of ragas and bandishes.

It was indeed a very sensitive and perceptive observation. Kumar Gandharva himself made a beautiful composition in what he called the raga 'Dhanabasanti' which celebrated the auspicious moment of lamp lighting. One must acknowledge that the bansuri maestro Pannalal Ghosh had composed a raga by the name Deepawali and recorded it just a few months before his premature death in 1960.

Diwali special concerts are now an in thing. In a city like Poona there are over 350 such concerts organised by scores of groups and even funded by small time and big time political aspirants. In Mumbai, this year the tempo picked up in the real sense with one such concert organised by 'Naadbrahma', an important music circle in Borivali west. It was very active a few years ago. Then it became defunct for a while. It is heartening to note that it has been revived last year and has been functioning with proper enthusiasm.

They featured the Poona-based star singer Saniya Patankar in a special Diwali appearance at Prabodhankar Thakare Hall. Saniya is a pupil of the most popular singer Ashwini Bhide. She, however, is now a singer in her own right. She sings forms like the 'tappa' and 'ashtapadi' which belong to the Gwalior 'bharata' repertoire. In this programme, she began with the raga 'Dhani' which was the right choice for the evening. It is deceptively close to the raga ' Bhimpalasi'.

Saniya developed the theme keeping in mind the mood and spirit of the raga. Saniya has a perfect command of the idiom and she is fond of displaying it too. That left an impression on the audience. Her 'Daguri' was in the typical Jaipur 'bharata' mould. It is believed that Alladiya Khansaheb composed this raga. One has heard it umpteen number of times from the maestro Ratnakar Pai, who was a resident of Borivali. She also sang a devotional 'abhang' and a Marathi 'natyageet'. Abhay Datar offered steady support on the tabla.

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