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Performances Highlight Various 'Gharanas'

Wednesday, February 07, 2018
By Amarendra Dhaneshwar

Hindustani music has survived through centuries thanks to the existence of various 'gharanas'. A 'gharana' literally means 'family'. Since our society was based on a neat although oppressive division of castes and their occupations, music was one more profession which was hereditary in nature. Since music-related skills were transmitted through kinship connections the term 'gharana' came to be used. 'Kirana' is one of the major 'gharanas' of Hindustani vocal music. The name has its origins in the place Kairana which is situated in Western Uttar Pradesh.

Nayak Dhondu is considered as the pioneer of the 'gharana' and he was a 'dhrupad' singer. The legendary Ustad Abdul Karim Khan is often regarded as the founder of this style of music as it is known and practiced nowadays. Popular singers like Hirabai Badodekar, Bhimsen Joshi and Gangubai Hangal were products of this branch.

There is another branch which is directly linked with Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan, who was a brother of Abdul Karim Khan. Ramesh Jule, senior exponent of this school, lives in this metropolis and has been performing and teaching music for well over five decades. Jule is a pupil of the elder musician Maniprasad and is the grandson of the late Sukhdevprasad. Jule is so well versed in this style that a singer of the eminence of Asha Bhosale has also trained under him. Celebrity photographer Gautam Rajadhyaksha too trained under him.

Jule was featured by the Kalabharati recently in an evening programme. He began his performance with the raga 'Basant Mukhari', which is also called 'Hizaz' by some musicians. It is a beautiful raga which blends 'Bhairav' and 'Bharavi'. It instantly casts a spell on the listener if it is sung in the right manner. Jule managed to do precisely this when he sang the slow 'khayal' followed by the 'drut bandish'. Jule skilfully tackled the twists and turns of the phrases typical of the raga.

 There are many uncommon ragas in his repertoire. One of them was 'Dhanalakshmi Todi'. It is deceptively close to the more popular 'Todi'. Jule sang it with feeling and interacted well with the tabla maestro Nayan Ghosh, who is one of the most versatile musicians. He also sang a semi-classical composition which offered  wide scope to the tabla maestro Nayan Ghosh, who played superlative 'laggis'.

Deepak Prasad on the harmonium lent superb support.  The programme began with a sitar recital by the Calcutta based Subhranil Sarkar who is a senior pupil of the leading sitarist Shahid Pervez. Sarkar played the raga 'Gujri Todi' with zest and spirit. His phrases were luminous and the image of the raga shone brightly through his exposition. Prasad Padhye on the tabla was as brilliant as ever.

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