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  Life   More Features  28 Nov 2019  Four masters and two jugalbandis in New Delhi

Four masters and two jugalbandis in New Delhi

THE ASIAN AGE. | SHAILAJA KHANNA
Published : Nov 28, 2019, 2:28 am IST
Updated : Nov 29, 2019, 1:03 am IST

The main piece with “aalap” and “thanam” was again in a raga common to both systems — Jaijaiwanti, adopted in Carnatic music as Dwijawanti.

Jayanthi Kumaresh
 Jayanthi Kumaresh

The capital saw two duet concerts, both of mixed genres last week. The first was of Vidushi Bombay Jayashri from the Carnatic tradition and Pt Ronu Mazumdar, representing the North Indian classical form, organized by Uttar Dakshin, a Mumbai based organizer. The two internationally acclaimed artists have shared their youth growing up in Mumbai, and have collaborated many times before, though this was their first concert together in Delhi. As such, audience expectations were high, and the hall was full even before the concert started.

The artists started with Raga Kapi Narayani, in the Carnatic system – Jhinjhoti in the North has similar notes. The composition “saras sama dana” by Tyagaraja is beautiful, and Jayashri was able to bring in the required emotion. In this piece, Ronu generously subjugated his training to follow the spirit of Raga Kapi Narayani rather than Jhinjhoti, with flair. His extremely talented 18 year old flautist son Hrishikesh also accompanied the duo, which was perhaps surprising as a jugalbandi concert ideally should not have accompaniment of any sort as it detracts from the main artists sharing their musical thoughts.

 

The next short piece was a “stuti” to Devi in Raga Saraswati, a Raga adopted into North Indian music from the South, and thus common to both systems; the third piece was in a Carnatic Raga Bahudari, in which Jayashri’s music soared, with Ronu more than matching her musical thoughts, despite not having trained in this Raga. Musically, this piece was truly uplifting.

 The main piece with “aalap” and “thanam” was again in a Raga common to both systems – Jaijaiwanti, adopted in Carnatic music as Dwijawanti. Interpretation of the Raga by both artists as usual followed the same line, creating a pleasant, harmonious ambience. The lyrics of the composition “More Mandir”  were written by Ustad Faiyaz Khan who used the tune of an older bandish, but changed the lyrics as they were considered too risqué to sing in mixed company. Jayashri with her innate flair for North Indian music sang this khayal wonderfully.

 

The concluding “Krishna Nee Begane” in Raga Yamuna Kalyani, again a Raga shared in both systems was sung most expressively by Jayashri, with superb embellishments. Ronu’s flute, especially in this piece was as always expressive and truly emotive. Rapturous music was being created, but unexpectedly, Ronu switched mid stream to his favourite Meera bhajan “Ram Ratan dhan payo” Ronu’s explanation that we have entreated Lord Krishna to come, (Krishna nee Begane) now let’s laud Lord Rama was not fully convincing. In the presence of Jayashri with her golden voice, Ronu’s adding his voice during this piece was surprising; it is the flute of which he is an acknowledged master and through which he actually sings.

 

Accompaniment on the tabla was by V Narhari (incidentally also the organizer) and Sumesh Narayanan was on the mridangam; both percussionists keeping their engagements respectfully and appropriately to the minimum so as to let the two maestros remain the focus. Such is good true “sangat”.

The only distraction in this lovely concert was the disproportionate magnification of the flute. During the entire concert, which had a predominantly North Indian flavor, Jayashri was masterly in maintaining the synergetic flow of the music, letting the expressions become seamless, and not letting her Carnatic training bring in a different “feel” to the music they were mutually creating. Ronu, master as he is of jugalbandis, as always created music that was cohesive and pulled at the heart strings; as he said “we are two bodies, creating one sound”. Jugalbandis should indeed create music that is one, and this concert without doubt did that; the music was melodious, and lyrical as could be expected from two of India’s finest musicians.

 

The next jugalbandi was of two South Indian musicians on the piano and saraswati veena; but one, Anil Srinivasan has trained in Western classical music, and the other, Dr Jayanthi represents an ancient tradition descended from Saint Tyagaraja. The music was in the Carnatic idiom; the format was each artist expressing the same notes in their different ways. Anil was very skillfully able to usually follow Jayanthi’s way; in a few instances, Jayanthi followed Anil.

Anil very creditably kept his musical training and the piano’s distinct identity intact, while still managing to seamlessly join Jayanthi in the expression of her awesome musical lineage. This was again a musical collaboration in the true sense of the word, with the mutual respect for each other clearly visable throughout the concert.

 

Starting with Raga Pantuvarali, the duo played Tyagaraja’s “Shiva Shiva”. This was followed by Raga Khamas, Tyagaraja’s truly sublime composition “sujan jeevana”, amongst otherpieces. The main piece was Raga Kapi, in which the duo also essayed the “thanam”. Jayanthi bringing in different Ragas during this piece was beautiful, especially her rendering of Raga Nalinakanti.

The duo ended with Raghupati Raghav. As with any good jugalbandi, the music created by the two artists should be an enhancement of each one’s individual music; both Jayanthi and Anil effortlessly created a new expression together that was not just beautiful but also, strangely, given the different genres they were trained in, cohesive. Anil’s humorous and deprecating announcements preceding each piece added to the special feel this concert brought in; an informal light engagement of music, with some special moments of great lyricity and beauty.

 

The tabla accompaniment of Pramath Kiran was apt; he followed the notes of the compositions with tabla “bols”, in the style of the mridangam; even though by training he follows the Banaras gharana of tabla. Trichy Krishnaswamy on the ghatam was as always a delight. Their “tani avartanam” with Pramath on the “morsing” was lovely.

This jugalbandi was organized by Alap, a Chennai based organization. Both Uttar Dakshin and Alap, despite not being based in Delhi, laudably managed to have full halls, despite the profusion of classical music concerts in Delhi.

The capital saw two duet concerts, both of mixed genres last week. The first was of Vidushi Bombay Jayashri from the Carnatic tradition and Pt Ronu Mazumdar, representing the North Indian classical form, organized by Uttar Dakshin, a Mumbai based organizer. The two internationally acclaimed artists have shared their youth growing up in Mumbai, and have collaborated many times before, though this was their first concert together in Delhi. As such, audience expectations were high, and the hall was full even before the concert started.

 

The artists started with Raga Kapi Narayani, in the Carnatic system – Jhinjhoti in the North has similar notes. The composition “saras sama dana” by Tyagaraja is beautiful, and Jayashri was able to bring in the required emotion. In this piece, Ronu generously subjugated his training to follow the spirit of Raga Kapi Narayani rather than Jhinjhoti, with flair. His extremely talented 18 year old flautist son Hrishikesh also accompanied the duo, which was perhaps surprising as a jugalbandi concert ideally should not have accompaniment of any sort as it detracts from the main artists sharing their musical thoughts.

The next short piece was a “stuti” to Devi in Raga Saraswati, a Raga adopted into North Indian music from the South, and thus common to both systems; the third piece was in a Carnatic Raga Bahudari, in which Jayashri’s music soared, with Ronu more than matching her musical thoughts, despite not having trained in this Raga. Musically, this piece was truly uplifting.

 

 The main piece with “aalap” and “thanam” was again in a Raga common to both systems – Jaijaiwanti, adopted in Carnatic music as Dwijawanti. Interpretation of the Raga by both artists as usual followed the same line, creating a pleasant, harmonious ambience. The lyrics of the composition “More Mandir”  were written by Ustad Faiyaz Khan who used the tune of an older bandish, but changed the lyrics as they were considered too risqué to sing in mixed company. Jayashri with her innate flair for North Indian music sang this khayal wonderfully.

The concluding “Krishna Nee Begane” in Raga Yamuna Kalyani, again a Raga shared in both systems was sung most expressively by Jayashri, with superb embellishments. Ronu’s flute, especially in this piece was as always expressive and truly emotive. Rapturous music was being created, but unexpectedly, Ronu switched mid stream to his favourite Meera bhajan “Ram Ratan dhan payo” Ronu’s explanation that we have entreated Lord Krishna to come, (Krishna nee Begane) now let’s laud Lord Rama was not fully convincing. In the presence of Jayashri with her golden voice, Ronu’s adding his voice during this piece was surprising; it is the flute of which he is an acknowledged master and through which he actually sings.

 

Accompaniment on the tabla was by V Narhari (incidentally also the organizer) and Sumesh Narayanan was on the mridangam; both percussionists keeping their engagements respectfully and appropriately to the minimum so as to let the two maestros remain the focus. Such is good true “sangat”.

The only distraction in this lovely concert was the disproportionate magnification of the flute. During the entire concert, which had a predominantly North Indian flavor, Jayashri was masterly in maintaining the synergetic flow of the music, letting the expressions become seamless, and not letting her Carnatic training bring in a different “feel” to the music they were mutually creating. Ronu, master as he is of jugalbandis, as always created music that was cohesive and pulled at the heart strings; as he said “we are two bodies, creating one sound”. Jugalbandis should indeed create music that is one, and this concert without doubt did that; the music was melodious, and lyrical as could be expected from two of India’s finest musicians.

 

The next jugalbandi was of two South Indian musicians on the piano and saraswati veena; but one, Anil Srinivasan has trained in Western classical music, and the other, Dr Jayanthi represents an ancient tradition descended from Saint Tyagaraja. The music was in the Carnatic idiom; the format was each artist expressing the same notes in their different ways. Anil was very skillfully able to usually follow Jayanthi’s way; in a few instances, Jayanthi followed Anil.

Anil very creditably kept his musical training and the piano’s distinct identity intact, while still managing to seamlessly join Jayanthi in the expression of her awesome musical lineage. This was again a musical collaboration in the true sense of the word, with the mutual respect for each other clearly visable throughout the concert.

 

Starting with Raga Pantuvarali, the duo played Tyagaraja’s “Shiva Shiva”. This was followed by Raga Khamas, Tyagaraja’s truly sublime composition “sujan jeevana”, amongst otherpieces. The main piece was Raga Kapi, in which the duo also essayed the “thanam”. Jayanthi bringing in different Ragas during this piece was beautiful, especially her rendering of Raga Nalinakanti.

The duo ended with Raghupati Raghav. As with any good jugalbandi, the music created by the two artists should be an enhancement of each one’s individual music; both Jayanthi and Anil effortlessly created a new expression together that was not just beautiful but also, strangely, given the different genres they were trained in, cohesive. Anil’s humorous and deprecating announcements preceding each piece added to the special feel this concert brought in; an informal light engagement of music, with some special moments of great lyricity and beauty.

 

The tabla accompaniment of Pramath Kiran was apt; he followed the notes of the compositions with tabla “bols”, in the style of the mridangam; even though by training he follows the Banaras gharana of tabla. Trichy Krishnaswamy on the ghatam was as always a delight. Their “tani avartanam” with Pramath on the “morsing” was lovely.

This jugalbandi was organized by Alap, a Chennai based organization. Both Uttar Dakshin and Alap, despite not being based in Delhi, laudably managed to have full halls, despite the profusion of classical music concerts in Delhi.

Shailaja Khanna writes on music, musicians and matters of music

Tags: pandit ronu mazumdar, anil srinivasan