This episode of the 12th TV series of Darbar Festival captures three leading female exponents of Indian classical music from India, a vocalist from the Carnatic repertoire and a vocalist and violinist from the north Indian repertoire. All of them are at a very interesting stage of their careers – seniors who have long surpassed the stage of “virtuous, emerging talents”; Have been ardently active in the scenes since almost 3 decades and ladies who have made a name for themselves without any patronage or support of a family lineage.
Asanare performs a hymn called a ‘bhajan’ in praise of the flute deity, Lord Krishna. The hymn speaks of the devotee’s gratitude towards Lord Krishna. He is fabled in the Indian mythology as a boy-next-door, a cowherd, a politician, a statesman, a strategist, a friend, philosopher and guide and a miracle man who can play the flute most beautifully. When he leaves the temple and arrives at his follower’s/devotee’s household and starts playing the flute, the humble abode as well as the entire village is transformed into a temple. In her deep and resonating vocal timbre, Asanare performs this bhajan set to Raag Sindhu Bhairavi, a morning raga with controlled improvisations and exquisite emotions.
Manjiri Asanare-Kelkar (vocal)
Gurdain Rayatt (tabla)
Chinmay Kolhatkar (harmonium)
Priya Sharma (tanpura)
Krishna bhajan in Sindhu Bhairavi
This part of the episode starts with a heart-warming interview of violinist Ramnath. Belonging to a family which has been strongly rooted in Carnatic classical violin, Ramnath’s grandfather decided (when she was only 2.5 years old) that she would play the north Indian repertoire instead of the Carnatic “to avoid clashes” in the family. Apart from being a pure Indian classical violinist, Ramnath has experimented widely with other genres like Western classical, jazz, African, flamenco et al. “I play with different genres because there is so much each genre has to offer, it has enriched my music and helped me reach out to diverse audiences too,” says Ramnath on a happy note.
Kala Ramnath (violin)
Yogesh Samsi (tabla)
Srutti Suresan (tanpura)
Raag Tilak Kaamod
Ragunathan admits that it takes harder work for women to get noticed in a field of music which is male-dominated. “Often when I have received an award, there have been groups of people who have passed dismissive remarks about it by saying that it is my charming personality or my attire or my mere stage presence that has bagged me these; However, I have always been ready for such remarks and this has never affected me negatively,” she signs off with a smile.
In her inimitable and gorgeous voice, she performs Raag Madhyamavati, pegging along improvisations that make an immediate connection with the audience. Her refined virtuosity, soulful rendition and elaborate handling of form an exemplary exposition of this raga. Madhyamavati is a janya (derived) raga and is performed to bestow auspiciousness and well-being. Ragunathan performs the heavy kampita gamakas with finesse, ease and resplendence. The north Indian counterpart of this raga may be said to be Raag Madhumad Sarang.
Sudha Ragunathan (vocal)
Charumathi Raghuraman (violin)
Sai Giridhar (mridangam)
RN Prakash (ghatam)
Savita Sundaresan & Srutti Suresan (tanpura)