Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Sawai Experience - Day 2

After still having to overcome Ashwinijis Marwa, somehow, Day 2 of Sawai arrived rather too soon. Before I realized it was already 2:30 in the afternoon-time to leave to get a good spot. I left in a hurry, drove recklessly, and reached Ramanbaug by 2.45. Anish, was already present, and had got a place in "Special Invitees/Semi VIP only area". However, it is risky to sit there as sometimes the organisers pull you out of there to sit in the areas reserved for normal public. Anyway, I had decided not to act oversmart, and got a place a little further back, but, which was comfortable enough as it had bamboo supports against which I could recline and rest. There was a very sweet ajoba sitting next to me, who warned me jokingly, that the area upto his walking stick was reserved for him! You only get to meet such people at concerts like Sawai. Anyway, after I settled in, I was eagerly awaiting  for Mahesh Kale to start singing.


Mahesh Kale, a disciple of Pt. Jitendra Abhisheki and Shounak Abhisheki, is one artist I ever look forward to listen after his mind blowing performance in Katyar Kaljaat Ghusali. Today was no different. I was eagerly looking forward to what he was going to sing- well, we virtually we knew that he was going to sing something from either multani or madhuvanti.  Madhuvanti it was. Accompanying him were Bharat Kamat and Sudhir Nayak. A brief alaap was followed by a bada khyal " e ho more sai kavan nagariya vasan tarap rahi dina raina" set in Vilambit Ektaal. The liberty with which Mahesh used komal Nishad was a feature of this. It produced a surreal effect of Madhuvanti, something that I had not experienced in the recordings Ive heard.The bada khyal was followed by a chhota khyal in Madhyalay Jhaptal - Shiv aaj balawant madhuvant. This was followed by a tarana in Drut Teental. Mahesh continued his performance with a raag that sounded like Puriya with a touch of Komal Dha - Kaise nike laage. He concluded his performance with the popular abhang - Abeera Gulaal Udhalit Ranga. Some of the improvisations here were fantastic, and mesmerizing. It was an exceptional performance by an exceptionally gifted artist.


Maheshs performance was followed by a performance by Shaila Datar.(No, she is not related to me directly or indirectly.) She started her performance with Raag Purvi. The only previous recording I had heard of Purvi was by Pt. Jasraj, and so for me, this was something new. I knew that Puriya Dhanashree falls in Purvi thaat, and Purvi sounded similar to Purya Dhanashree, except the r-G-r-S was absent. She sang a bada khyal - diliya Lago, in  a taal which i could not identify.This was follwed by a chhota khyaal Dhan Dhan Dulhan in teentaal. It was the first time I had heard Purvi live, and only the second time I ever heard it, so there was something new. She followed up the purvi with a composition in Mishra Dhaani. She told that in this variation of Dhaani, in which dhaivat is vyarja, DevGandharwa Bhaskarbuva Bakhale introduced two dhaivats and taught it to Baalgandharva, as it suited his voice. It was again something that I havent heard before(Mishra Dhaani I mean), nevertheless, the effect of both the dhaivats was evident. She concluded her performance with a popular abhang, Amrutahuni god naav tujhe deva. It was a very well structured an well rehersed performance, and the supporting vocals were very good. We had Samir Puntambekar on the tabla,Rahul Gole on the Harmonium, and Prasad Joshi(Who I think taught tabla in my school) on the Pakhawaj, and all of them provided very able sangat.


Shaila jis performance was followed by what turned out to be th highlight of the day - a jugalbandi between Ronu Mujumdar and Kadri Gopalnath on Flute and Saxophone respectively. The were accompanied by Ramdas Palsule and B. Hariharan on tabla and Mrudungam. I was a little apprehensive about how the saxophone will sound when used to play classical music. For jazz, it sounds awesome, for playing old hindi songs, awesome again, but classical music, I was not so sure. However, all my fears were put to rest by Kadri Gopalnath ji and his awesome handling of the instrument. The duo began with alaapi and alterate sawaal-jawab style in Haunsadhwani. Pt. Ronu mujumdar matched everything that Kadriji had to offer. The alaap consisted of simple patterns of haunsadhwani, but the effect was mesmerizing. The alaap was followed by the famous Huansadhwani composition - vaatapi ganapatim bhajeyam. The haunsadhwani was followed by Raag Chandrakauns- a raag that I was hearing live after a gap of 3 years. The alaap was elaborate, and was followed by two compositions. The feature during this piece was the cross jugalbandi- between Kadriji and Ramdas Palsule, and between Ronu Mujumdar and B.Hariharan. There was also a taalvadya jugalbandi. This was especially captivating, and I managed to capture some awesome shots of the same. The Chandrakauns was followed by the famous abhang - Teerttha Vitthal Kshetra Vitthal, and let me tell you, the saxophone sounded amazing. It was a chilling effect caused by the deep and resonating sound of the saxophone and the sweet sound of the flute. The concluding piece, on a once more demand was a bhajan - Payori mein ram ratan dhan paayo. Indeed, this was a performance that will stay in a memory for a long long time.


The concluding performance of the day was by Dr. M Balamuralikrishnan, a long time friend of Pt Bhimsen Joshi, and an institution of music and a genius himself. I am ignorant about Carnatic Sangeet, and have no idea of the pattern or ragas. I just followed what Balamuralikrishnan was singing. The first piece was a composition of his own in a raag called Mahati.. This was followed by another of his composition in raag Arabhi. He then sang raag Lavangi. (S-r-M-P-d-S, S-d-P-M-r-S) The raag was unique, and unheard. The jugalbandi between himself, the violinist and the Mrudungam player on the bol taans were exquisite. He sang another composition in the same raag, and followed it up by a tillana. He then went on to sing a composition Hanumaan Mama, in which the letter Ma in the lyrics was associated with a Ma on the musical scale- something very interesting. Dr Balamuralikrishnans voice is so smooth that it makes you hard to not like him. and his display of the whole range if voice was remarkable. It was an inspirational performance from a true master. 


The day concluded at about 9.50, after a quick grab I left for home, lost in thought, lost in the tranquility that music brings, lost in thought of nothing. It was a unique experience, and Im sure I wont be able to sleep today! Thats all for today, the photos will be up shortly after I edit them.
Eagerly awaiting tomorrows performances. Shankar Mahadevan should be amazing!




(Sorry for posting this late, I had posted it yesterday before I left for Sawai, somehow it did not show up, as MSEB had to switch off their supply when I was about to post it.)

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