‘Avagha Rang Ek Zhala’, (all colours blend to become one) is an ‘abhang’ - a genre of spiritual songs composed in the regional languages of south-western India. The lyrics of this abhang are in Marathi, the language of the state of Maharashtra and the composer is Saint Soyarabai, a female ascetic from the 14th century.
Saint Soyarabai was a spiritual leader who emerged during the theist ‘Bhakti Movement’ in India. During those times, India was heavily dominated by caste discrimination and a society that believed that all privileges belonged to those who were born in the ‘upper’ caste. This gave rise to the ‘Bhakti Movement’, a spiritual revolution centred around love and oneness with God and encompassed people from all walks of life. The movement continued for at least 4 centuries and had led to the emergence of different branches and sects of the Hindu religion and the birth of Sikhism.
In the lyrics of this abhang, the devotee seeks the mercy and forgiveness of Lord Vishnu, the god of preservation in the Hindu pantheon. She prays for forgiveness of those who had inflicted sufferings upon people from the lower castes and exults that we are all children of god and hence all differences dissolve in His heart.
This uplifting piece is the grand finale from Arati Ankalikar’s performance at the Darbar Festival 2011. Abhang is one of Ankalikar’s strongest suites, her mother-tongue being Marathi. It is fascinating to hear how she infuses an intense emotion of devotion and earnestness and at the same time, lifts the mood to a frenzied upbeat, to bring the concert to a spirited end.
Anubrata Chatterjee (tabla), Chinmay Kolhatkar (harmonium) and Omkar Dalvi (pakhawaj) give a resounding accompaniment to this abhang, making it lively and adding gems to the evocative rendition of Ankalikar.
Arati Ankalikar (khayal)
Anubrata Chatterjee (tabla)
Chinmay Kolhatkar (harmonium)
Omkar Dalvi (pakhawaj)
Priya Prakash & Shobhana Patel (tanpuras)
Marathi Abhang in Raag Bhairavi: Raag Bhairavi, ‘Rangi Rangala Srirang’ composed by Saint Soyarabai (14th century ascetic)