Gaan Saraswati Music Festival : Report Day 1


Gaan Saraswati Mahotsav is last among the series of classical Musical Festivals held in Pune over the months of Dec-Jan-Feb. The inaugural concert started bit late at around 5.45pm with the non-hyphenated name Jaipur Gharana singer (off course a Female !)  called Nandini Bedekar.  I personally had never heard her before nor had heard her name.  I reached the venue late , by 6.15 or so. At the hind sight , I would say , I should have reached by 7pm , that would have avoided witnessing the meltdown and block of a singer on stage seen during the concert. She was trying to sing Shuddha-Kalyan (also called Bhoop Kalyan by Jaipur walas) and found herself blocked in the Bhoop ascent and Yaman descent ! She stopped singing couple of times to regain her form ,but in vain, not even helped by her vocal support (Tejashree Amonkar)  or the accompanying harmonium player ( Suyog Kundalkar) who tried his best to show her the Shuddha Kalyan notes and taans !  It was 7pm when she was somehow done with a Vilambit “Yei maai Piyaa” (येई माई पिया ) and a quick drut “laagi lagan mohe shyam salone”(लागी लगन मोहे श्याम सलोने). She bowed to the tambora and the Gaan Saraswati sitting in the audience and almost refused to sing further a request for bhajan for 5mins, somewhat to the comfort of the audience.

The trio of Rakesh Chaurasia- flute , Pt Bhavani Shankar -Pakhwaj and Pt Vijay Ghate -Tabla was the featured concert of the evening that got started around 7.20pm. They aptly chose Kaushik Dhwani. Also called Bhinna-Shadaj in olden times, the Gaan Saraswati Kishori Amonkar is famously referred to as Bhinna-Shadaj after a documentary on her ,of same name, produced by Amol Palekar.

The concert started with a soulful alaap on flute and moved quickly to a jod accompanied by Pt Bhawani Shankar on Pakhwaj. The resonance of pakhwaj quickly created a serious but pleasurable atmosphere. Next was a jod accompanied on Tabla by Pt Vijay Ghate , who in his playful tiyyas and vibrant accompaniment to the melodious flute of Rakesh Chaurasia, brought the audience to frequent applause. “Immaculate and perfect arrival at Sam after complex taans in varied tempos”, was THE trade mark of this presentation The second part of the concert was Chandrakauns where the flute took a back stage more like a leharaa , and the audience witnessed a brilliant play of Tabla and Pakhwaj together ,inter-spread with taans , meends and gamaks on flute. The presentation concluded with a Purvi dhun which Rakesh Chaurasia played in lieu of his “regular pahadi dhun”,  at the request of Pt Vijay Ghate !

Anand Bhate was the artist of the concert to conclude the first day of the three day festival. He started the presentation at around 8.45pm, accompanied by the regular accompanist , Suyog Kundalkar on Harmonium and Bharat Kamat on Tabla. He began  with a vilambit bandish in Maru-Bihag “Rasiya aao naa” (रसिया आओ ना )  and a drut bandish “Tarapat raina dinaa” (तरपत रैन दिना ) . He displayed the Kirana gayaki style of presenting words with different phrases of sur and taans, that was clearly demonstrated on the word “रैन” that brought vivid memories of Pt Bhimsen Joshi , his guru, in the minds of connoisseurs. The next presentation was raag Kalashree (Kalawati + Shree), which was composed by his guru Pt Bhimsen Joshi himself. He dedicated the bandish “Dhan-Dhan bhaag suhaag tero” (धन धन भाग सुहाग तेरो )  to the birth anniversary of Panditji that occurred just 2 days back on Feb 4th.  The presentation had taans typical of carnatic style.  { In my personal opinion , his presentation was more like Janasammohini (a carnatic raag) than Kalashree. The “Shree” part of the raag was almost missing and it appeared more like Kalavati of Hindustani music }

 The next presentation was a Thumri in mishra Bhairavi  “lagari barasaat more naina , baalam mere chod na jana” (लगरी बरसात मोरे नैना , बालम मेरे छोड़ न जाना ) . I have heard Anand Bhate in three festivals in last 5 weeks in Pune ( Sawai , Swar -Zankar and now Gaan-Sarawati). He has made it a point to sing a thumri every time !  My guess is that he is in a make over phase to present himself more as a “Hindustani Classical Singer” than just a light  “Natya-Sangit gayak”  { I am not sure if this will help in the effort }

The concert and the day one of the festival concluded with a short Bhairavi Bhajan made popular by Pt Bhimsen Joshi , “Jo bhaje hari ko sadaa, vohi param pad paavega”(जो भजे हरी को सदा , सोही परम पद पावेगा )

I am looking forward to Day 2  , that seems to be an awesome treat : Bhuvanesh Komakali , Niladri Kumar – Sitar , and Ashwini Bhide-Deshpande ( the one hyphenated name singer of Jaipur-Atrauli gharana who is pleasant and likeable ! )



About Prasad Bhave

Clinical Scientist / Healthcare Informatics Consultant
This entry was posted in Classical Music, Hindustani Classical Music, Music Festival, Pune and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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