Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar is a connoisseur’s delight, a musician who paves new highways into a raga each time he goes on stage. This Director’s Cut concert of Kashalkar comes with an added delight – Pandit Suresh Talwalkar, bringing all the excitement and groove on the tabla.
Pandit Kashalkar unfurls Darbari Kanada with a brief, textured alaap. His tender treatment of the oscillating ‘ati komal’ Ga (lowest microtone of flat 3rd) illuminates the entire landscape of Darbari Kanada.
The vilambit composition is set to 16-beat Tilwara, a variant of Teental. Tilwara’s syllables lend a distinct swag to the movement of the rhythmic cycle. He initiates bol-vistaar in the Gwalior style bringing out Darbari’s grand somberness with delicate application of the oscillating Dha corresponding to Ga in the middle octave.
Sameehan, his son and disciple, comes in with exquisite vocal rejoinders ending upon a steady komal Dha and Sa. Pandit Talwalker provides an unobtrusive accompaniment, decorating sections in the time cycle with exuberant ripostes on occasions left to him for solos. His ability to blend the tabla with the melody is uncanny, which makes this video a piece you will come back to time and again.
Pandit Kashalkar’s next piece is a bada-khayal (slower tempo composition) in Raag Sohini set to Rupak taal. A short, evocative alap introduces the raga’s convoluted paths in no time and lands on the composition. The short, crisp and confident bol-banav and taans follow in 4 times the speed of the composition. He ends this piece with a chota-khayal (faster tempo composition) in Teental.
He proceeds with ‘Koyaliya kook sunave’ a famous ‘bandish ki thumri’ in Raag Khamaj set to Sitarkhani taal. The lyrics in a bandish ki thumri are closely knit to the beats of the taal that makes opportunity for dynamic laykari within the framework of the rhythmic cycle. Pandit Kashalkar gives an authentic rendition of this age-old song with sparkling improvisations and then moves on to a tarana in the same raag in Teentaal.
His concluding piece is a thumri composed by the late sitar maestro, Ustad Vilayat Khan in Raag Bhairavi – ‘Tum ho jagat ke daata’. It is a heart-wrenching composition, one of his favourite pieces set to a slow Rupak taal (7 beats).
Chinmay Kolhatkar gives an admirable support to the recital, remaining true to his art, following the footsteps of both the stalwart musicians on stage and displaying excellent teamwork.
Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar (khayal)
Pandit Suresh Talwalkar (tabla)
Sameehan Kashalkar (supporting vocals and tanpura)
Chinmay Kolhatkar (harmonium)
Priya Prakash (tanpura)
Raag Darbari Kanada, Thaat: Asavari, Samay: midnight
Raag Sohini, Thaat: Marwa, Samay: dawn, just before sunrise
Raag Khamaj, Thaat: Khamaj, Samay: second quarter of the night (9pm-12am)
Raag Bhairavi. Thaat: Bilawal, Samay: early morning