My favourite raga
With its delicate nuance and intense emotion, Bhairavi cannot be perceived as distinct from the bols, but as a matrix from which the very raga flows
Vidya Rao: Bhairavi is special
Vidya Rao, one of the leading exponents of the Thumri and one of the closest disciples of the legendary singer, the late Naina Devi and later of Girija Devi and Shanti Hiranand, has imbibed the traditional gayaki styles of both Benaras and Lucknow
She likes Bhairavi for its expansiveness, for its vitality and potency, for its completeness and totality and for its capacity to mingle and melt and lend itself to many moods. “Bhairavi, in some special way, is unique, as it is distinctive in the present,’ she says.
Timeless in appeal
“The raga manifests at any given point in a specific symbolic way and is universal and timeless in its appeal. A morning melody with all the 12 swaras, it presents many possibilities in its vast sweep across space not only in the sub-continent, but has a pan-Asian feel to it and in its diversty is evident its richness and variety. Be it Khayal, Dhrupad, Kajri, Dadra, Chaiti Thumri Hori or the Ghazal, Bhairavi adornes them all. Depending upon the milieu or the culture, it takes on many roles. The raga is sada bahar for ever fresh and green. Sometimes it awakens the dawn, and at times it salutes the dusk. In North, it could be an opening raga, in the South, it has a definite entity as a final piece at the end of a concert.
“One finds its echo in the west Asian and Iranian music too. With its fluid structure, delicate nuance and intense emotion, Bhairavi cannot be perceived as distinct from the bols, but as a matrix from which the very raga flows.”
A visiting Professor at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU, New Delhi, a visiting Fellow at the Centre for Advanced Study at Jadavpur University, Calcutta, Vidya has performed extensively in India and Abroad.
Her passionate Thumri recitals, clear articulations in deep voice are sometimes anecdotal and sometimes close to Nritya, coming close to Thumak the moving art form of dance, from which Thumri is derived. Also a prolific writer on music, Vidya is a consulting editor with the Orient Longman Publishers, New Delhi.
JYOTI NAIR BELLIAPPA
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