I had been planning to visit Dharwad for quite some time and much to my delight,Sitar Ratna Rahimat Khan memorial concerts gave me a right opportunity to explore this land of Dharwad: with a typical Northern-Karnataka culture , simplicity and that rustic touch that makes one nostalgic.
In the first week of December regions of Dharwad-Hubali early in the morning , greeted by the rising sun on a flat land with a slight tinge of winter gave a feel of vastness but nearness to nature.
Simple , unassuming people with a town that has a touch of “Malgudi” is how I grasped the first impression of Dharwad. To my delight that proved to be true over next six days.
The Hoysala Hotel , Basappa Khanavali , Kamat Hotel and the Prabhu Khanavali were the places that satisfied my taste buds.
The Sangeetutsav in memory of Sitar Ratna Ustad Rahimat Khan at Dharwad was a six day event ,star-studded, worth attending for every classical music aficionado ! Held at the Srijana Auditorium,in the campus of Karnataka College Dharwad , the festival was spread over 6 days, star studded and an attraction of all night concert involving 7 artists on Saturday December 6th.
Dec 1 – Monday
Sons of Ut Bale Khan ,Raes and Hafiz Bale Khan presented their mastery on Sitar followed by Kathak dance by Nirupama Rajendra
Dec 2 – Tuesday
Sripad Hegde of Dharwad Vocal tradition , a disciple of Baseshwar Rajguru and Pt Ganpati Bhat demonstrated his vocal grip over all three saptak with melodious taans. The highlight of the day was however the Violin Trio of three generations of Rajams Vidushi N Rajam , Sangita Shankar and Nandini Shankar mesmerised the overpacked crowd and won the hearts of one and all. Their exposition of Hindustani as well as Carnatic styles was appreciated by one and all.
Dec 3 – Wed
Ratan Bharati with slide guitar and Mohsin Khan on Sitar presented a beautiful Charukeshi jugalbandi which was crisp and demonstrative of their lineage and training.
The much awaited concert of Pt Venkatesh Kumar , was the first in the series of Dharwad vocal tradition .. Venkatesh Kumar presented Shuddha Kalyan with mastery over taans and ended swiftly with bhajans in kannada and a bhairavi.
Dec 4 – Thurs
The father son , Guru-Shishya duo of Alok and Abhishek Lahiri on Sarod gave a masterful presentation of Raag Hemant followed by a dhun in mishra kafi. A very short but sweet rendition was much appreciated by the crowd that was eagerly waiting for the presentation by the able son of Dharwad ..Jayteerth Mevundi who did not disappoint. He presented a rare bandish in Yaman followed by kannada bhajans and a bhairavi – laxmi baramma.
Dec 5 – Friday
The overcrowded auditorium on the friday evening was eagerly awaiting the concert of the day starting with the Sitar trio of Ut Rahimat Khan lineage Ut Chote Rahimat Khan , Rafik khan and Shafik Khan. They presented together Madhuvanti and concluded with a Khamaj Dhun.
The darling of crowd Kaushiki Chakravorty presented Yaman with her “Taan-Chandi” style , accompanied in a “jugalbandi” style by Pt Vijay Ghate on Tabla and ably supported by Vyasmurti Katti on Harmonium.
At the farmaish of organizers, She presented a Thillana compostition in Raag Kalyani . The concert ended with a Bhairavi thumri.
Dec 6 – Saturday was the special concert day all the audience were waiting for. The all night concerts starting at 9pm was a musical treat for connoisseurs.
The session started with Pt Dhruv Ghosh on Sarangi presenting a rare evening raag of Kaafi thaat- Barawa. His “singing” sarangi was a treat to ears. With the thoughful and precise taans a very cosy and pleasant atmosphere was created in minutes. Pt Ravidra Yavagal on Tabla was examplery with his soft touch and apt accompaniment. Pt Ghosh then proceeded to Raag Jog in a stoic (धीर – गंभीर) fashion and the rendition reached a new hight with the presentation of Sadra – जनम जनम से .. creating a kind of pathos appropriate to sarangi.The rendition was soulful , contemplative and touched deep inside the heart. The soft tabla accompaniment complemented in creating the enigmatic milieu which the audience deeply applauded.
Kalpana Zokarkar started her presentation by 11pm with bada khyaal in Bageshree accompanied by Mayank Bedekar on Tabla and Vyasmurti Katti on Harmonium. She wrapped up her time slot with a short but sweet chotaa khyal in Raag Sohoni.
By half past midnight it was the turn of Pt Vijay Ghate to present solo tabla which was energetic , lively and very well received by the younger crowd.
The son of soil , Pt Kaivalya Kumar Gurav took over the stage at 2am and began with Chandrakauns, followed it up with Adana. Strangely, he presented a Bhairavi Thumri to end his rendition to the surprise of many as the concert session was yet to have three more senior artistes following !
By 4am it was the turn of Rakesh Chaurasia on Flute and Pt Vijay Ghate on Tabla to take over the audience. They together had that chemistry to present a jugalbandi style rendition starting with Ahir-Bhairav. They woke up the crowd with a lively presentation that ended with a short Bhatiyali Dhun by 5am.
It was almost 5.15 am that Pt Ganpati Bhat started aptly with Nat-Bhairav with a series of taans that ended right on sam, he created a serious morning contempletive mood. His choice of next presentation .. Ahiravati was greatly applauded for its precise aptness for early morning hours. Ahiravati is a mixed raag comprising of Ahir-Bhairav, Vibhas and Kalavati.
It was 6.30 in the morning that the final concert of the festival started with Pt Nishat khan on Sitar accompanied by Pt Ravindra Yavagal on Tabla.
I must say that this was one of best gifts that music connoisseurs received. The rendition was soulful and started with very long alaap of Lalat that built the mood of pleasant morning…starting with Lalat … the concert reached a pinnacle with the Bhairavi … something really exquisite , one could feel that divinity and “once in a lifetime” moment with the power of music ! The privileged audience present in the auditorium were very very lucky to experience that divine power and sheer purity of music that Sunday early morning. I myself will never forget this Lalat and Bhairavi in my life… and I thank the almighty for this exquisite experience !
There is not much a classical music connoisseur can ask for after a treat of 6 daily concerts and a Saturday all night concert !
What a brilliant festival this was in Dharwad ! Truly enjoyed each moment … The all night concert involving 7 star artists was simply superb ! The icing on the cake was the early morning rendition of Pt Nishat Khan on Sitar and ably complemented by Pt Ravindra Yavagal on Tabla !