Like I mentioned in my previous post, today’s event promised to be a eclectic one with a jugalbandhi between Vani (voice) and Veena (strings). Not wanting to miss it, we left in time, reached the venue in time, but damn, all the front seats were taken. I should have factored in the “Saturday+hariharan” factor into my travel equation 🙂 . So, the three of us, my mom, sister and myself managed to get some decent seats some ten rows behind.
The day’s concert was Jugalbandhi between the famous Ghazal singer Hariharan and Grammy award winner Pt Vishwamohan Bhat, playing the Mohan Veena. As expected, it started at 6:30 PM. First, Hariharan accompanied by a Tabla, Harmonium and a Guitar took the stage. He exclaimed that he had not expected such a large venue to be jam packed. He started off with the beautiful Ghazal,
kaash aisa bhi ek manzar hota…
mere kandhe par unka sar hota…
na hosh idhar hota na udhar hota..
taumar ke liye kafi aisa ek pal hota…
The beauty of Ghazals lie in the poetry, the wonderful similies and the way in which it is rendered, expressing each and every possible expression of that verse through the various tunes in the adopted Raag. This was rendered extremely well.
He followed it with another soulful Ghazal, Gulfam’s “Aks chehre pe aftab sa hain”.
Next the stage was handed over to Pt. Vishwamohan Bhat accompanied on the Tabla by Pt. Yogesh Samsi, who is one of the famous students of Ustad Allah Rakha. Pt Vishwamohan Bhat played a composition in Raag Champakali (Raga Vachaspathi in Carnatic) set to Teen Taal. There was a nice little Jugalbandhi between Pt Samshi and Pt Bhat.
Finally, we had both Hariharan and Pt. Vishwamohan Bhat sharing the stage. Pt Bhat exclaimed that whatever they would be playing next would be only improvizations. But he added that , this is the beauty of Indian Classical music. It’s all about inspiration of the moment and Improvisation.
They started in Raag Yaman. Hariharan sang Amir Khusro’s “Mohe apne hi rang mein rang de”. Unlike the previous two ghazals, which were of a slower tempo, this one was paced well. In between, Hariharan would break off to render a sargam in Yaman, and Pt.Bhat would play the same on his Mohan Veena. Then Pt. Bhat would improvise it, take it to the next level, and Hariharan would reply back with something more challenging. The format was pretty much like that.. The interesting thing about this piece and the concert as such was that Hariharan made sure that he got the audience involved. He asked the tabla players to mellow down a bit, and asked the audience to clap along.. The audience obliged wonderfully 🙂
For the next piece, which is one of my favorite Ghazals, Hariharan bettered himself. He asked the audience to sing along.. “Sa ga re ga re Sa”, and so on. And then asked them to clap to the beat. The tablas joined in. He did some improvizations, some aalaps, and Pt. Bhat took over, improvizing it further. After playing a fast and a catchy tune, Pt. Bhat stopped, and Hariharan picked up from there coming back with “Sa ga re ga re Sa”. The Ghazal was Abdul Hameed Adam’s “Ahde Masti hai”. I had heard this in one of my uncle’s old collections. The improvizations and the Mohan Veena only made it even better.
The last piece for the day, at least for me, was a popular Maand song “Kesariya Baalam”. Pt Bhat who hails from Rajastan requested Hariharan to sing the song, and he himself lent his voice for the aalaps. Though the show was supposed to end at 8:30 PM, Dr. Alva provided 15 minutes as bonus. This gesture was probably due to the overwhelming crowd response. Too bad though, I couldn’t stay back for the complete song. I had to catch a bus back to Karkala. But whatever little I heard sounded very sweet. Especially since the taal here was Dadra. So I can imagine how the crescendo and the finale might have been like.
While the concert was great and the venue was jam packed, I faced minor irritation in the early part of the show when Hariharan was singing the first two Ghazals. Seated behind me, a couple of ladies were busy discussing the future plans of their kids in an alarmingly loud voice. To make it worse, whole of the row to my right was occupied by a family who seemed to have come on some family outing or something. They had come prepared with Chips, Chakkli, and other eatables, which were constantly being passed around, much to other listeners irritation. Luckily for me, mom spotted a vacant seat in the front, just before Pt. Vishwamohan Bhat’s performance began. I occupied that seat to enjoy the rest of the evening in peace and some amazing music!
Tomorrow, singer S.P Balasubhramaniam and his team is expected to entertain the crowd with some of his popular numbers. I have a bus to catch night to Bangalore tomorrow night, and would have to leave the concert midway through if I attend it, which I don’t want to do. So, I won’ be attending tomorrow’s concert. But I hope he doesn’t sing “Sankara, nada Sarirapara” from Sankarabharanam, or “Takita tadhimi” from Saagara Sangamam. If he does, I will be kicking myself for having booked the ticket for tomorrow night 😦