Saturday, 9 January 2010

The Sawai Experience- Day 2

Yesterday was the 2nd day of the 57th Sawai Gandharwa. The programme was scheduled to start at 4. After the exuberent opening day before, with all the big guns firing, my interest and enthusiasm was sky-high.Fortunately, my classes finish at 12:30 on fridays, which was a real plus, as I could reach well before time and take hold of a comfortable place to sit. I started at 3.30 from college, and reached Ramanbaug at 3.45. I thought I was late and would have to sit in some corner. However, this was not to be. I got a comfortable place to sit, right in the middle, on the "Balcony" stage.

After much hubbub and discussions on how the speaker system would react today, will there be any echos etc, the programme finally flagged off at about 4:15, Rajendra Kandalgaonkar delivering the opening performance. He performed, a technical glitches free, but a repitition from yesterday, by singing Raag Multani, with exactly the same bandish.However, probably because of where I was sitting, I felt, that it was much better than yesterday-basically as there was no echo. The raag was sounding extremely similar to Todi, and this was confirmed by a conversation with some aaji sitting next to me, that the raag was from todi thaat. After Multani, he performed a thumri in Raag Pahadi, and then ended his programme by singing the Abhang "Pandhari Nivas Sakhya Pandurang".

There was a change in plan after Rajendra Kandalgaonkar had finished. According to the schedule, the slot was for Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasiya. However, it was taken by Shrinivas Joshi, who has taken up singing, even though he is a Btech graduate from IIT Powai!. Well, no offence meant, but it started a mass exodus. People are not that enthusiastic about his singing. However, i feel that he was quite good. He sang Raag Puriya Kalyan. It was quite good, but not captivating enough. I mean, we are going to compare him with Pt. Bhimsen Joshi anyway. Even me, being a reluctant walk out in between a performance, went out, with I must say, quite a foresight, to bring in Pulao for later. However, I must say, i did the right thing, as what he did after he finished singing Puriya Kalyan was simply amazing. Shrinivas Joshi, as a tribute to Pt. Bhimsen Joshi has composed 4 bandishs on his father. The first one was about his "Maun", and was composed in Raag Basant Mukhani. The 2nd on the views of others about him. This was one of the best hindi lines I have heard in some time. It was composed in Darbari Kanada. The third and 4th were thumri style compositions describing the hardships he faced, his struggles, and his melodious voice. I am sure, I will buy these if I can find them. They are all very well written. Shrinivas Joshi finished off his performance by singing the abhanga "Maze Maher Pandhari."

After Shrinivas Joshi, the expectant audience was blessed with listening to Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia. Panditji himself said that he has only performed at Sawai at night slots was delighted to have an evening slot, so he could present different Raags. He was accompanied by expert precussionists Pt. Vijay Ghate on the tabla and Bhavani Shankar on the Pakhawaj. He started off by playing Raag Bhup, accompanied by the Pakhavaj. Interestingly, the pakhavaj got me quite captivated. Every time it was struck, its notes resonated in my body, and i could actually feel its vibrations in the bamboo poles! It seems to be an instrument to intimidate others, especially your enemies- it gives you a chill in your spine. After playing Bhup for about half an hour, Hariji started playing Raag Maru Bihag, this time accompanied by Pt. Vijay Ghate. Again, the effect was mesmerising. Hariji then played Raag Durga, which when he declared he was going tp play, received a tremendous applause. This time he was accompanied by both the tabla and the pakhavaj. This was a never before heard experience for me- Flute, Table and Pakhavaj. The trio were drawing waah-waahaj almost every 2 minutes. I have never quite heard anything like it! The ground was jam packed, and probably there was no place to stand as well!! The Pune audience i guess is very much receptive of Classical music, as they made Hariji perform one more piece- this time a thumri in Pahaadi, before letting him go. I was in awe of the performance. He must be well over seventy, and he played that flute for 2 hours flat! Amazing!

When Hariji finished playing, it was probably the epitome of the day. But the lively mood was kept alive and carried through to the end, by Malini Rajurkar. I am a big fan of hers, and often when I am disturbed, I calm myself by listening to her wonderful rendition of Malkauns.  I was hoping that she would sing it, but I guess god doesn’t listen to you all the time, and while Pt. Jasraj had sung what I really wanted to hear, Maliniji did not. Instead, she started off with Raag Kaushi Kanada, which, in the end, did sound somewhat similar to Malkauns. I had no idea that such a Raag even existed till yesterday. However, it was extremely soothing, and seemed like it had parts of Malkauns and Darbari Kanada in it. After a brilliant performance, Malini Rajurkar went on to sing Raag Bhairavi, to draw curtains on what was to be yet another brilliantly spent day for me.

 You can refer to all the Raags performed yesterday by clicking on the links below:
1) Raag Multani- Rajendra Kandalgaonkar
2) Raag Pahadi- Rajendra Kandalgaonkar and Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia(performed seperately)
3)Raag Puriya Kalyan- Shrinivas Joshi
4)Raag Bhup- Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia
5)Raag Maru Bihag- Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia
6)Raag Durga- Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia
7)Raag Kaushi Kanada- Malini Rajurkar
8)Raag Bhairavi- Malini Rajurkar

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