As the final week of year 2016 begins , I ponder as to how it fared musically , compared to earlier years… The two major festivals I could attend this year were , Surashree Kesarbai Kerkar Sangeet Samaroh , Panjim Goa , Nov 2016 and the Sawai Gandharva Music Festival Pune, Dec 2016. I did attend lots of other small concerts but am quite satisfied with the “feast” I enjoyed at these to major festivals.
To list some most memorable concerts of the year 2016 :
1) Pt Dinkar Panshikar’s morning concert, Pt Madhup Mudgal’s afternoon concert and Ut Nishat Khan’s evening concert at the Surashree Kesarbai Kerkar Samaroh , Panjim,Goa take the top slots
2) Ayush and Lakshya Mohan Gupta of Maihar gharana (Sitar-Sarod duet) of Jog and Maanjh Khamaj , on day 4 of Sawai 2016, Pt Jasraj’s Jog ,on day 2 of Sawai 2016 3) Ut Irshad Khan’s Shuddha Kalyan & Nand , on Opening day of Sawai 2016
I was going to end this list here but, to my good fortune, I casually happened to attend the Swar Bhaskar Festival Finale on Dec 25th evening, where the Kathak performance by the young and talented troupe of Anuj Mishra won over myself. It was one of the outstanding performances of vocal music , instrumental music , vocal padant and Kathak Dance that mesmerized the connoisseur audience of Pune. Anuj Mishra , Kantika Mishra and Neha Singh of Luckhnow Kathak gharana accompanied on Tabla by Abhishek Mishra trained in Banaras Gharana were awesome as a team ! The young troupe demonstrated the maturity , taleem , talent and grace of their “gharandaj” training. Their heartfelt sincerity , enthusiasm and energy won the hearts of Punekars like me. It was one of the best dance performances I have attended till date. I am just stopping short of naming this young 22 year old prodigy as the “Pt Birju Maharaj of the current generation”. All good wishes to his troupe !
Finally , to the most important and probably a milestone concert of my musical experiences.. the Dhrupad-Khyaal Sanvaad presented by Pt Ramakant and Umakant Gundecha on Nov 20th evening at Sawai Gandharva Smarak Pune. This concert , Lec-Dem was more than entertainment or enjoyment. It was an enlightenment that helped me understand the joy , Aanand of music. The taal , swar , naad and the ability of the sounds to produce a Bhaav or Ras ! This concert brought my musical experiences of years to a full cycle. I cant thank enough these maestros, for those 3 hours that truly deciphered the intricacies of the concept of “Sound” of Dhrupad ! This surely has and will help deliver many more blissful moments on the path of my musical journey !
I feel indebted to Panditji Ramakant and Umakant Gundecha ji for the graceful but free sharing of their immense knowledge !
This brings me to an interesting dialogue by Ut Bade Gulam Ali Khan saheb recorded in 1950s while delivering his quintessential ChayaNat where he succinctly explains what Khyaal Gayaki is … Thanks to Rajan Parrikar for this ten minute edited recording. The full live concert is here.
( To translate this in English : In the beginning he says Sangeet is a very difficult thing. I am afraid of Lay and Sur ..these two are very big things.. We are all “Pujari” (worshippers) of lay and sur.. we worship lay and sur.. it is only the favor and blessings of the Almighty that it creates something special.. otherwise it is just a play with air and wind ! Explaining the Khyaal gayaki (4.35) the Ustad drawing example of the bols of bandish “Nehvar baaje re” , “jhanana jhanana jhan jhan jhan jhananana baje” .. says, “if you see , these are simple day-to-day words , phrases or sentences, sometimes meaningless too, but when they come out of the mouth of Ustad as a bandish ,in a certain way , they really make huge sense !” )
What I have gathered from the pondering , musings and “Khyaal” about the classical “ness” of Hindustani music is that ; its power lies in the ability to have individualistic , subjective interpretations for each listener from simply the “sound” (Dhrupad / Tarana) , a word or phrase (Dhrupad, Sadra) or few sentences (khyaal) based on the depth of their personal life experiences.
Over the years, it has been an enriching , blissful experience in my musical sojourn, and I have observed that each year , I have been enthralled and captivated by one particular raag or couple of them, during these classical music festivals .. In 2011 it was Purvi (Puriya Dhanaashree , Basant) … In 2012 it was Yaman , Puriya, Sohoni , Marwa … In 2013 it was Todi … In 2014 it was Bhairavi …. In 2015 it was Multaani … The year 2016 belongs to Ahir Bhairav , Bhimpalas and Jog !
Along with these blissful musical experiences , year 2016 also brought out to the front, some realities of current Classical Music concerts scenario that I have mentioned as “observations” in my final report of Sawai 2016. In the non-musical domain , the reality or may I say the virtual reality of the Social Media hit me hard this December through one of the brilliant articles from New York times , that has prompted me to give up virtual reality of social media and pursue the “Three flashes I am waiting for”
This rounds up my “Khyaal”-“Pondering”-“Musings” for the year 2016 !
Adieu ! Bye Bye ! Enjoy the peaceful ecstasy of Ahir Bhairav by Pt Jasraj and Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia to end 2016 and welcome 2017 .. Aaj to Aanand .. Aanand