Monday, January 26, 2009

Yamini – Soul Piercing Classical Music!

Close to 8 hours of classical arts (music and dance) on a single day – usually people watch one recital in a day we watched four of them back to back. I have gone to a couple of classical recitals till date but something of this nature was a dream come true! Not that I am bragging, but then the sheer experience of it all was stupefying to say the least. Let me start from the last item which got over at 4:30 AM, yes 4:30 AM on 26th Jan, 2009, that's today, our Republic Day. The dusk to dawn musical concert 'Yamini 2009' in association with the Spic Macay chapter at IIM Bangalore was an experience for me like never before.

The last item - the flute recital by Pandit Ronu Majumdar reached its crescendo in a Druta Teentaal at around 3:30 AM, when the speed of play along with Sudhir Pandey on the tabla reached so high that it was just impossible for me to keep track of the tala, which I had been trying to keep track of throughout the recitals – so I just sat in silence soaking in the musical tornado, drenched completely. It was absolute 'rogue play' of the instruments, as mesmerizing as intimidating if I may put it in jest. The ending was reached through the Shudh Bhairav - 'Jaago Mohan Pyare', Raag Bhatiyar - the strains of which are so soulful, 'Payo ji maine Ram ratan dhan paayo' – Raag Desh I guess (Pandit Ronu also sings well as he did for these two). The actual ending was 5 minutes of Raag Bhairavi – which even in deep slumber has the capacity to wake you up as your whole body is rejuvenated with the tingles of the fresh, mellifluous strains of the flute and the magic of the tabla. There were many other flute pieces (midnight ragas) earlier to that too, after an initial glitch in the monitor and sound settings. Sheer Magic. Period.

Earlier it started off at around 6:30 PM on 25th Jan 09 as we sat squatting on the mattresses layed out on the ground enjoying the performances. The first was a Carnatic classical vocal recital by the Jayanti sisters, Ranjini & Gayatri – one with a slightly smooth voice and the other with the coarser tonal quality, who brought out the Abhang at the end of the recital to life, by the force of her aural tones. The abhang (Marathi) had this concept of being a 'Nindastuti' - wherein the semi-classical bhajan is a praise for the lord even though it sounds humorous or slightly taunting. In between were 2 songs set to Adi taala, and compositions of Saint Thyagaraja and many other Tamil, Telugu and Carnatic compositions for close to 2 hours. Extremely competent artists and sometimes brilliant. The sisters were not only competent artists but equally articulate in explaining and interacting with the audience.

Next was the Mysore Brothers with their violins, jumping with ease from the most high pitched to the most low pitched, gliding from the fastest pieces to the slowest ones from number to number in a disciplined show of violin prowess. The violin maestros truly deserve an applause, for I remember one piece in which the speed of playing the violin was just mind-blowing fast along with the accompanying Mridangam, Ghatam and the Tampura.

Then at around 11:30 PM started the Bharatanatyam recital by Urmila Sathyanarayana. This started off with a Varanam, and then went into the core pieces depicting scenes, involving both Abhinaya (facial gestures and hand movements) and Nritya/Natya. One mandatory scene as is the case in most Bharatanatyam recitals the play between Radha and Lord Krishna – this was very interestingly depicted. Then one which I liked best was the one in which Kaushalya sees her son Lord Rama take his first baby steps and knows no limit of her joy – the accompanying singing 'Thumaka Chalat Ram Chandra' by the group and the flute was all very high quality. One also was a romantic sketch where the female is telling her lover to be patient and restrain himself from displaying his affection in the public, quite sensuous. It ended with a short Bharatanatyam format sketch of 'Vande Mataram' at around 1:30 AM.

Soul piercing music it was (though my technical knowledge of ragas and taalas is very less I enjoy the package as a whole - akin to chaos theory); is all I can say and only an experience will get you the feel of the accompanying joy – bliss... Me, IndraD and ShashiA were there till the end.

May the sovereign, socialist, democratic republic - INDIA stay alive till eternity...

Happy Republic Day!