Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sanjeev Abhyankar

Sanjeev Abhyankar has got the gift of music. I think I had started a post with similar sentence not a long time ago, and here I am, starting it once again!

The opportunity to listen to the young master came begging. The ongoing Bengalooru Habba featured his concert on Sunday evening.

He started off with the ever melodious Yaman. When you start your concert with such a sweet raagaa, you are setting very high standards and expectations up-front. As the concert started a bit late as regards to the schedule, I think Sanjeev Abhyankar at times hurried through his renditions. After an elaborate aalaap, he was quickly on to drut khayaal, taking short-cuts on saragams etc. I wonder if it is the style of Mewati gharaanaa to which he belongs -- I haven't had enough opportunities to listen to either Pt. Jasraj or him, so I have somewhat weak knowledge of this particular style.

Here are a few 'notes' I captured, as the performance was on---

He seems to pick up swaraas from the ocean of infinite combinations of notes and present to the audience. The audience, at the same time, are awed at the fluency and grace of the way in which it is done. At this time, I remember Mr. Chauhan we met at the Valley of Flowers. He, too, in his best elements was a magician. He would ask us to follow him and show the most beautiful of the flowers--- a beauty which always existed; yet unknown to us. Those incredible little flowers always existed, but not everyone was as fortunate as us to who had the chance to behold them.

Well, maybe my description is rather extravagant, and perhaps Mr Chauhan was not an artist in himself, but like us, a mere admirer of the nature. Yet, on that day, we would believe that the nature was created by him!

Sanjeev Abhyankar, I think, although similar to Mr Chauhan in metaphor, is a greater figure. Being one of the most fluent performers of the distinguished art, he was a treat not only to a rather esoteric audience of Hindustani Classical Music, but to any person 'X' without the ear for this kind of music. The swaras have always existed, invisible to the ear, if you pardon my use of language, until sent out vibrating in the air. It, however, requires a good fortune of being at the right place and right time to catch those. I feel the audience today is that fortunate. The same swaras are sounding so different, so sweet. Every combination of those sounds- as if divine, as if never been created.

Those little flowers at the Valley- all of us had seen them. Every one of us had seen it differently. Those flowers had meant something different to each of us. Here, every swara the teevra 'ma' or the ni-re, seems to have a different meaning for each of us. Yet, only one thing seems common to all our feelings - that this is what could be called excellence.

It sounds so very easy - so very simple - so very effortless. Yet, for all I know, it is not. Because beauty cannot be so simple. Or is it that the beauty lies in this simplicity? I could only guess.

I was trying to take notes because I have always forgotten the words behind the swaraas once the concert was over. This time, in spite of a conscious effort, I returned home with the above notes, and not the words of khayaal!

He followed up with raagaa Gorakh Kalyan, Kalawati (a gem of a raagaa!) and concluded with Bhairavi.

The evening had started with Bahuddin Dagar's rudra Veena. This very 'bassic' [sic] instrument starts off with very serious tone, but as the notes scale to higher octaves, they sound very melodious. He played two raagaas - an elaborate Multani to set the mood of evening and then a short aalaap in Khamboji.

So, including Sanjeev Abhyankar's four compositions, it was a six-course meal. And to say the least, a very delicious one. If you are wondering, what about the seventh course, I guess the audience tasted it in the peace of their minds that followed these six courses!


Sram said...

Dear Soul,
It was such a wonderful blog and i am a die hard fan of pt sanjeev abhyankar .thanks for your detailed observation that we can at least know the beauty of raag.


Anonymous said...

true, Kalawati is a divine raga. visit http://itcsra.org/ for a good collection of ragas

Ignacio said...

This is fantastic!