The 36th Surashree Kesarbai Kerkar Samaroh at the sprawling campus of beautiful Kala Academy (designed by Charles Correa ) on the banks of Mandovi river was held between Nov 4th and 8th , 2016. Kesarbai, born in Keri village of Goa was honored with the title of Surshree by Guru Rabindranath Tagore when she was accompanying her Guru Ustad Alladiya Khan in a concert. She began her training under founder of Kirana gharana,Ut Abdul Karim Khan and later took lessons from Pt Ramkrishabua Vaze and Pt Bhaskarbua Bakhle. Her voice quality trained under four major gharanas , Kirana , Gwaliar , Agra and Jaipur-Atrauli has been regarded as finest in Human history. Her Bhairavi rendition finds a place on the disk that was sent in outer space (moon) where it represented the Hindustani Classical Music !
The 36th Kesarbai Kerkar Samaroha is organized by the Kala Academy of Govt of Goa. It is a big affair for 3 days by the Dept of Culture and Music, that is a pride of Goa.
The festival began with a curtain raiser on Friday Nov 4th morning at around 10.30am with a symposium titled “Creativity in Hindustani Classical Music” with speakers like Dr Alka Dev- Marulkar , Dr Vidyadhar Oke and Dr Vikas Kashalkar moderated by Mukund Sangoram.
The first session of festival was Nov 4th evening, after the formal inauguration , was graced by Pt Jasraj who sang for 75 mins out of his alloted time of 90 mins ! Accompanied on harmonium by Mukund Petkar , on tabla by Kedar Pandit and on Pakhwaj by Sukhad Munde , he started with expansive Puriya vilambit , madhyalay bandishes followed by famous drut bandish “Shyam kunvar more ghar aaye” ( श्याम कुंवर मोरे घर आए ) and quickly ended with a sankrit bhajan / abhang ( भजनः भजेत सर्वम् नवनीत ). The house full auditorium was delighted to see the veteran sing for them..short but sweet rendition within his alloted time !
The second and final concert to end the first day of the festival was an instrumental jugalbandi by Shri Navin Sharma on Tabla and Shri Sridhar Parthasarthy on Mrudangam.
Nov 5th Day 2 Saturday Morning Session started with the veteran Pt Dinkar Panshikar vocal performance , accompanied by two of his disciples on vocal support and Tabla, Harmonium accompaniments by Amar Mapkar and Dilip Gadekar respectively. Starting with Gujari Todi bandish “Ranza jogi” ( रांझा जोगी ) and drut jod “Surat dekhi teri jogi” ( सूरत देखी तेरी जोगी ). He continued with the trademark raag of Jaipur-Atrauli , Bahaduri Todi madhya lay bandish “Mahadeva devan Mahadev” ( महादेव देवन महादेव ) and drut “Tero dhyan dharat nisdin” ( तेरो ध्यान धरत निसदिन ) His final presentation was a tribute to Kesarbai as her favorite raag was Sukhiya Bilawal. Madhya lay bandish “Hey durge , sati” ( हे दुर्गे ) and jod bandish that was his own composition “Motiyan ki Chaadar ladi” ( मोतियन की चादर लड़ी ) describing the atmosphere of Ayodhya when shree Ram returned after 14 years of vanvaas.
The final concert of the morning session was by Manjusha Patil ,started around 12.30pm which I missed unfortunately due to a lunch meeting !
Nov 5th Day 2 Saturday Evening Session started around 4pm with Pt Madhup Mudgal vocal who has been trained under Pt Vinaychandra Moudgalya , Pt Jasraj and Kumar Gandharva. The first raag he chose was Bhimpalas with madhyalay bandish “Naad Suran” ( नाद सुरन ) followed by a drut bandish “Ab more saai ” ( अब मोरे साईं ) and a short tarana. This was followed by a beautiful Multaani madhya lay bandish “Dil bekaraar hai gaavo” ( दिल बेकरार है गावो ) and a drut bandish “Miyan tusi dekhale duniyaa” ( मियाँ तुसी देखले दुनिया ) Puriya Dhanashree came along with a bandish in madhyalay “Ghungat kholo na ji ” ( घूँघट खोलो ना जी ). He then presented a bandish in raag Shri-Kalyan made by is guruji (Kumar Gandharva) “Dekho re utar fulan laage rang rang chaaye” ( देखो रे उतर फूलन लागे , रंग रंग छाए ). He concluded his presentation with a bhajan by Gorakhnath “Raam rin me rahiye” ( राम ऋण में रहिये ). He had a superb accompaniment on Tabla by Mayank Bedekar and on Harmonium by Dr Arwind Thatte.
This concert was a treat to a true classical music connoisseur and will be one of my favorites in recent times.
The Second concert of the evening session was by Dr Prabha Atre who humbly acknowledged that that at her age (84+) , audience come to her concert because of respect and love for music and not essentially for her performance. Her voice did not support her but that gave ample opportunity to her disciple and vocal support ,Chetana Banavat to perform. They were ably accompanied by the Harmonium maestro Pt Vishwanath Kanhere and Madhav Modak on Tabla. Shyam Kalyan madhya lay bandish “Mangal naam Ganesh” ( मंगल नाम गणेश ) was followed by a tarana. Madhukans madhya lay bandish “Paar karo mori nayya” ( पार करो मोरी नय्या ). This was followed by a thumri and her famous bhajan “Jagat Janani bhavtaarini” ( जगत जननी भवतारिणी )
The final concert of the evening session of Day 2 was by Ut Nishat Khan who started with a tribute to Kesarbai Kerkar with her favorite Chandani-Kedar .. the soft alaap was for almost 30 mins that mesmerized the audience. His command over fingers and ability to produce almost all 7 notes from the same fret of Sitar was astonishing ! The ustad was in a good mood and sang a small bandish “O charan laag chaiin” ( ओ चरन लागी चैन ). Pt Ramkumar Mishra ( son of vocalist Pt Chunnulal Mishra) was the tabla accompanist who demonstrated the Banarasi Tabla style with apt accompaniment to the Sitar ! The ustad continued with a Chiz in Charukeshi “Bhole Bhaale saiyaan” ( भोले भले सैयाँ ) and also presented a chiz in Kaafi ( Nand + Hamir) ” Achanak more piya aake jagaave ” ( अचानक मोरे पिया आके जगावे )
Nov 6th Sunday morning session started with an instrumental ensemble of Sitar by Yograj Naik and Carnatic Violin by Shri Harihumar Sivan that began with Jaunpuri soft alaapi bringing a divine morning feel. Joined progressively by the Tabla of Kishor Pande and Mridangam of Shri B Jayram the ensemble created a playful joyous mood. In the drut dhun the ensemble together gave the feel of fullness of sun in the rising day. The concluding dhun was chosen in Todi that brought huge applause by the audience.
Second concert of the morning was by Smt Shruti Sadolikar-Katkar the humble , academic and knowledgeable veteran of Jaipur-Atrauli gharana. She began with raag Desi with a madhyalay bandish “Aao maharaj” ( आओ महाराज ) and continued in drut lay with a bandish “Jare kaagaa ja ja ja ja” ( जारे कागा जा जा जा जा ). The second raag she chose was the trademark Yamani Bilawal with madhya lay bandish “Prem Galiyen” ( प्रेम गलियें ) and a drut bandish “Avalo bhayii avahelanaa” ( आवलो भई अवहेलना ) . She concluded the morning session with a Bhairavi “Mera bichada yaar mile” ( मेरा बिछड़ा यार मिले ) . The accompaniment by the Harmonium maestro Pt Vishwanath Kanhere and the Tabla maestro Vishwanath Shirodkar was complementary bringing a fullness to the performance to be cherished for long time.
Nov 6th Sunday Evening session started with Anjana Nath of Patiala Gharana , trained under Pt Ajay Chakravarty. Starting with Bhimpalas in madhya lay bandish “aao chalo pir ke darbaar me” ( आओ चलो पीर के दरबार में ) with a jod bandish “Begun kaahe karat ho man” ( बेगुन काहे करत हो मन ). Her presentation of raag Shri bandish “Hari ke charan kamal” ( हरी के चरन कमल ) brought a perfect evening mlieu in the auditorium that got applauded by the audience. She concluded with a thumri in mishra-Khamaj “Paniya bharan kaise jaaun” ( पनिया भरन कैसे जाऊं )
Rahul Sharma with his santoor was the priced performer of the day who began with the expansive alaap in Yaman. Accompanied by the maestro Mukundraj Dev on Tabla , the jugalbandi was a treat to ears of the connoisseurs and average Sunday evening audience alike. After a 45 min of Yaman madhyalay and drut compositions, he concluded with a Pahadi Dhun and a short raagmaalaa knitting many short dhuns of evening raags, to entertain the audience request.
The Finale and the concluding concert of the evening and of the festival was traditionally offered to the veteran 80+ year old , daughter of Goa and also daughter in law of Goa .. Kishori Amonkar. The house-full auditorium that enjoyed the music of Rahul Sharma waited in full numbers more for the glimpse of her than her singing.The audience started leaving as per their convenience once the clock passed 8.30, and rightly so. She started the concert by cribbing that she was not invited for the festival for last 9 years and now is old to sing for audience. While her voice almost not supporting her , she started with her regular Shuddha Kalyan bandish “Ai ri mhari piya” (ऐइ री म्हारी पिया ) , coughing ,clearing the throat , having hot drink couple of times. Her accompanying vocal supports , Ms Tejashree Amonkar and Ms Bedekar were playing tanpura and trying their best to support vocally in whatever way they could ! .Her group of accompanist also included Milind Raikar on violins , Suyog Kundalkar on Harmonium and Pradeep Dixit on Tabla. After Shudhha-Kalyan came Sampurna Malkauns and the Bhairavi to conclude the evening and the Festival.
The audience was delighted at the end of 5 sessions of great classical music that covered almost all major gharanas of Hindustani music. The lineup of this coveted festival was superb. The highlight of the festival was the ambience , the picturesque location of Kala Academy Goa on the bank of Mandovi river and the fantastic auditorium named after Dinanath Mangeshkar , the brilliant son of Goa.
The one thing that caught my attention was the excellent organization and professional management of this festival by the Kala Academy staff, in-spite of being a Govt (Sarkaari) institute ! The Hindi anchor / announcer , Dr Roopa Chari was one of the best Hindi anchors that I have seen in various Hindustani Classical Music Festivals. She deserves a special mention and applause in the success of this coveted festival.
My favorite day of the festival was Sat Nov 5th. Some performances that would remain in memory and would be cherished for long are: Pt Madhup Mudgal , Ut Nishat Khan , Anjana Nath , Shruti Sadolikar-Katkar, Sitar-Violin Jugalbandi in Jaunpuri-Todi and Pt Dinkar Panshikar.
Here is a link to the Facebook album of snaps taken during the 36th Surashree Kesarbai Kerkar Classical Music Festival at Panjim , Goa during Nov 4th to 8th , 2016 : https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.687258724767601.1073741837.100004504393045&type=1&l=8deaa43e53