Song of Surrender

Friday, 7 August 2015

A concert in memory of Mallikarjun Mansur

By Shrinkhla Sahai

A morning concert is a rare event in Delhi. Risking the vagaries of the Delhi audience and Sunday morning inertia, a concert of morning ragas was organised by the New Age Foundation, commemorating the death anniversary of Mallikarjun Mansur, the late Jaipur-Atrauli gharana stalwart. 

Vocalist Priyadarshini Kulkarni and sarod maestro Biswajit Roy Chowdhury gave an inpressive recital with their thoughtful selection of ragas and intricate artistry. Delhi's rasikas turned up in good numbers at the India International Centre to enjoy a morning of Hindustani classical music. 

Priyadarshini Kulkarni started with a leisurely elaboration of raga Miyan ki Todi with the bada khayal Baajo re.  She was accompanied on the tabla by Sanjay Deshpande and on the harmonium by Vinay Mishra. The austerity of her rendition was deeply reminiscent of Mansur’s gayaki. Another hallmark of his style was immaculate layakari, which the vocalist displayed in the chhota khayal Eri maayi aaj badhawra. She concluded with a nostalgic composition in the combination raga Yamani Bilawal, dedicated to the memory of veteran journalist Praful Bidwai who passed away recently. 

Biswajit Roy Chowdhury presented a sober and nuanced interpretation of raga Jaunpuri. He followed it up with an energetic and playful rendition of raga Gaud Sarang layered with delightful pauses and rhythm-play. Durjay Bhaumik provided the tabla accompaniment. The audience warmed up to the narration of an anecdote from Mallikarjun Mansur’s life about the stalwart’s first meeting with Bhurji Khan, when he sang Raga Gaud Sarang to persuade the maestro to take him as a disciple. 

Both musicians have deeply internalised the vocalism of Mansur and express his aesthetics without imitation. Their individuality lends another dimension to his vast musical legacy. It was a simple, sincere and moving tribute to the legend. Delhi rasikas look forward to more such musical mornings.

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