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Morning glory

JITENDRA PRATAP

In a delectable recital, vocalist Manjari Asnara Kelkar deftly turned a series of requests to her advantage.

The so-called Jaipur gharana is a fine blend of the Jaipur and the Atrauli gharanas by the legendary Ustad Alladiya Khan. Prior to his migrating to Kolhapur in Maharashtra to become the court musician of the erstwhile princely state, he had served at the court of the nobleman of Uniara, a fiefdom within the former state of Jaipur.

Manjari Asnara Kelkar is a disciple of Pandit Madhusudhan Kanatkar, who in turn was the disciple of the late Ustad Burji Khan, a son of Ustad Alladiya Khan. Manjari’s recital was a morning session concert at the India International Centre.

This was a good change to enable the lovers of classical music to listen to the ragas of the morning. In spite of the inclement weather conditions, the number in the audience gradually became quite large.

One would have liked the compere to be a bit more precise and allow the artiste to commence her recital with a raga of her own choice and avoid asking her to render the raga Mian-ki-Todi.

Amusing

It was amusing to hear him say that this particular raga was not much popular with the Jaipur-Atrauli musicians. The raga Mian-ki-Todi is one of the several ragas created by the legendary Mian Tansen. No musician worth his salt would refrain from learning this exquisite melody and mastering it to the best of his or her abilities.

Most musicians come to the concert platform with a pre-planned concept of the items to be rendered, particularly the opening number. As such, Mishra’s request could have been made later on, but certainly not before the commencement of the recital. Kudos to Manjari for agreeing to the compere’s request and rendering Mian-ki-Todi with full gusto and much aplomb.

The Khayal composition “Raj karo yaa nagari men” set to a slow tempo Teen tala was elaborated with intense melodic appeal and reposefulness. The ‘alap-badhat’ executed with the raga’s format well handled was a treat. There were scores of intricate taan phrasings released with utmost ease and musicianship of a very high level. According to Manjari, this particular composition was a specialty of her gharana. The fast Teen tala composition “Angiyaan bheej gayee mori” delighted for the liltingly executed variations and intricate taan sequences.

Mishra made yet another request to Manjari to render raga Bhatiar to which she partly agreed by rendering the raga Sawani Bhatiar, which took away the aridness that invariably sounds in Bhatiar.

The madhya Teen tala composition “Sanwariya hum se karo naa gurar” and the fast Ek tala piece “Tum bin kachhu naa suhaaye” were rendered with a feel for the lyrics besides the exquisite presentation of the intelligently blended ragas Sawani and Bhatiar. Incidentally, Ustad Alladiya Khan was well known for his blending of two or more ragas to give form to a large number of newly created melodies.

Manjari’s singing of the tappa in Raga Kafi (“Ho Mian jaane wale”) failed to achieve the desired appeal with which the Gwalior musicians, particularly the late Krishnarao Shankar Pandit, sang it. She however enthralled with her renderings in the colourful melody of raga Jaunpuri-Bahar with a slow Teen tala composition “Eri maayee piya” followed by a fast Teen tala piece “Saghan ghana laage”.

Her blending of the ragas Jaunpuri and Bahar was a delight to the ears. But what delighted most was her able interplay between the notes Suddha and Komal Dhaivat, and the Dhaivats and the two Nishadhs.

Her brief rendering in raga Gaud Sarang with a madhya Teen tala piece “Ve yaar nazar nahi aaonda” was a befitting one, indicating the phasing out of the morning hours and beginning of noontime.

The bhajan in raga Bhairavi, “Anaathan ke naath tu Yadunath”, came as a befitting finale to her recital since it was sung with deep devotional fervour.

She had commendable support from Vinay Mishra (harmonium), Vinod Lele (tabla), Alka and Seema (tanpuras).

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