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Boundless bandish delight


BANDISHES IN Hindustani music provides the literature element in the music, for standard structured singing. Interestingly, many gharanas protected their bandishes from moving out of the family with gross incoherent vocal renditions. A huge section of the audience is entertained by the rendition of these bandishes rather than the improvisations vis--vis the alaap and sargam in a concert.

The Hindustani music recital by Usha Joseph at the Cochin Arts and Communications centre recently had 10 bandishes in all, most of them rendered in a resonant voice with true raga bhav. Usha Joseph is a graduate in music from Ghanshyam School of Music, New Delhi and has passed her diploma in music from Royal College of Music, London. Trained under Pt. Balram Dubey of Kirana Gharana, she has made path breaking endeavours by playing Hindustani raags on the Hawaiian guitar at numerous stages in Abu Dhabi and various North Indian cities.

The concert got off to a sober start with a `Guruvandana' in raag Bhoopali. Then as the twilight merged into the night, there unfurled the raag of the hour Yaman. In a short sargam, the vocalist unfolded in sustained notes of `ga' and `ni' the quintessence of the raag, which the audience could identify easily, as it bears close semblance to the South Indian raga Kalyani, used popularly in several film songs. The bandish was a composition of Sadarang, a musician in the court of Akbar, set in teen taal. A dhrut khayal, also in teen taal followed `Krishna kanhaiya shyam behari... '

The same pattern of vilambit and dhrut khayals was followed in Jonpuri raag in Tilwada and teen taals respectively. A more detailed alaap, with some supple `harkatein' for at least some of the pieces would have better revealed the potential of the vocalist.

A taraana in teen taal was chosen at this stage. Raag Durga was rendered with a penchant for `ma' and `dha' and a bandish in jhap taal `Sakhi mori room jhoom... ' ensued. Raag Alhaiya Bilawal, even though kept short was indeed one the most attractive pieces in the concert. The dhrut bandish `Kar man nand nandan ko dhyan... ' was sung with fervour.

A budding songstress, Justina, Usha's daughter gave a peek of her talent in a ghazal `Na chupaao tum nigaahen... '

Dhamaar is a near contemporary of dhrupad and like the dhrupad has a very lengthy alaap and was sung with a pakhawaj before the discovery of tabla. The text in a dhamaar is mostly about the playful Krishna, especially at Holi and is always sung in dhamaar taal. `Ab mose khelan lage hori' under this genre was performed neatly.

Shri raag belongs to the rag ragini system of Hindustani music. This received a decent treatment from the vocalist in a vilambit khayal in madhya lay ek tal. Next came the complex Pilu, with 12 notes and a dhrut khayal celebrating nature's glory in spring `Bolan laage re koyaliya... ' As the cuckoo chirped, flowers bloomed, bees hummed, and birds played around, spring came to disturb the senses.

Bhairavi was sung to mark an auspicious finale to a three hour-long concert. Even though the ambience around provided little for a delightful listening, the gaayaki, which bears more proximity to the Delhi and Agra schools, gave an evening of real musical delight.

HAREESH BAL

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